An impressive number of BPG dads (and a couple of mums) turned their backs on breakfast in bed this Sunday morning, choosing instead to start their Father’s Days on the road to Wembley with their cricketing daughters. Rumours that once they got home, after negotiating the North Circular for the second time in the day, they would spend the rest of their Sundays slumped on sofas doing nothing more strenuous than filling in their World Cup wallcharts are unsubstantiated. In any case, the BPG girls served up a treat on the pitch, as satisfying as any Sunday morning lie in.
BPG arrived in Wembley as a compact unit of 9, including 3 debutantes at this level, stepping up from the U11 age group. None looked out of place, and all played their part in an excellent win for the visitors. Abbott, captaining the team for the first time, won the toss and, with overhead conditions looking helpful for the bowlers, put Wembley in to bat. Unable to bowl herself due to an injured shoulder, she set about marshalling her magnificent seven bowlers to great effect.
What followed was a team bowling and fielding display of discipline and skill, with each of the BPG bowlers taking their turn to pin down the opposition. Despite working hard, none of the Wembley girls was able to score freely against this BPG attack. Higgins set the tone in the opening over, shaping the ball in nicely to the right hander and her third delivery induced a mistimed pull shot from the Wembley captain. Mayhew at square leg was alert enough to take a smart catch and BPG were on their way.
Wembley then tried to consolidate, and indeed they were able to hold on for another seven overs before the next wicket fell. However, they could not get the scoring rate going thanks to BPG’s disciplined bowling and alert fielding. Eakins deserves particular credit, delivering a 3 over spell of probing bowling that yielded only 2 runs, and left Wembley’s other opener retired hurt after a rising delivery pinned her on the hand. Meanwhile Crabtree behind the stumps was not phased by the extra pace on the ball in this age group, keeping tidily and alertly throughout the innings while Dexter impressed in the field with her confident pick ups and strong arm.
When a wicket did fall, it prompted a mid-innings collapse for the Wembley girls. First the experienced Oakley clean bowled Wembley’s number 3. Then the debutante Stirling came into the attack and opened her account with a wicket maiden thanks to a well taken catch by Higgins. At the other end Davis also delivered a maiden and the Wembley batsmen were starting to wonder where their next run was coming from. In Stirling’s second over, Mayhew swooped on the ball in the covers and removed the scampering Wembley batter with a beautiful direct hit at the bowler’s end. Bravely the injured Wembley opener returned to the crease but Davis’s second over was too much for her and she was bowled without adding to her score. Wembley were 35-5.
It was credit to Wembley that they managed something of a comeback at this point. With only eight in the team they were in danger of being skittled out, but the last three batsmen put up a fight as Abbott shuffled her bowling pack. In the sixteenth over Mayhew stepped up to unpick the lock. By bowling the Wembley number 7 she added to her earlier catch and run out to complete a pleasing personal hat-trick of different dismissals. Wembley’s last pair hung on until the last over, pushing the score up to a creditable 74. On what should have been the penultimate ball of the innings Dexter rounded off her excellent fielding display with a well deserved run out to finish the innings there and then.
If BPG’s effort in the field was noteworthy for the overall team performance and the fact that every player contributed, the batting performance was all about individual displays, especially that of the powerful opener Eakins. Clearly in a hurry to get home for Fathers’ Day lunch, she followed her miserly bowling with some muscular hitting. Ruthlessly dispatching anything bowled down the leg side to the boundary she thumped 6 fours in all and when she retired on 31*, she had faced only 22 balls and BPG were as good as home. “That’s the best I’ve ever batted,” she was heard to say as she walked off the pitch. No-one disagreed.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing though. In the second over of the innings the other opener Mayhew had been unlucky to find herself stranded and run out after being ambitiously called through for a run. After her stunning display in the field it may have seemed greedy to expect runs as well, but she had looked well organised and strong at the crease and the run out must have left her wondering what could have been. Her replacement, Davis was an able partner for Eakins, scoring 12 runs at an impressive strike rate including two well placed boundaries of her own. She was bowled out with the job all but done, leaving the old hands Abbott and Higgins to nurdle the last few runs and steer BPG to victory with ten overs to spare.
Thanks to Frank for umpiring, Jack for scoring and our Wembley hosts who were welcoming, friendly and provided a very sturdy table for the scorers. And thanks to the girls for giving all of their dads (and mums) a great Father’s Day present by putting on such a good display of cricket on the pitch.
Check out all the 2018 BPG Stats HERE.