Consett’s Cricket Team at Regional Finals
A match report by Mr Hall –
I’ll be honest, when I saw Consett was lined up against Barnard Castle, Yarm and St Leonard’s in the last stage of the competition, I didn’t for a second think they’d make it here to Bolton Arena and the regional finals. But this team proved me wrong, through sheer teamwork, resilience, respect and determination here they are, the best cricketing school in County Durham.
A 5:45am departure time for the first game against the best team in Wales. Mae D elected to bowl, she opened the bowling and once again has increased her pace. Wickets began to fall steadily, but into the middle overs, the early morning wake up call started to show, as Consett bowled a succession of wides and conceded frustrating over throws. Annie L stepped in to bowl some mesmerising leg spin and stemmed the flow of runs. Wales finished on 79/7.
The opening few overs weren’t Consett’s finest moment. After 2 overs and overly aggressive running, they found themselves 7/4. Izzy E and Charli H supported Annie L as Consett navigated their way to the final over, where they required 15. Izzy managed to find the boundary and set up Annie L who needed a 6 off the final ball. Here it came… pitched up, big swing… and a miss! Consett tasted defeat for the first time! So close.
As a Yorkshireman myself, I know how much cricket means to the county. Therefore facing the best team in Yorkshire (Wakefield Grammar) was going to be a real battle. Consett bowled again. The pace of Mae D was too much and time after time she beat the bat with support from Lilia B at the other end. Wickets fell quickly, they had a chance at restricting Yorkshire to a relatively modest total. Wonderful fielding from Lucy S and Kara S meant Yorkshire couldn’t eek out any runs, in cricket that puts huge pressure on the batting team and that turns into mistakes. That theory proved fact and Consett took the final wickets rapidly. Yorkshire all out for 56.
In return, immediate disaster. Jenni A just couldn’t find gaps in the field and a quick single proved her downfall. But Annie L held firm through incredible support from Izzy E and Charli H, Consett we’re chewing through the required runs rapidly. And, before Yorkshire could reassess they had taken a major scalp. Durham (Consett) had beaten Yorkshire (Wakefield Grammar School)!
A quick spot of lunch and Consett were ready to go, they’d face both teams once again. They couldn’t make the semifinals, could they?
A massive game, once again against Wales. Mae D lost the toss and had to bat post lunch. Unfortunately for the girls, the wickets tumbled early. Wales found a way to dismantle what was a monster weapon in the previous stages – the upper order batting. Consett relied on bravery and resilience from Ellie L who as last in manger to muster up some graceful shots to drag the score to 65. In reply Wales started strongly, Mae couldn’t find a way through the stern defensive display, the runs kept ticking over, Consett’s hopes fading with each one. Izzy E and Lucy S found a way to take key wickets with beautifully crafted slower balls. It gave Lilia B a tiny shot at victory, she had to defend 3 runs off the final over, could her ever reliable line and length be the difference again? 6 balls to go, a wicket falls! Followed by a dot ball! Mae encouraged her team, surely not another thrilling finish ending in a miracle? And then… it was over, so suddenly, so cruelly, the ball smashed for 4 despite every effort from the Annie L and Kara S in the field.
Consett would have to beat Yorkshire again and rely on a few mathematical calculations to make the semi final stage. Mae won the toss and bowled, Yorkshire patiently waited through the blistering pace of Mae D and the wizardry of Annie L before unleashing all out attack. Six after six after six. Mae D tried every tactic in the book, her shoulders never slumped, she called upon her team constantly to change things, a true leader. 108/4 the total. The instructions were clear – to just enjoy themselves. Mae D and Jenni A did just that, scampering between the wickets quickly and picking up runs that would’ve been so useful in the game before. The openers were still there at the end, and with a beaming smile upon both their faces, despite falling short of the mammoth total they’d scored 86 against a incredibly strong bowling attack.
There’d be no Lords and no national final. Not this year at least. But there was no shame, they are the best team in County Durham. They’d beaten the best team in Yorkshire and almost pipped Wales to a semi final spot. I just want to end this by saying how proud I am of each of these girls. Each one proud to represent the school, the town of Consett and all of County Durham. It may seem like a defeat now. But it’s a huge achievement for each one of them. They’ve put our school well and truly back on the map.