Berkshire Under 10 boys win 'test match' against traditional rivals: Berkshire 209, Oxon 174
By Tim Hanson
Extreme weather - including a mini-tornado - tests fitness to the limit
Oxfordshire hosted Berkshire on a hot sunny day at Kingston Bagpuize Cricket Club. Forecasters predicted temperatures in the 30s and they were correct - but they didn't anticipate a twister? tornado? whirlwind? which hit the ground during the afternoon's play.
Because of the heat, the teams agreed to play two consecutive T20 matches with the result going to the team with the overall higher total. This enabled the boys to reduce the length of spells spent in the field; frequent drinks breaks, compulsory head cover, short bowling spells and the rotation of 13 fielders per side reduced the danger of heat exhaustion.
In Berkshire's first innings, a combination of tight seam bowling and inconsistent running reduced Berkshire to 20 for 3 after 8 overs, and 37 for 5 after 12. While wickets fell, Seb Bourne (38 not out) batted well but no one stayed with him for long, and the innings ended at 88 for 6 after 20 overs with the help of a generous number of extras. In reply Oxfordshire soon fell victim to run outs, and the Berkshire bowling, although generally steady, claimed just 3 wickets in the 20 overs. The innings ended at 90 for 6 at 20 overs, with only Ethan Barksfield (30) and Julian Laird (12) reaching double figures.
In the second innings, Berkshire started even less well and were soon reeling at 15 for 4 which included two run outs. Fortunately for Berkshire, some sensible batting by James Isbell (47 not out), Sam Smith (10) and Connor Lamsdale (27) took the score on to 121-6 at 20 overs, helped again by a significant number of extras. This left Oxfordshire a target of 120, not easy in the very hot conditions and faced with a skilled variety of seam and spin bowling. Only the openers (Hector Higgins and Jack Sparrow) reached double figures and thereafter the batters struggled to 85 for 8 by the end of the innings, leaving Berkshire comfortable winners by 35 runs.
Overall an unusual afternoon's cricket, with neither side mastering the difficult environmental conditions, but both teams will have learnt valuable lessons about the importance of fitness and concentration.