On 27 March, the top two inner Borough and top two outer Borough schools in the County came together at the Middlesex Indoor School for the Under 13 Boys County Finals Day. Highbury Grove and Stoke Newington from Islington and Hackney respectively were the successful schools from the Inner Borough Finals held at Westway Sports Centre on 7 March. They were joined by Harefield Academy from Hillingdon and Twyford from Ealing, crowned the top two outer Borough schools at Westway on 14 March.
The first game of the day was Highbury Grove v Stoke Newington – battle of the inner Boroughs. Highbury Grove batted first managing 28 from their 8 overs, losing 7 wickets in the process. Stoke Newington made light work of the total, reaching the 29 they needed to win in 4.5 overs for the loss of 3 wickets. 3 points to start the day off well for Stoke Newington.
Next up was the battle of the outer Boroughs, Harefield Academy v Twyford. Harefield batted first and made a mammoth 73 runs from their 8 overs, largely thanks to a superb opening stand from Bradley and Ryan. Twyford Academy, facing a tough task, got off to a slow but solid start, however the loss of successive wickets in the middle overs left them struggling and the game ended with them stranded on 32-7. A comprehensive win for Harefield Academy and 3 points in the bag.
Game 3 was the battle of the H’s – Harefield Academy v Highbury Grove. Harefield Academy fresh from their win against Twyford, batted first again but struggled to get going against a Highbury Grove side determined to make amends for their loss to Stoke Newington. The loss of wickets at frequent intervals meant Harefield were unable to bat out their 8 over allocation and eventually ended up all out for 35. Both teams battled hard, with Highbury Grove not losing a wicket till the 7th over but never being allowed to get away, eventually getting over the line for their first 3 points with 3 balls of the innings remaining.
Stoke Newington were back in action again after a two game rest. Twyford, knowing they would have to reach a competitive total to stand any chance, kept wickets in hand and with assistance from some wayward bowling, posted a total of 47-3 from 8 overs. However this didn’t prove enough as Stoke Newington put on a brilliant 24 runs for the third wicket partnership, to remain unbeaten and take their tally for the day to 6 points.
Twyford were straight back into the action again, desperate to get some points on the board. They were up against a Highbury Grove side who needed a win to stay in contention for the title. For the first time that day, Twyford batted first with opening batsman Ramon carrying his bat through the innings in making 18 runs, to post a competitive total of 47-2. Highbury Grove made a slow but steady start, keeping wickets in hand with the aim of hitting out in the latter overs of the innings. The plan almost paid off, with a couple of lusty blows for six in the final over, but almost was not good enough on this occasion for Highbury Grove and the dramatic climax to the game ended with a draw! One point each.
Final game of the day and the title decider. A win for Stoke Newington would see them remain unbeaten with 9 points and crowned champions. Harefield Academy needed a win to draw level on points with Stoke Newington. The pressure was on! Harefield batted first and posted a strong total of 62-3. Stoke Newington struggled to keep up with the required run rate of nearly 8 an over from the start, losing regular wickets as a result and in the end falling 20 runs short on 43-7.
So revealing just how closely matched these schools were, combined runs, loss of wickets, overs batted and run rate for the day had to be brought into contention to decide who would be the winner of the Middlesex U13 Boys County Finals. Stoke Newington scored a total of 120 runs, lost 12 wickets, batted for 19.2 overs at an average rate of 6.25 runs per over. Congratulations to Harefield Academy who just edged it by scoring 50 more runs but losing just 1 more wicket than Stoke Newington, in batting for 2.4 more overs by scoring an average of 1.48 more runs per over.
Well done to all of the boys that took part in this years Under 13 County competition - the school teams who entered their Borough competition, those who got through to the inner/outer Borough finals days and the final four teams who progressed to County final. The standard this year was higher than ever and we look forward to witnessing what next year has in store! Finally a big thank you to the teachers, schools games organisers and all of the other adults who helped make this competition possible.
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