Monday 19 August 2013 

Harrow St Mary's U15s Crowned National Champions

The Harrow St Mary's U15s celebrate
© Sudhir Rawal
 

Harrow St Mary's Under-15s comprehensively beat Stockton and High Wycombe to become the 2013 ECB National Club Champions at Shrewsbury School.

Dubbed the "Golden Generation" by many at the club, but have had a reputation of falling short when it mattered most.

However, over the last year or so, they have matured as a side and put in big performances when heroes were needed most particularly during this cup run.

Saints won the toss on the main pitch at Shrewsbury School and inserted Stockton to bat on a sluggish pitch that had huge boundaries. HSM never allowed the North-East side to get out of the blocks and the tempo was set by the opening pace duo who created a vice-like grip, with Charanvir Gill (1-17) and the miserly Amar Dave (0-8), setting the tone for the rest of the innings.

At no time did Stockton get any momentum as Angus Prevost (1-14), Kushal Patel (3-12) and Vaibhav Dubey (2-19), kept things tight with their medium pace and spin.

The bowling was miserly and the fielding sublime, with three run outs and with Nikhil Rawal behind the stumps effecting three dismissals, Stockton could only manage 71 all out in the 20th over.

Batting wasn’t easy but HSM were in total control of the chase, Rawal hitting 39 not out ensuring that there were no mishaps as Saints cantered home in 13.2 overs to win by eight wickets.

High Wycombe, who were effectively the reigning champions having won the title as an U13 side, had beaten the favourites Omsberely, in controversal circumstances, in the other semi-final to set up a highly anticipated final.

Once again Saints won the toss and inserted the opposition. This time, while the pace bowlers started well, Wycombe’s star batsmen, Saif Zaib, let loose and scored a magnificent 50, though he was dropped twice, before retiring as the Warriors looked to be on the way to racking up a huge score.

However, as has happened in previous rounds, spin and the medium pace worked their magic as they restricted Wycombe to a manageable 118 for eight off their 20 overs, with Gill (2-33), Dave (1-25), Patel (1-19) and Dubey (1-14), all contributing with wickets.

Apart from the two missed catches, again the fielding was wonderful with another three run outs particularly from the rocket arm of Dave, who assisted in three runouts overall during the day and a simply wondrous diving catch from Andrew Thomas in the slips.

In reply Harris and Rawal got Saints off to their usual great start and when Rawal was out leg before for 20, Patel (32) joined the fray and, again with Harris, who made 38, took Saints to the brink.

Both succumbed within a short spell of each other and the nerves were frayed as Thomas departed soon after and Dubey played out a maiden. However, two lusty blows from Dave soon clamed those nerves and when he hit the winning runs he was soon engulfed by his team-mates who had invaded the pitch.

The holy grail which had started with winning the Gubby Allen final at Lord’s as Under-10s was finally completed on the Welsh borders as National Champions.

An emotional manager Sadhna Patel said: "The boys have done themselves and the club proud today, finally fulfilling the true potential we knew they possessed. 

"This cup run has been a true team effort with all 12 squad players pitching in at some stage. They are a team of true champions to win a place into the history books, being crowned the best Under-15 team in the country from 1700 clubs who started out in April, is a great achievement.

"A Middlesex team have not won this championship since 1978, so I hope Middlesex will be proud of our achievements today. 

"Of the twelve team members ten have been with the club since the age of nine. Development of our young cricketers is at the forefront of the club’s development strategy, so seeing this come to fruition is very satisfying. 

"This success story will encourage our coaches to continue with our plans and develop new initiatives to ensure the future success for our Colts."

Cup final squad: Ian Harris, Nikhil Rawal, Kushal Patel, Andrew Thomas, Vaibhav Dubey, Angus Prevost, Charanvir Gill, Amar Dave, Shaniel Lakhani, Rohan Radia, Daniel Murphy and Max John.