The Shenfield U’17 Cricket team made school history by defeating Bedford School to make the Schools Cup National Cup Semi-Final. The home side came through in a last ball thriller, defending 135 to spark jubilant celebrations.
After last week’s game was abandoned due to the weather, Bedford travelled to Hutton CC for the quarter final clash. On a very damp wicket, Shenfield lost the toss and unsurprisingly were asked to bat. After a slow, cautious start pinch hitter Bell fell with the score on 18, scooping one to backward point. This bought the inform Pickering to the crease and together with Kullar (24) they upped the ante with some strong stroke play and excellent running. Kullar fell with the score on 61 after exactly 10 overs, bringing skipper Ballington to the wicket. They put on 46 inside 6 overs before Pickering fell for a brilliant 57 off 41 balls. A great innings that put his side on course for a competitive total given how wet the wicket was. Southcott (11*) and Ballington (23) took their side to 135- 5 in the allotted 20 overs.
Knowing that a strong start was imperative against a very good Bedford line up, Shenfield made the perfect start. Joe Parry, who defied his age, putting in a great performance with the ball. He bowled Hassan first ball with beautiful in swinger. The away side then showed their class with some sumptuous stroke play. Tomlinson-Patel in particular showing real intent with his 31 off 21 balls, before he was removed by Ballington going for one shot to many to the longer of the boundaries. Then came one of the match changing moments as the impressive Gay was brilliantly caught by Mclean in the deep. With the score ticking along and boundaries being found, Gay chipped the ball off the impressive Duke into the deep. Mclean then made 20 yards running to his left and clung on to the ball just inches off the ground.
With Bedford above the rate Shenfield knew that wickets would be key, forcing new batsmen to start again on a difficult wicket. Duke was in a fine rhythm as he continued to pick up wickets with his impeccable line and length. Talsania (17) and Hind (19) were removed, the latter thanks to a sharp bit of work by Southcott behind the stumps. The game was very much in the balance when Sheemar (23 off 17) came to the crease. However the Essex Academy player could not quite see his team home, thanks to some brilliant bowling under the most intense pressure. With 12 required off 12 balls and 5 wickets in hand, Bedford seemed to have the game won. However the Shenfield spirit really shone through and year 9 Joe Parry bowled an unbelievable 19th over, conceding just 1 run. He bowled 5 out of 6 yorkers at the base of the stumps, giving his side a chance they thought had gone. Pickering was handed the ball for the final over with Sheemar on strike and 11 runs needed. The Academy batsmen hit the first ball for 4 and then exchanged a couple of singles taking the requirement to 5 off 3 balls. Pickering then found his Yorker length and Sheemar could only find the grateful hands of Watts at mid-off. Five runs were now needed off the final 2 balls and you could cut the atmosphere with a knife. Pickering then delivered two perfect Yorkers to seal the most famous of wins for his side. Shenfield winning the game by 4 runs which for most of the innings looked unlikely.
Shenfield will now host Millfield School in the Semi-Final of the National Cup for a place in Final on September 7th. A quiet remarkable achievement for one of only two state schools in the competition. This has to up there with one of the schools greatest achievements after their victory over Dulwich College 3 years ago. Especially when you consider that Bedfords pavilion is named after former pupil and current England Captain, Alastair Cook.