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After an unbeaten season in Y7, the Y8 cricket team started their season with a difficult draw in the National cup competition with an away trip against Bristol Grammar school. Marling won the toss and opted to bat first in front to their impressive pavilion. Marling were all out for 132 with Ben French hitting 55, James Harwanko making 13 and Archie Powis hitting 12 of only 6 balls. After tea Ben French set an attacking field and set about the task to keeping a strong BGS team under the required run rate. With French continuing his lead role taking 5 wickets, Powis took 2 and Charlie Mead took 3 BGS were all out for 113. Unfortunately the National Cup run came to an end in the regional semi-final stage after a long trip to Southampton to play King Edwards School. 

Our attentions then turned to the defence of our county and district titles. In the first round of the County Cup we drew another away fixture against the favourites for the title Cheltenham College. Marling again batted first but were kept to a low score of 117 with French making 44, Jamie Lomax 32 and Powis 11. Fortunately we only lost 2 wickets. After tea we knew that we would need to be tight in the field to keep them under 117 target and we were with 4 wickets coming in the form of run outs. This was helped by French, Lomax and Aden Vaughan all taking 1 wicket each. In the last over Cheltenham College needed 2 to win. French stood up to bowl his last over. In that over they ran 2 on the second ball which left French and the rest of the team in the field with 4 balls. With these 4 balls French and the team held their nerve to take 2 more wickets for no runs leaving the scores tied and Marling winning on number of outs. 

The next rounds of the county cup included a win against Pates Grammar. With Pates batting first they scored 100/6 off their 20 overs with French taking 2, Jake Clack 1, Ali Imran 1 and Powis 1. Marling through French, Freddie Fisher and Powis reached this total in the 11th over. 

The County final was our first home game and was against last year’s beaten finalist Cirencester Kingshill. Marling batted first and set a total that was too high for Kingshill to chase setting up a final against Sir Thomas Rich’s. 

Being the away team once again the final was played at STR. Winning the toss again we opted for our favoured bat first and set about making a score of 138/4 for STR to chase. French continued the impressive batting form that he has shown for both School and in his role as the U13s County cricket captain with a score of 88 helped by Mead, Lomax and Vaughan. STR set about matching this run rate but wickets for Mead, Powis, Lomax and Vaughan and a strong fielding display leading to 2 run outs stopped STR on 125/6 and crowned Marling as the County Cup winner for the second season. 

While this competition was continuing Marling were also competing in the District Cup which culminated in the final against Cirencester Kingshill. These games allowed us to show our strength in depth with a match v Thomas Keble and Rednock being played on the same night and wins in both games. And involved contributions from George Hall, Eddie Jessop, Tom Binns, Hugo Mercer, Max Ellis, Harry Hawley-Byrnes, Matt James, Jake Roche, Alfie Shaw and Ben Weir. The final was played at Poulton Cricket Club and saw Marling retain the title with a season high total of 167/6 with French on 78, Lomax on 33 and Mead on 18. Marling were able to get Kingshill all out for 105 with wickets for French 3, Mead 1, Mark George 1, Harwanko 1 and then 2 for Fisher and Alex Laddle. 

This year the team was successfully led by not only the batting and bowling ability of French but also in his captaincy. He showed a mature head with his tactics and fielding placement. However he could not have done it on his own and after every match this year the opposition teacher or coach have commented on how well the team play together and above all their commitment on the field. They let very little go past them this year and what did was chased all the way. A special mention needs to go to Alex Laddle who throughout the season has been one of the most important players in the team without much time with the ball or in bat and I think it was fitting that he took the very difficult last catch of the final match to draw our season to a close.


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