12 Jul 2016
1st XI 2016 Report

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Lilleshall Pre Season 2016 Oliver Morgan and Toby Staveley Parker vs Dean Close 2016 Woodard Festival 2016

Bloxham School 1st XI Cricket Season Report

This season the school 1st XI has seen a lot of change to its personnel after having a fair steady side over the last couple of years. It meant that some of the younger members of the school were given their chance to put their skills forward and show how their winter training had helped them develop their game. The winter program this season started earlier and focused more on 1-2-1 sessions to enable more specific coaching so that every player had the chance to work on the aspect of their game that they wanted. This program built over the term, and months, to culminate in a Pre-Season camp at Lilleshall National Sports Centre. This camp was devoted to preparing our students for the challenges that they would face in the season that lay in front of them. The camp included both practical sessions and also a more individual plan for each player. The final afternoon concluded with the World T20 Final, which was the perfect finish to what was a hard and physically demanding few days.

The 1st XI had a very tough start to the season that included fixtures against Malvern, Warwick and MCS Oxford. The young team found these games tough but adopted a positive attitude and kept learning from the experiences. The bowling and fielding aspects of our game developed quickly and it was really pleasing to see the seam bowlers learning their roles quickly. The batting was still work in progress and I was confident that the team would pull all parts of the game together before the end of the season.

During the summer term, there are always challenges off the field at Senior XI level with the external examinations disrupting team selection and continuity. This places a greater demand on the players who come in and those who don’t have exams. At 1st XI level this season we have been fortunate that the players who have come in have executed their skills and stepped up to the level that we had hoped. Having a young leadership team within the 1st XI, supported by some older players, it meant that it needed a big effort from all to maintain the development path that the team was on.

As in typical English conditions the weather also played its part to what was a stop-start season. This was highlighted by the fact that two games were abandoned for snow, with others being cancelled for flash flooding of outfields. However, this didn’t dampen the attitude and moral within the dressing room and as the term went on the strides that the 1st XI made were obvious for all to see. This was made more evident with a good win against Dean Close at Bloxham. The team’s hard work in all areas of their cricket was paying off and the team built on this fine display to record a further three wins in succession to end the term with some very dominant displays. One of these displays included a 9 wicket victory over the old Boys’ on the annual Founderstide fixture. With the Old Boys’ batting first, the school 1st XI produced some of the finest bowling and fielding that their coaches had seen not only this season, but over the last few seasons. The positive comments from Old Boys’ and parents watching showed just how far this young set of players had come in what was effectively a short space of time. To further support this statement, Captain Oliver Morgan and Vice-Captain Toby Staveley-Parker produced a fine batting display in the return Dean Close fixture after term had finished with Ollie reaching 101 not out and Toby 50 not out to chase down the target that Bloxham had been set.

As is tradition when term finishes, Bloxham head to the Woodard Festival, which this year was being held at Hurstpierpoint College. This year the Festival attracted Schools from across the whole of the UK, with Loretto School coming down from Scotland to play in the Festival for the first time. The Festival has always allowed for the coaches to look at players for the future and this season we were not disappointed with the commitment and skills that we saw. The boys enjoyed their experience of facing teams that we do not normally play within the school season and all the social aspects that go alongside the cricket. One of the highlights from the 3 matches was captain Oliver Morgan continuing his fine form with the bat with another 100 vs Loretto School and 50 vs Hurstpierpoint College.

The 1st XI have shown great commitment to the school this season and I am really proud of all the efforts each player has shown when they have be called upon. A big thank you goes Paul Atkins for all his hard work in helping me prepare the team for each of their games, and also to Brett Richmond who has supported the plan of what I have tried to implement this year in building a team for the future.

Record:

Played 20

Won 5

Lost 10

Draw 1

Abandoned 4

DDF