The annual fixture against the School was an excellent game, narrowly won by the boys after an excellent counter-attack by the Saracens took them close in a chase they were well and truly out of midway through.
On winning the toss, the School elected to bat on a very warm and sunny day. Openers Hargrave and Crawley batted untroubled through the opening overs to register an opening partnership of 62 which was only broken by a stunning catch by wicket keeper Dan Durman (PH 2013-15) off Toby Spencer Pickup’s left arm seam. Both Crawley and new batsmen Garrett survived huge appeals for caught behind off left arm spinner, and captain, Dan Lloyd (PH 2014-16) who did eventually gain reward for a tidy spell with the wicket of Garrett, bowled reverse sweeping for 14. Crawley played compactly (as expected given his family connection with the game) for 38 until a brilliant piece of thinking by Lloyd saw him run out leaving the score at 116-3 after 21 overs.
Panayi (Ch 2011-16), Carrasco (Rt 2012-14), Hillman (M 1994-99) and Lloyd then bowled through to the death between them with momentum being kept in check with regular wickets from Panayi who finished with 3-35. Captain Garrett remained unbeaten with 59 but a score closer to 300 was well within reach at one point and the Saracens kept going under the hot sun to restrict them to a catchable score.
In reply, George Lewis (I 2010-15) and Dan Durman kept the scoreboard ticking in the early overs before a collection of rash shots and disciplined bowling saw the Saracens stumble considerably to 49-4 and then 87-6 after 23 overs. Peter Clark (son of long time Master, Matthew Clark) bowled beautifully to record figures of 8-0-23-1 with his left arm spin. With almost 40 wickets by half term, the School rightly has high hopes for this talented 4th former.
With the game seemingly won by the School, Carrasco and Hillman set about re-building against the spinners. With the required rate at over 10 an over and the field set back, ones and twos were the order of the day which rather tested the fitness levels. Carrasco then launched a barrage of blows, three times landing maximums over midwicket as the asking rate was kept hovering at ten an over. Carrasco reached a very well deserved half century but with 61 needed from the final 5 overs, it still looked a long way off. With the seamers back on for the death, scoring options increased and 23 came from the next over as both batsmen took a liking to the sparse leg side field as the ploy of trying to bowl wide Yorkers failed. With 27 required from the final 3 overs, the Saracens sensed a famous victory but two excellent overs of bowling yielded only 12 runs and 15 were required from the final over. Hillman was bowled from the first delivery for 68 leaving Carrasco to try and conjure a final twist. A bye followed by a boundary and 3 wides left 7 required from the last 2 deliveries but two dots sealed the game for the boys. An excellent game with some notable performers, not least Joe Carrasco who finished unbeaten on 78.
For the full score card, please download here.