Fresh from their impressive Round 1 victory the Saracens came into Round 2 full of confidence, despite their hopes of turning out with a number of ‘pros’ from the Shrewsbury roster dashed due to a combination of unavailability and injuries.
Ben Williams (Rt 2008-10) lost the toss and the Saracens were asked to field first on what looked like a very used wicket away to Uppingham. The home side got off to a quick start as the Saracens' opening bowling attack struggled to control the new ball, and whilst the breakthrough came early in the 5th over Uppingham were 31-1 with extras the highest scorer (17). With the wicket showing early signs of inconsistent bounce the Sarries bowling attack started to take control, reducing the hosts to 119-4 and dismissing their ‘form’ batter. Spin twins Pat Jacob (PH 2012-17) and Matt Gregson (Rb 2008-13) bowled very well through the middle overs, ultimately returning figures of 3-39 and 4-43 respectively, before Steve Barnard (Rb 2009-11) cleaned up the Uppingham tail leaving the hosts 153 all out. A below par score, albeit the Sarries would have been disappointed to have given away 48 extras.
At the half way point the Sarries were in poll position, and despite the deteriorating wicket, would have hoped for a quick start to tee-up a comfortable chase. Unfortunately, through a combination of poor shots and some mixed umpiring decisions, that proved not to be the case with the visitors 19-3 and under pressure. Ben Price (O 2008-10) and Ben Williams rebuilt for a period before Williams fell caught at slip bringing Tom Cox (M 2000-05) to the crease. Cox played a measured innings to build what could have been a match winning partnership but was dismissed for 30 with the Sarries 94-5 and the game in the balance. Despite a valiant effort from Price who finished on 50* the Saracens middle and lower order fell in clusters with the visitors all out for 149 and falling 4 runs short.
Overall a disappointing day and a match which the Saracens would have expected to win. That said this year's campaign saw several new Saracens make their Cricketer Cup debuts, and with a good crop of cricketers leaving the school this year, the prospects for 2019 look brighter than years gone by.
Thank you all that played this year and wish all those touring in Devon later this summer all the best. Hoist it up!