Bloxham 1st vs Marylebone Cricket Club
Wednesday saw us welcome Marylebone Cricket Club to Bloxham for our annual fixture. It is a highlight of the cricket calendar, which is always a great occasion for students to play against the guardians of the game.
Exposure to quality players and the prestige of playing against the most famous club in the game are just two reasons why MCC fixtures are so important to schools. Many schoolboy players go on to become playing members of MCC and they themselves will return to their school to play. If there is one fixture that schools hold dear, it is against MCC. For many cricketing schools, this is their flagship fixture and for Bloxham, this is no different.
With formats adjusted to 40 overs rather than declaration cricket, MCC elected to bat having won the toss on a well-balanced wicket that provided plenty for both bat and ball. Oscar H took no time at all to capitalise on the overcast conditions and took a wicket with the first ball of the innings. This brilliant opening spell continued to make scoring difficult with MCC restricted to 23-2 from the opening 8 overs. As expected against a strong MCC, scoring began to get easier and a brilliant individual hundred saw the total reach 265-6 from their 40 overs. Notable bowling performances from captain George K and Archie A demonstrated control which was well supported by an energetic team fielding effort in cold conditions. Oscar H finished as the pick of the bowlers with figures of 3/32 from 8 overs.
A steep run chase was started cautiously, with some early wickets reducing Bloxham to 44-3 but some self-belief and grit from the middle order saw the runs begin to tick over the scoreboard. A mature innings from Ben E (68*) was full of brilliant cover drives and assured shot selection and was a pleasure to watch. Even with wickets falling at the other end, Ben continued to score quickly and was eventually well supported by Max K (30*). This critical partnership anchored the Bloxham innings which finished on 212-7, ensuring a solid draw at the close of play.
MCC are always keen to celebrate the achievements of school cricketers, with a spirit of cricket cap presented to a school player after each match. Ben E received this for his fine innings and the visiting captain was very complimentary when giving Ben his cap. Mr Webber summarised the day’s play by saying “It is a fixture that is always cherished by students well beyond their time at school and being exposed to quality cricketers is a great experience. Seeing plenty of fight and positivity from the whole side will set us up brilliantly for the rest of the season and will hopefully be a day the students will remember fondly.”
Not every school cricketer who plays against MCC will go on to represent their country or play cricket for a living – some may even take their pads off for the last time upon leaving school, but the MCC schools programme and their sides who tour the length of the country perform an invaluable role, in sharing a love of the game and promote the values that come with it. Seeing students from all years so enthused for the game is a very welcome sight across campus and long may it continue for the rest of the term.