Merchant Taylors’ U15 Cricket
Merchant Taylors’ U15 cricket team rounded off a spectacularly successful season last Sunday by becoming joint national T20 champions. Having won through to Finals Day by beating Cheadle Hulme and Sedbergh in the North of England finals in June they joined Oakham, Whitgift and Wellington College at the famous Arundel Castle ground to play off for the prestigious national trophy.
In the semi-final game against Oakham Merchants batted first and after a good opening partnership between Robert Rankin and Jackson Darkes-Sutcliffe Harvey Rankin joined his brother to put together a match winning stand. Robert’s 51 and Harvey’s undefeated 46, together with 30 from George Politis, enabled Merchants to score 149 for 3. The Oakham innings started well but good bowling from all the Merchants boys ensured that the run rate remained just too high for their opponents to overcome. With Jackson Darkes-Sutcliffe, Sam Regan, Josh Carberry and Robert Rankin all taking important wickets and George Hopwood bowling a tight spell, Oakham fell 6 runs short on 143 for 6.
Steady rain throughout the second semi-final made conditions very difficult, and although the final against Whitgift was started another heavy downpour meant that no further play was possible and the trophy was shared. This was a particularly impressive performance considering that Merchants were missing Oliver Green through injury and both Alex barker and Jay Singh due to other holiday commitments.
Earlier this season Merchants Under 15’s also got through to the final of the ESCA national 40 over cup, losing eventually to Bede’s School from Sussex. Nevertheless, Merchant Taylors’ was the only school in England and Wales to get through to the finals of both formats of the game. This is a testament to the ability and commitment of the boys themselves and the efforts of their coaches at the school, Will Miles and Head of Cricket Simon Sutcliffe, who commented – “This group of boys have become county and regional champions in both T20 and 40 over cricket, and national finalists in both, sharing the national T20 trophy with Whitgift. They have played some exciting and aggressive cricket throughout the season and thoroughly deserve all the accolades which have come their way.”
Next on the horizon for the Merchants players is a major tour to Sri Lanka in October where the boys will face the challenge of playing in a different environment entirely. If they can maintain their recent form they should acquit themselves very well.
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