Marlborough Blues play Cricket XI

Last Saturday saw this summer’s first Blues fixture on the XI, as the postponed encounter scheduled for Prize Day against the College finally took place.

Before the match it was a privilege for the school side to have OMs Alex Combe (PR 2010-15) and Finn Campbell (C1 2010-15) present caps to the XI debutants in the current Lower 6th: Sam Baines, Donald Corbett, Will Freeman and Sam Martin-Jenkins.

A youthful Blues outfit led by Uzi Qureshi (B1 2007-11) won the toss and somewhat surprisingly elected to field. The beautiful September sunshine provided the perfect backdrop for the long awaited contest as the XI batsmen started aggressively. However, after an impressive start, It was Campbell 2-34 and recent leaver Jack Cleverly (SU 2015-20) 2-30 that pegged the innings back. The leg spin of Will Davies (C3 2012-17) 2-40 and the seam of Joe Lloyd (SU 2012-17) 3-54 both made further inroads, but some lusty blows down the order saw the College post a competitive total of 227-9 off their allotted 40 overs.

In response, the Blues were straight out of the blocks with a scintillating counter attack from opener Combe, aided by the aggressive intent of Rory Stewart-Richardson (TU 2002-07). Combe played some superb shots in his 72 from 62 balls before his second attempt at ramping one of the College seamers brought about his demise. Yet at 94-1 off 15 in reply the Blues were on course. Wickets fell at regular intervals, but a classy knock from captain Qureshi kept the old boys in contention. As the game entered its final phase, Qureshi remained threatening until, when requiring 19 from 12 balls, he was well caught at long on for 71. Hopes seemed to be fading, but a couple of boundaries from unlikely batting hero Jim Crossland (C1 2010-15) restored optimism.

In the end a four was needed from the final ball with Crossland and the injured Ali Stokes (BH 2005-10) at the crease. A clever wide yorker saw the XI finish victorious amid much excitement with the evening shadows setting in. In the end a close 4 run victory for the College, but a most enjoyable day for all that played to round out a successful, if somewhat reduced, 2020 season of Blues cricket.