Friday, 26 December 2008
Eton scraped home against a determined Caulfield Grammar School side today. Set 141 to win in 50 overs they hit their target with the last ball of the 49th over. On a typically enormous oval, the Caulfield innings got off to a strong start against the new ball. The first drinks break brought some control for the fielding side, and four wickets for Gross helped to bowl the opposition out. Our innings started slowly and wickets fell steadily until a controlled and patient innings from Hobson (62 n.o.) saw us home. Mixing belligerence with watchful defence he won his second man of the match award of the tour. Today's win sees a tour record of played 7 won 5 lost 2. This is a considerable achievement for this team and they have learnt a lot from their opponents: patience, resilience and good humour chief among the qualities we have seen on the field from the Australian schoolboys. Off the field we have enjoyed wonderful hospitality wherever we have been welcomed.
Thursday, 25 December 2008
A lively and thirsty MCG crowd watched a great innings from Ricky Ponting today (101 off 126 balls). The Eton tourists among the green and gold shirts survived the heat and the prevailing atmosphere for a real cricketing treat. MCG ground regulations seem to forbid many things (Mexican waves and batting around beach balls, for instance) and some very active stewarding provided entertainment alongside the cricket. After a quiet Christmas lunch spent in a hotel with our visiting families, we spent Christmas evening looking for (and finding) kangaroos at the holiday property of a local architect. Today's cricket gave us the authentic flavour of Christmas in Australia. Tomorrow we take on Caulfield Grammar School in the last match of the tour before flying out at 23.59 local time.
Tuesday, 23 December 2008
A truly magnificent innings of 147 not out by Rory Cox led Eton to victory over a Melbourne Grammar School side who had won the APS championship. Rory, who had been billetted in Adelaide with Australian Test selector Andrew Hilditch, batted with great skill and authority against good bowling from the varied and disciplined MGS attack, including a left-arm spinner who had recently been summoned to bowl at the Australian Test batsmen. His parents and his brother, Harry, watched with justifiable pride. With support from Sangha (30) and Gibson (25 n.o), Cox scored the winning runs with five overs to go. MGS had battled hard throughout the day and maintained both intensity and a high level of performance, but it was Rory's day. In his unflappable way, he accepted the award of a very battered Kookaburra cricket ball at the end of the match. We welcome MGS to Eton in June and look forward to the renewal of rivalries as well as an opportunity to return their warm and generous hospitality.
Monday, 22 December 2008
The day started overcast and breezy and Melbourne Grammar School chose to bat. After 80 overs in the field yesterday Eton started another marathon - 85 overs today. MGS batted patiently and a century by Trotter (whose grandfather, Simon Douglas-Pennant, was an Eton cricketer in the 50s) was the anchor of their innings. The fielding improved as the day wore on, and Eton dug deep to maintain their resistance, and showed tremendous resilience. Here are the bowling figures: Priest 15-1-66-4, Sangha 20-3-62-0, Barber 16-1-43-0, Hopton 11-1-37-1, Fox 9-1-37-0, Hobson 10-1-26-2, Gross 4-0-29-1. A total of 307 for 9 represents a very fair target. Eton's reply has started well and play closed at 100-2 in bright sunshine. 25 from Hobson, 37 from Nath, with Cox and Gross the overnight batsmen. A strong MGS bowling attack will look to dominate in the morning while Eton's batsmen must maintain their patience and their concentration if they are to force a win.
Scoth College won the inaugural Tom Batty Shield by two wickets today on a breezy day in Melbourne. Runs in the morning from Nadeem (54) and Gibson (30) helped to set a target of 274 to win in what turned out to be 80 overs. Patient batting from the Scotch top order saw them through to tea, slightly behind the putative rate but with wickets in hand. Eton failed to capitalise on chances and at the 20 overs to go mark Scotch required 100 with six wickets in hand. Renewed Eton pressure in the field, with good bowling from Clowes, Fox and Sangha (31 overs in the innings) helped to ensure an exciting finish. Scotch scored the winning runs in the last over, and more than 200 overs of competitive cricket had led to a fitting climax.
Saturday, 20 December 2008
A beautiful sunny day in Melbourne saw Eton struggling at 30-3 but good runs from Sangha (63) and Hopton (38) rescued the situation and saw us through to a total of 181. The Scotch College reply followed a similar pattern - good early bowling from Clowes (2-33) put them on the back foot and some late striking in the now familiar Australian fashion saw them to 170. Vanderspar (45 n.o.) and Nath (41 n.o.) then took Eton through to the close without losing a wicket in an increasingly assured partnership. Tomorrow there will be a minumum of 100 overs as Eton seek to set a target and bowl Scotch out, and Scotch seek to limit the runs and chase down Eton's score.
After saying goodbye rather reluctantly to our hosts in Adelaide we arrived in Melbourne this afternoon and met our new hosts from Scotch College. We play them tomorrow in a two-day game (with a cap on the first innings) and are looking anxiously at the weather forecast. Melbourne's famous 'four seasons in a day' weather may threaten the game. Principal of Scotch College, Tom Batty, met us at the school and welcomed us to his new home.
Friday, 19 December 2008
Eton 261-7 St Peter's 265-4 (Williams 114, Hilditch 64*)
In wonderful weather, in a lovely setting, two competitive teams set about building a contest. Eton started well, building their innings steadily and scoring when opportunities arose. Gross, Cox, Sangha and Vanderspar all got into the 30s without being able to go on, and a late flurry led to a good total of 261. St. Peter's bowling had been disciplined and their fielding energetic. Would it be enough? Eton contained the positive St Peter's batsmen early on, but wickets eluded them, and Williams struck the ball cleanly in his excellent innings of 114. When he was dismissed 100 were still needed from 10 overs, and Newcombe and Hilditch saw the home team to victory with some strong running and exciting striking. This was a wonderful contest, with the result in doubt until near the very end, and a match worthy of the history of competition between these two schools. A generous barbecue followed the game as the Eton boys thanked their hosts in Adelaide for all the wonderful hospitality that they had been offered. Special thanks were offered to Peter Warnes for his hard work on our behalf over the course of a week that proved that cricket (and South Australian wine) could be the cornerstones of new and revived friendships.
Thursday, 18 December 2008
Today was a rest day after three days of solid cricket, including an evening challenge in a floodlit tennis court on Wednesday. Batteries to be charged for the game against St Peter's tomorrow. They were the first Australian school to tour England, and started touring in 1981. Also a chance to pick up some local culture, or visit the beach. Ralph Oliphant-Callum, arriving on the 9am flight, chose the latter and braved the surf in typical style, body-boarding happily with the rather sparse holiday-makers in a windy Glenelg. 8.45 meet tomorrow to prepare for the game.
Tuesday, 16 December 2008
Rostrevor College 201-9 Eton 203-2 (Hobson 115 n.o.)
Eton took on State 20-20 champions Rostrevor College in a 50 over game and came out winners thanks to a magnificent innings of 115 no from Ivo Hobson. Early wickets for Eton led to slow scoring until after the first drinks break and then steady scoring from the strong Rostrevor batting line-up brought them back into the game. One or two partnerships threatened to take the score beyond 200 but Eton held things together in the field with two timely run-outs (Cox and Fox) and MacDonagh keeping wicket straight off the plane. Then Hobson took centre stage and controlled the game with marvellous timing and striking. Good support from Cox (38) and Gross (39 no in a partnership of 105) helped Hobson along the path to victory. Friday sees us take on our hosts St Peter's in a match that is being keenly anticipated by boys and adults alike.
Monday, 15 December 2008
Eton 218 (Sangha 58) Prince Alfred College 148 (Hobson 3-24)
On a flat pitch on the route of the former Adelaide Grand Prix Circuit, and against a school boasting the Chappell brothers and Greg Blewitt as old boys, Eton batted first in warm sunshine. Sangha was the rock of the innings with a patient and secure 58 while Barber and Fitzroy (with his first six of the campaign a monster over long off) made rapid runs towards the end. Tight bowling put the pressure on the opposition and wickets fell steadily as first Barber, then Sangha, then Hopton, then Hobson bowled tight lines before Clowes polished off the tail. Vanderspar claimed three catches and a stumping in his first outing as wicket keeper. A strong performance that will need to be repeated tomorrow against Rostrevor College, reputedly amongst the strongest on the Adelaide circuit.
Eton 183 (Hobson 63) Westminster College, Adelaide 182-8 (Fox 3-34)
Eton won the toss and batted on a pitch helpful to the good seam bowlers from Westminster. And after a 50 partnership from Cox and Hobson to take the score to 80-1 it looked like we had weathered the storm. But a series of misjudgments cost us dear and 183 was 40 runs below par. A brisk start by the Australians threatened to take the game away, but good bowling by Priest, Barber, Sangha and Fox put the brakes on, and a steady fall of wickets helped by good ground fielding added to the pressure in the middle overs. It all came down to this: 12 needed off 12, 6 needed off 6, and 3 off the last, Sangha to bowl... Only one scored! Tomorrow we play Prince Alfred College in a re-arranged game.
Sunday, 14 December 2008
Three inches of rain in the last two days put paid to our second match. HOWEVER - we will now play Prince Alfred College (alma mater of the Chappell brothers) on Tuesday. HOWEVER - we practised this morning at the Adelaide Oval indoor centre, thanks to the kind work of Neil Dansie (7,500 first class runs for South Australia and the man at the wicket with Bradman when the Don was dismissed for the last time in first class cricket). HOWEVER - the boys visited koalas and kangaroos and played golf. HOWEVER - lunch for the coaching team in the Barossa Valley with wine-makers Grant and Helen Burge was not called off due to rain. Tomorrow we play Westminster College, and try to gain revenge for the defeat suffered on our last visit.
Friday, 12 December 2008
A wonderful rest day. Catching practice on the beach (this is a cricket, tour after all, even if we haven't played a match yet) and then surfing in the Southern Ocean. Next stop Antarctica. Well, body boarding actually, not the sort of thing an Aussie would call surfing, but big enough breakers to cause some alarm. Weather conditions? Still more Cornwall than Costa del Sol. The boys are now happily billeted and discovering Adelaide life as adolescents know it. We are certainly enjoying some wonderful hospitality.
Thursday, 11 December 2008
Match rained off! It hasn't rained in Adelaide since August, and it hasn't stopped since we arrived. There were four hours of indoor cricket - Vanderspar's VII beat Hobson's VII in a two innings game, including a hat trick from Maanik Nath and top score from Freddie Barber. Prince Alfred's hospitality has been amazing - allowing us the run of their school all day, thanks to wonderful work on our behalf by Peter Williams. Highlights of the day include watching wading birds on the square, the first speeches of the tour, and swimming in an outdoor pool in the rain.
Wednesday, 10 December 2008
However, rain notwithstanding, nor 24 hours of travelling (Ricey got himself upgraded using charm and a tour brochure as currency), we've had a practice, courtesy of St Peter's, and meet at 8.30 tomorrow to leave for Prince Alfred College and the first match. No-one has any idea what the real time is, or knows how we managed to leave the SAQ ladders behind. Aus immigration kindly washed our boots of the mud of the playing fields of Eton, and somehow we managed four breakfasts today.