The U15s travelled down to Hexam to play Tynedale in the second round of the National Group stage having received a bye in the first round. On arriving at the ground and enjoying the tunes pumping out of the PA system the youngsters took in their surroundings. The pitch had a short square boundary on one side with a high net protecting the neighbouring tennis courts. After a good warm up led by Stevie & Angus, Hutchie loss the toss and Carlton were invited to bowl. The team took the field with AC/DC’s Thunderstruck ringing out giving the proceedings a great atmosphere. A good opening 5 overs from Jamie & Muz yielded one wicket – a regulation caught behind off Muz. It could have been much better if Gav had held onto a one-handed diving catch in Jamie’s third over, but the ball came lose as he landed on the ground. Rua replaced Muz but struggled to come to terms with the different levels of the Tynedale run-up from the pavilion end. Shaun came on for Jamie and caused the batters a few problems but by this time the home side were in the driving seat. Hutchie wasn’t able to recreate his bowling form from the Scottish final as the left/right batting combo meant the tennis courts were always in play. Isaac & Rudy were called upon but neither could stems the flow of runs so Hutchie turned back to Rua from the far end this time. This did slow things down and the two set batsmen retired but Carlton were unable to make any further breakthroughs until the penultimate over when Rua produced a fine leg stump yorker. However Tynedale finished on a healthy looking 166 for 2.
The reply was disrupted as regular opener Gav was unable to bat having damaged his right hand keeping. Hutchie and Shaun strode to the middle knowing a good start was vital to make inroads into the home side’s total. Unfortunately Hutchie was bounced out in the second over and next man in Rua fell, caught at cover, in the third. Muz was unable to repeat his form from Stirling as he played too early on one and was caught at mid-on. 14 for 3 after 4 overs was not the start that the visitors had hoped for. Shaun and Matthew buckled down and got the scoreboard moving before the latter was bowled for 11 at the end of the 7th over. Jamie joined Shaun and put on 30 runs before Shaun holed out to mid-off for 24. Jamie was bowled the same over for 14 bringing Isaac & Rory to the crease. Rory was unlucky to be run out from a direct hit and Dougie joined Isaac and after a cautious start let loose some lusty blows before being caught in the deep off the last ball of the match for 14 with Carlton ending on 92 for 8.
Although Carlton were outplayed in all three departments, the boys should have learnt a lot from the experience. The home side set up their win with a very mature batting performance – taking lots of singles and using the rather unusual geography of their ground to full advantage. They then backed up the batting effort with the ball and in the field. The majority of this Carlton side will compete at this age group again next year and they now know the level they need to get to to progress in this competition.
Special mention to Tynedale for being excellent hosts. The boys (and their supporters) really enjoyed the experience – in particular the music and the food that was laid on after the match.