The St Olave’s cricket team have been crowned IAPS U13 National Champions.
The Independent Association of Prep Schools tournament brings together some of the most enthusiastic young cricketers in the country to compete over several months of cup competition.
The U13 boys had beaten Birkdale, Aysgarth and Bedford School in previous rounds to make it through to the national finals at Hall Grove School, Surrey, as one of the top four teams. The other competitors were Beaudesert Park, Cumnor House, and St Ronan’s, Kent.
Despite reaching this stage of the competition eight times in the last nine years, St Olave’s had won just once, back in 2011. The boys started brightly however, bowling out Cumnor House in the semi-final for 89, losing only one wicket in reply with six overs to spare.
The final, against St Ronan’s, required a more determined performance, as a wobbly batting start saw the boys lose two early wickets. Some intelligent and brave play from the following batsmen, though, saw St Olave’s amass a commanding total of 200 for 7 in our 25 overs.
The opponents put up an impressive fight with the bat, but St Olave’s kept up the pressure with patient and precise bowling and focused catching. This lead to the final wicket being taken in the 23rd over, securing victory by 55 runs.
Gareth Sharp, Head of Cricket at St Peter’s and St Olave’s, said: “The boys have developed an excellent understanding of rotating the strike and working the ball into gaps, therefore turning dot balls into runs. Throughout the day at the finals, spectators from across the country commented on this impressive aspect of the St Olave’s innings, and I am very proud of the intelligent and professional way the boys conducted themselves. They showed tremendous awareness of the situations they found themselves in and navigated their way around the games as a squad, one to eleven. They should all be very proud of their achievements.”
Nathan Savage, Head of Sport at St Olave’s, said: “This is testament to all the hard work that these boys have put in over five years at the school: long winter net sessions, lunchtime practices and countless hours in the evenings. Cricket is very strong at St Olave’s at the moment and we have a number of good teams coming through the system as the boys make the most of the facilities and opportunities available. This success also points to the camaraderie and perseverance that they developed as a squad on the cricket tour to Sri Lanka this Easter, which certainly paid dividends in the final when they were up against it. Huge congratulations, boys.”