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Cambridgeshire under-12s scoop success at the Minor Counties Cricket Festival

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Cambridgeshire under-12s cricket team. Picture: Martin Heginbotham (14799626)
Cambridgeshire under-12s cricket team. Picture: Martin Heginbotham (14799626)

Cambridgeshire under-12s had a memorable time at the Minor Counties Cricket Festival by winning their age group in the 20th anniversary year.

The competition is hosted by former Essex bowler and Zimbabwe coach Don Topley at the Royal Hospital School in Holbrooke, and Cambs were up against Oxfordshire, Lincolnshire, Cleveland, Cumbria and the Netherlands.

In their first match, they faced Oxfordshire, who they bowled out for 76, with Harry Winn and Charlie Walters taking three wickets apiece and Parth Kaul and Aditya Datta getting two each.

Toby Weston’s 36 not out and Ed Staveley’s 15 saw them to victory with 77 for 2.

The bowlers got to work in Cambs’ second match, dismissing Lincolnshire for 137 as Adam Gardiner, Sebastian Harrison, Walters and Zander Wynne-Jones got two wickets apiece.

Ralph Hayward hit 59 and captain Alex James got 29 as Cambs won with 139 for 4.

Their third match was against Cleveland, who won the toss and asked Cambs to bat first.

Staveley (15) and Hayward (16) made a steady start, but it was a 118-run partnership between James (58) and Barnaby Turner (68) that saw them reach 212 for 5 declared.

Walters and Datta took two wickets apiece, Gardiner got one and Charlie Michell got the final wicket as Cleveland were dismissed for 135.

The Netherlands’ national under-12s team were next and, like Cambs, were yet to lose a game.

Tight bowling saw Kaul return five for 16 and Gardiner four for 14 as the Netherlands were all out for 99.

Walters hit an unbeaten 36 as Cambs claimed victory.

Heading into the final game, Suffolk and Cambs had four wins out of four, while Norfolk were also in contention for overall victory after three wins and a draw.

The last match pitted Cambs against Cumbria, who won the toss and elected to field.

A second wicket partnership of 130 between Weston (84) and James (70 not out) helped Cambs declare on 221 for 2.

After a tight opening period, Walters changed the game as his pace bowling led to figures of five for 6 off five overs. Datta’s spin claimed two for 14 off 7.5 as Cumbria were bowled out for 74.

It meant Cambs topped the 10-team table with 150 points after five wins out of five, with Norfolk finishing second with 143.

“Sam Rippington (the support coach) and I were very impressed with the standard of cricket played by all of the sides,” said Cambs under-12s head coach Martin Heginbotham.

“The Cambridgeshire side batted well under pressure. The bowlers who have performed well all season continued to produce fantastic performances and the team’s commitment in the field was exceptional.

“It was a fantastic competition and demonstrated the supportive teamwork within the squad.”

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