Some sunshine amid the gloom of a sodden season to report, the Elstow Development XI have won their division. Rob Tebbutt’s charges finished their league season unbeaten and top of the Bedfordshire County Cricket League Development Division (North). The team will now face their Division (South) counterparts in the League Final on Sunday 2nd September. Details of this fixture are still to be finalised, please check this website nearer the time for further information.
To the uninitiated, the format of the Development Division mixes younger players with old hands and is designed to act as a stepping stone to senior cricket for youth cricketers. Placing the emphasis on improving their skills and feel for the game, the Development Division gives youngsters the chance to showcase their abilities while picking up valuable knowledge they might not experience in matches involving just their peer age-groups.
The likes of Ajay Paul and Cain Hamilton-Boyle have been starring for the senior teams on Saturdays again this season and it is no surprise to see their names featuring among the success stories. Other highlights include Luke Griffin’s highest score (so far) for Elstow, a 49* opening the batting against Ickwell plus the further blossoming of Sumit Karunakotha, David Whitfield, Daniel Thind and Sam Ward as ECC players of the future. Indeed, not to be outdone, local sporting stalwart and thinking man’s Olympian, dad Gary got in on the act with a couple of catches in the Ickwell encounter too.
There is concern that the team may be a bit undercooked going into the final. Of the fixtures completed this season, disappointingly, three of these have been conceded by the opposition. In keeping with this year’s recurring theme, a further two matches have been lost to the weather. So while the statistics will show an unbeaten end to the league campaign, captain Tebbutt is aware that the lack of game time may have an effect on his players going into the League Final. The skipper has led well this season, impressing with his leadership qualities and organisational skills whilst weighing in with the odd wicket, catch or knock for good measure. Both he and the lads will be grateful for your support on Sunday 2nd September.
Meanwhile, the Saturday sides’ fortunes have both taken a turn for the worse. The 1st XI have seen a decent start to the season fall away, losing ground on the leading teams in Division One with an unexpected loss to New City and coming off worse in the high scoring losing draw at home to Eaton Bray. Phil Johnson has registered two impressive 70s in the last month, while Stu Robson signed off his season with a scarcely believable 9.3-4-10-5 in the rout over Olney Town. The 2nd XI find themselves embroiled in a scrap for safety with three of the Division’s top teams still to play. Captain Ed Wisson has regained some form in the last three games, registering consecutive half centuries while the form of Hani Thiarra with bat and ball, plus the influence of Nick Lewis and Jimmy Tanswell gives the team reason to believe they will end the season in Division Five.