On Wednesday the School welcomed a strong MCC cricket team to Home Field to play against the 1st XI. After the whole summer of school cricket was lost last term due to the Coronavirus pandemic, it was a wonderful sight to see Home Field bathed in sunshine and full of cricketers in their whites. Due to the current restrictions on pupils interacting, the School fielded an XI made up entirely of Upper Sixth pupils and were superbly captained by Ben H. 

The MCC, captained by OC Richard Turner, won the toss and elected to bat on a beautiful wicket. Surrey academy star, Nathan B was relishing the chance to play for the 1st XI for the first time. He didn’t disappoint with a quick and fiery opening spell, which the MCC batsmen did well to survive, before latching onto any width and utilising the short square boundaries. MCC openers Freddie Austin and Eric Anand both reached accomplished 50s before retiring and being replaced by Mathew Bell and Babar Choudhary who also batted beautifully to be 59 not out and 57 not our respectively. This allowed the MCC to reach 239-2 from their 40 overs, with the pick of the bowlers being Ollie C who conceded only 23 runs from his eight overs and Nathan B who was impressive despite not claiming any wickets.

Nathan and Ben opened the batting for the 1st XI and immediately took the attack to the MCC in with some excellent controlled aggression. They brought up the opening 50 in only the ninth over, and looked to be totally in control before Nathan was dismissed for 37 by a superb piece of bowling and a great catch. Ben, continued to fight hard but couldn’t find a partner to stick with him, top scored with 44. Inevitably the MCC proved to be too strong, with some outstanding cricketers on show. Particularly impressive was Aparajit Khurana a premier league left arm spinner who took six wickets for only 12 runs to rip the heart out of our batting. It was however fantastic to see the pupils with huge smiles on their faces, once again able to enjoy representing the school and playing on Home Field. There was also a wonderful buzz around school as most pupils found time to pause and watch the match for a while. It was a timely reminder of the power of sport and how important it is for pupils’ wellbeing. Cricket is certainly thriving at Caterham, and so far over 200 pupils have been taking part in cricket sessions this term during their games lessons and on Saturdays.

At the close of play Patrick Goodwin from the MCC presented the Headmaster with a framed scorecard and photo commemorating former Head of Cricket and Bursar Sandy Ross’ last match captaining the MCC against the school in 2006. Patrick made a moving speech about Sandy and read an extract from his obituary, written by John Barclay, which had appeared in the Guardian. 

I’d like to thank the MCC for bringing a team to Caterham, and we are already looking forward to next summer’s rematch. 

Let’s hope that sport can return to “normal” in the near future.

Jonathan Batty

Master in charge of Cricket


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