ESCA Cup success promises bright future for UCS cricket

The UCS Under-15A cricket team have won the London section of the English Schools Cricket Association Cup, proving too strong for Westminster School and Latymer Upper on Finals Day in Dulwich College. Here, the team’s coach, Jon Cooke, explains why he always believed in their chances and looks to a bright future for UCS cricket.

By Jon Cooke

We played our quarter-final on Monday 15th May against Acland Burghley, a local school who are growing their cricket. We beat them quite comfortably. Dulwich College hosted Finals Day three days later with the four semi-finalists present. We faced Westminster in the morning – a 20-over game. We batted first and made 126-6, with several players scoring 20-plus. I wasn’t sure that would be enough on that pitch because they had a couple of star batsmen. We dropped one of them twice – before the same fielder, after we had changed his position on the field, managed to catch him! We restricted them to 112-9, with bowler Ayaan Sanger taking three wickets for 19 runs.

That took us into the afternoon’s main event: the regional, London final of the English Schools Cricket Association Cup against Latymer Upper. We didn’t bowl as well this time and they got 104-9. However, we then scored 105-5 in 16.1 overs with Roshan Mathur hitting 54 not out. Roshan also took four wickets for 17 runs with the ball – having dropped those two catches in the first game! – while Oscar Schott’s bowling figures were 2-9.

Now we go on to represent London in the wider national cup. We could be drawn against a boarding school and it would be brilliant to go and play somewhere like that. However, it has been great just to get this far. Last year the same team won every game in their season, league and cup, before losing their very last match against Colfe’s. So I knew we were a good side and we had a chance. We beat Westminster, Latymer and Dulwich last year and were pretty confident we would go on and win this final.

From the current Under-15 team, three or four boys are already playing for the 1st XI. They are good enough for that level. Cricket is strong here at UCS. Head of Cricket, Adam van der Looy, has done a great job, getting more pupils involved, getting more pupils keen on the sport. There are good young players coming through, and our cup win is proof of this progress.

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