Dreams can come true and 'if at first you don't succeed, try and try again'.
Never have these two sayings become more pertinent than when Hazlegrove 1st XI cricket team took on a very spirited and tenacious Queens Taunton 1st XI at Hazlegrove. On a blustery afternoon, Queens put Hazlegrove into bat and immediately had Hazlegrove on the back foot by getting a wicket with the first ball of the match. From that moment on things only got worse for Hazlegrove as they were quickly reduced to 26 for 4.
'If you can keep your head when all those around you are losing theirs, then you'll be a man my son' and that is exactly what James W and Ben F did. They very slowly and methodically began the Hazlegrove fight back. What a rear guard it was as they scored a record breaking sixth wicket partnership of 168 runs, with Hazlegrove eventually ending on 194 for 4. James batted magnificently eventually getting his maiden century off just 96 balls. He was ably supported by Ben, who also got his highest score of the season: 52. Both boys ended up being not out and must be congratulated for the mature and sensible way they approached their innings by playing each ball on its merit and being severe on anything loose.
Surely the day couldn't get any better for James after scoring a ton!!! Well it did. Having been buoyed by a great batting display Hazlegrove weren't going to let the momentum slip. They immediately put Queens under pressure by striking in the first over. Wickets fell at regular intervals throughout the innings as Queens struggled to make any real partnerships of significance. James came on to bowl and in his second over got two wickets in two balls, with some lovely flighted leg spin deliveries. Would he get the hat-trick? Not on this occasion. A plucky, forward defensive from the Queens number eight denied him. A spirited ninth wicket partnership got Queens within 10 overs of drawing the game. Hazlegrove heads began to drop and there was an air of resignation. Once again, cometh the hour cometh the man. James was asked to bowl again. He stepped up and got two wickets with his first two balls! Now the atmosphere was electric as the number eleven made the long and lonely walk to the crease. James, determined and steely eyed, looped up a fizzing delivery; it pitched and turned square and the poor number 11 prodded forward and the ball hit the top of the bat and popped up to silly mid off. Queens were 98 all out and Hazlegrove had won by 96 runs.
James had done it! The whole team crowded round and congratulated him on completing a truly remarkable and once in a life time achievement: a hat-trick, a five wicket haul and making one hundred, not out. A great all round performance by James. An amazing display by a humble and talented young man.
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