Two back to back defeats do not overshadow a great season for Seaford Under 11's stars of the future

The 21st and 22nd July saw Seaford Under 11's travel to Pevensey and then Buxted Park respectively and were unfortunate to find themselves defeated in both games despite some excellent personal performances that gives promise to next season and the bigger things to come.

Making the trip to Pevensey on a Sunday morning with just 7 players, the Under 11's were thankful for Etienne and Beau coming in to make up the numbers as many of the Seaford players had started their summer break following a hard seasons cricket. Captain for the day Sammy won the toss and elected to field first which gave Yousef the ball and boy did he deliver. First ball saw him destroy the stumps of the Pevensey opening batsman, a feat he repeated in the third ball. Seaford were off to a great start and with Henry keeping things tight at the other end, things were looking promising. Yousef got his third wicket in his second over but wickets were hard to come by for the rest of the Seaford bowlers. A good display though with minimal wides helped restrict the runs, but some dropped catches, mis-fields and overthrows gave Pevensey momentum. Etienne made his Under 11 debut with a great bowling performance which earnt him a wicket, and things got even better when he safely held on to a catch at point off his brother's bowling. Beau was up against the Pevensey big gun and honours were even between the two with a few boundaries being hit, but Beau also pocketing two wickets as the Pevensey innings closed on 273 - 6.

Adam and Yousef opened the batting and some early confusion led to a run out and a few other close calls as the pair were struggling to safely run from one end to the other. Sammy was unfortunate to be bowled but also played a sublime leg glance for four and Henry picked up a few singles as he tallied seven runs to his name. Playing with a player short, Frankie was given the opportunity to bat twice and did so with maturity. He was unfortunate to get out once, but other than that, this was his best bating display of the season as he plundered 26 runs for himself showing that this lad has potential. It was a big ask for Frankie and Beau to reach the target as the last pairing, but they gave it a go, provided some entertainment for the crowd and did Seaford proud. Unfortunately, due to seven wickets lost, the Seaford side ended on 236 - 7, but with one nights sleep before their next game there was no time to dwell.

Next up was the trip to Buxted Park. A picturesque cricket setting on an ideal summers evening. The crowd had their picnic blankets, bottles of prosecco and knew they were in for a thriller. Elliot was the nominated captain and duly won the toss and elected to field first. Yousef was given the new ball again and bowled well but was unlucky not to pick up a wicket this time. At the other end, Etienne was proving he is more than capable at holding his own at this level with some steady bowling and also some quick thinking, as a Buxted opener returned to the ball and he picked up a run out for the first wicket of the match. Charlie's bowling was impressive keeping the line and length right and Frankie's variety bowling, kept the Buxted batsmen guessing but further wickets appeared hard to come by. A second run out, again following good work by Etienne helped the cause and then entered Harvey, deciding this week he would be bowling leg spin. His first over was good, but his second over was even better. Wickets with the first, second and fourth ball of the over (two bowled and one caught and bowled) raised Seaford's confidence and all of a sudden, things were looking good. The last Buxted pairing however, were going to add another twist. Henry bowled his best two overs of the season and was unlucky not to pick up a wicket and Sammy picked up a wicket with his delivery forcing the batsmen onto his back foot and ultimately hitting his own stumps. It was this over however that saw the Buxted batsmen accrue 21 runs and push their score up to an impressive 293 - 6.

A half-time team talk from skipper Elliot was about having fun. In their final game of the season, Seaford were hoping to finish on a high but the opening pair of Henry and Charlie found the going tough. To their credit, neither of them got out, but it was finding runs that they both appeared to struggle with as the Buxted bowling was slow and straight. Sammy and Yousef were next up and did well to only get out once between them, but again, it was runs they were finding hard to find. Frankie and Etienne were next up and despite Frankie getting out first ball, the pair looked solid picking up some singles until Frankie eventually hit the first boundary of the Seaford innings. Harvey and Elliot needed 48 runs off the final four overs. Elliot's instruction to Harvey was to hit three boundaries off each over and the game would be theirs. However, Harvey getting out first ball put paid to this tactic. Despite that early set back (and to note, was only the third Seaford wicket which is an achievement in itself) they picked up some runs with some great running and nudged the score nearer but not near enough as the Seaford innings closed on 268-3.

Despite the two losses, there are so many positives from the performances over the past two days. In fact, the difference since they all started their transition from softball to hardball back in January has seen each and every one of the Under 11 team progress. It is understood that the Seaford Junior Management will want this team to continue into next season as an under 12 team and Manager Paul Mason is hopeful that he can retain his role as they will look to build on what has been a really successful season. Played seven, won three, lost four, but who cares who wins or loses at this stage in their cricket careers. It's about having fun, improving their skills, working as a team.... and the players that have represented the under 11's this year have achieved each of those with ease and they should all be very proud of themselves.

Author: Paul Mason

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