Our most senior group of players travelled for this, the thirteenth annual festival, initiated and hosted this year by Silcoates School, Wakefield with Ratcliffe College from Leicestershire, Bolton School and ourselves in attendance.
The venue changes each season with the format being that every school plays each other in a 40 over game. This season saw every game played in the hottest spell of weather we have enjoyed for many years and this clearly took its toll on some players during the three days.
On Monday, playing at Wrenthorpe CC, a premier Bradford league club and after a slow and long journey over the Pennines we played Ratcliffe College who batted first.
They posted a total of 181 from only 24 overs. The score could have been considerably less had their captain and opening batsman not been dropped when he was on less than 20 but before he scored an otherwise faultless 85.
Arran Sen on his first festival bowled magnificently well at times to take 5 for 37 which included a hat-trick.
In reply none of our batsmen got to grips with their tight bowling attack, restricting us to only 76 all out.
On Tuesday, playing on the same ground we played a development side from Bolton School. Batting first they scored 230 for 5 off 35 overs at which point they declared.
Dropped catches, an increasingly repeating theme through the three days was the main concern especially with two Bolton players scoring 83 and 87 respectively but not without giving chances.
One of the regular run scorers this season Sam Bixby, didn’t enjoy his first innings yesterday and even less so today being caught before scoring.
They say sport is a great leveller with cricket being even more so! Having scored four consecutive half centuries prior to this festival it was clearly frustrating him that runs were becoming more and more difficult to acquire.
Matthew Thomas 24, supported Jack Jones admirably until he was caught out also. This left Jack to battle out as best he could with the remaining batsmen.
Eventually he ran out of batting partners but not before being out himself scoring an almost faultless 107 in just under two hours. Given the temperature it was an even greater effort.
On the third and final day we played at the host school on their home ground. Frustratingly we lost the toss yet again and were asked to bowl in even warmer temperatures.
The benefit of these festivals for batsmen particularly is that they can build on the previous day's performances and this was no exception. Five of the nine Silcoates batsmen to bat got into strong double figures posting a score of 255 from 38 overs.
Again a series of cropped catches proves nigh on disastrous and left us needing too much to do despite a second five-wicket haul for Arran Sen, some achievement!
Arran Sen 19, Michael Thomas a well deserved 31 until he gambled on a shot that didn’t pay off, Jack Jones 24 and Mason Clark a speedy 19 saw us reach 124 all out.
Three losses can be frustrating even disappointing but there were also many positives to bring home and to meditate on over the holiday and remainder of the season.
This was the youngest group ever to play in one of these festivals and nowhere previously will they have learnt so much about longer versions of the game of cricket.
Roll on the winter nets and see you all there in September.