Haileybury cricketers yesterday had the privilege of participating in the inaugural Ben Hollioake Memorial Trophy, a seven-a-side competition held on the main ground at The Oval.
An 8:15am meeting, 8:30am competition draw and 9:00am start meant an early start for the team. Breakfast was taken at 6am and we left soon afterwards. We arrived at the ground in good time and were escorted to our hospitality box, our base for the day. Our squad included Jon Melvill, Max Morgan, Ben Wilson, Tom George, Stuart Pilgrim, Luke Mason, Gautam Bahal, Fahim Qureshi, Tom Stewart and Jon Mathews.
The draw put us in a very difficult group with Hurstpierpoint College, Marlborough and Charterhouse. In the first game, Haileybury set a low target and were slow to adapt to the different approach needed for this format of match. The Haileybury score of 45 in their 5 overs was easily passed by Charterhouse, who later went on to lose in the final against Brighton College.
The second match was against Marlborough and although we had batted more positively, we again set a low target. Marlborough chased 51 in 5 overs and needed 4 off the last ball to win. The ball was struck hard to square leg where a fantastic dive from Max Morgan appeared to have saved the day for Haileybury but his fingertip stop was not enough and the ball crossed the boundary. We were now faced with the prospect of certainly not qualifying from our group. We would have to work hard against a well-motivated and talented Hurstpierpoint team to save a little pride.
In the final group game, good performances including Fahim Qureshi hitting the ball out of the ground made for an entertaining match. Haileybury earlier bowled and fielded well but a strong Hurstpierpoint side scored over 80 runs which, despite our efforts, was too much. Highlights included a series of sixes from Qureshi, an excellent run out and a quite unforgettable catch in the deep by Stuart Pilgrim who captured the attentions of the small but enthusiastic crowd. An excellent day was had by all and the standard of cricket was exceptional.