The U15's reached the county cup final for the first time since 2011 the hard way, with narrow hard-fought wins over Coton and Saffron Walden but on a glorious Sunday afternoon at Burwell it all came right.
Captain Izzy Routledge achieved her first objective by winning the toss and asking Histon to bat but initially matters did not really go to plan as the elegant James Wilson stroked his way to 53 (retired). His partners, however, were not quite as fluent and Karl Miller and Oscar Toogood in particular were able to stem the tide to the extent that, with six overs left, the Histon score was 85 for 3. At that point and with a range of bowling options still available, the captain made what was an understandable but potentially fatal decision by persevering with the tiring Freddie Lindop and bringing herself on to bowl. 61 runs then came from the last six overs and a manageable target of just over 100 became a much more daunting 147.
Faced with that score, openers Noah Thain and Karl Miller knew they would have to bat in positive fashion right from the start. Essex Academy star Thain was all busy invention, pushing defensive shots to extra cover and calling his quieter partner for challenging singles, whilst the elegant and upright Miller, who had obviously been listening closely, waited that extra half-second before leaning into his trademark drives in the arc between point and mid-off.
At the half-way stage with the total on 75 and both openers still in and well-set, Thriplow were slight favourites albeit with work to do but a quite outrageous piece of improvisation by Miller changed the mood, when a beamer which would have demolished his helmet was hooked over the keeper's head, to disturb a flock of roosting pigeons and take out an entire row of tiles on the roof of the Burwell pavilion. Thus inspired, both batsmen then started to move smoothly up through the gears, peppering the cover boundary and driving the change-bowlers to distraction.
After an exquisite 51, Miller retired to a standing ovation from 50% of the large crowd, to be followed by his younger partner, whose unbeaten 50 included 28 in his last seven balls. By that stage the captain had joined in the fun, with 41 runs coming in the 15th and 16th overs and with the older Thain content to lean on his bat and admire it all from the non-striker's end. With the scores tied and an incredible four overs still to bowl, Histon then rather spoiled the mood by bringing their opening pace bowler back on to bowl some filthy leg-spin, with all the fielders round the bat and gabbling like Australians. Izzy Routledge rightly left the first two balls with utter disdain and then swept the third contemptuously for four, to trigger wild celebrations and an East Midlands regional final at home on 22 July against Geddington from Northamptonshire.
Unfortumatwly we went down to a good side here, but a great season never the less.