Eddie Hildebrand 5-12, Qasim Ahmed 45 & Avi Shah 41*
For the second year running, OE's U15's were drawn against Stanmore in the first county playoff; memories of a sound thrashing last year would no doubt have been in the minds of some of the players but there was to be no capitulation this time around - quite the opposite in fact.
Captain Eddie Hildebrand won the toss and elected to bowl first on a greenish wicket that on the face of it wouldn't have been as conducive to spin as in recent weeks. Stanmore's opening batsmen started steadily and with the help of a few wides started to muscle the OE's pace attack. Toby Scott came on, and despite getting considerable movement through the air was unable to stem the flow of runs. With the score on 64/0 after 8 overs, Eddie decided spin was the answer and how right he was. The next 8 overs were a completely different story and a superb display of leg spin in particular. First to go was Adivat, caught in the deep by Sami for a swashbuckling 40. The ball was coming out nicely for Eddie and OE's started to apply some real pressure, with Avi's off-spin and Shivam's leg breaks backing Eddie up and leaving Stanmore at a precarious 90/5 with 6 overs left. Poor shot selection and even poorer running meant that any hopes Stanmore had of a recovery evaporated and they collapsed to 97 all out from 16 overs, Eddie finishing with remarkable figures of 5 for 12, backed up by Shiv's tidy 2 for 13. Leg spin is a very difficult skill to master but when it's done well the results can be devastating.
Opener Sami Noor decided to take the game to Stanmore from the outset but after one cracking boundary he perished off the last ball of the first over. Fresh from a century for the seniors at the weekend, Avi came to the crease but it was Qasim who took control, hitting seven boundaries in a very well judged 45 before being stumped by the Stanmore keeper. Avi then took over, hitting six more fours and a maximum to finish on 41 not out. OE's had knocked off the runs with two overs to spare and will now play a quarter-final against Sunbury CC later in August.
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