No pressure then on King Edward VI fifth former Hamish Croft, who has already been handed the responsibility of bowling a tense final over, at the start of which Bournemouth require 15 more runs to win a Hampshire League Division 1 thriller.
The ‘academy’ pitch at the Green Jackets Ground is idyllic and small – 13 sixes and 62 fours were hit in the game – and there’s a large crowd on the boundary edge, duly refreshed, so nothing really for young Crofty to get worried about.
Come the final ball of a match that sees close on 600 runs scored, Bournemouth need four to tie and a six to win. Matt King (roughly the same age) has already hit a six and a four, so bowling a dot ball won’t be straightforward.
But the Croft family know all about pressure. His parents fly aeroplanes, so landing the ball in the right spot on the 22-yard ‘runway’ shouldn’t be that difficult.
Hamish does it with perfection – pitching a 'yorker' length delivery straight on King’s right boot and all Bournemouth can do is scamper a leg-bye. They close 297-8, an agonizing three-run defeat for Lions skipper Jonny Coombs to swallow …
With St Cross three down for 30, Bournemouth held the early initiative – but 182 runs later after a handsome stand between young Ben Foster (51) and Ben Gould, the game has turned.
Gould played for Durham University before taking up an economics teaching appointment at Winchester College, as his 143, which contained 18 fours and five sixes, underlined.
Coombs (67) and Tom West (62) led Bournemouth’s huge response. Freddie Oldfield’s rapid 39 took the Lions to 265-6, but Croft’s final spell (he finished with 3-46)) produced two more wickets.
Lusty hitting from Connor Smith and Matt King took it to the last ball, but ice cool Croft had it all in hand …. unlike the nerve racked crowd, who had to retreat to the bar to replenish their glasses !!