The Annual Cricket Match.
Belfast Royal Academy 1st XI vs Belfast Royal Academy Old Boys’ Association Cricket Match. Friday 22nd June 2018.
At a sunny Castle Grounds, the Old Boys’ XI followed the regular tradition of batting first in the exhibition fixture against the School’s 1st XI. First to come out of the hat in the batting order draw were Matthew Palmer and Stephen McChesney, who set about building a competitive score from the outset. Palmer in particular struck numerous boundaries on his way past 50, before being dismissed shortly after passing the milestone.
Middle order runs were fluently added by Jack Burton and Ross Bryans, each of whom also passed the half century milestone. However these two found the same fate as Palmer, falling victim to the schoolboys’ bowling shortly after reaching 50. Almost as if it were planned, the Old Boys’ innings closed all out just before the scheduled tea break for a total of exactly 200 runs.
Thanks to the efforts of 2017 President Martin Blake and Graham Crothers, the teams and spectators enjoyed an excellent tea in a marquee erected on the lower rugby pitch. The marquee comfortably catered for those involved with room to spare and provided a focal point for the break in play. Short speeches from Harry Warke and Chris Magee – 1st XI and Old Boys’ captains respectively – concluded the interva
Jason Roe and Ross Bryans made early inroads when opening the bowling, ultimately setting up what would turn out to be a victory for the Old Boys. Bryans claimed three wickets, with Roe dismissing a further top order schoolboy batsman. Departing School Coach Mark Shields switched roles to don the wicket keeping gloves – claiming a catch behind the stumps for each of the two Schools’ Cup victories to which he has led the 1st XI.
With the fall of early wickets, the Old Boys were able to rotate the bowling attack and allow each of David Reid, Chris Magee, James Cole, Andrew Magee, Andrew McCormick and Stephen McChesney to claim a dismissal each. Daniel McFadden took three sharp catches, and went on to amaze those in attendance with his ambidexterity by bowling left arm spin.
With the fall of the final School wicket, the Old Boys claimed a 70 run victory and will hope for a repeat of the same in 2019. A final mention of thanks to Tony Cole and Chris Harte, the umpires of the fixture, and to the ground staff for preparing the grounds to the usual exemplary standards.
B.R.A. O.B.A. XI: Andrew Magee, Andrew McCormick, Chris Magee (c), Daniel McFadden, David Reid, Jack Burton, James Cole, Jason Roe, Mark Shields (wk), Matthew Palmer, Ross Bryans, Stephen McChesney.