Last year saw around 100 fixtures played across all age-groups with some excellent performances on show. This included the first century to be recorded on the honours board for a number of years; no easy feat when considering how much the formats have shortened from historic matches.
Preparation for this season started in September with indoor nets running throughout the winter under the careful guidance of Mr Lane and me. We are so lucky to have the benefit of Mr Grayson offering his expert coaching to the pupils. Their skills have certainly improved as a result. In addition to in-house expertise, there have been a number of guest coaches who have visited the School and delivered excellent sessions, including Mr Shantry from Shrewsbury School, Mr Phillips from Ampleforth School and Mr Jackson who oversees the Yorkshire Pathways sessions and runs the North Yorkshire under 12 regional team.
Regarding Yorkshire Pathways, a number of boys impressed enough to be invited to attend additional coaching sessions at the beginning of the year. They benefited enormously from this experience and I am sure that some of them will feature in representative cricket matches at some stage over the summer.
Final preparations for the season took place at the end of the Easter holiday when over 50 boys attended a pre-season tour to Oundle School. The boys were able to use the excellent facilities on offer for net practices and match scenarios to hone their tactical and technical skills. Additional coaching was provided by the Oundle staff and our thanks go to them for their help with this. The trip was enjoyed by all and was key in getting the boys up and running, ready for the season ahead.
The season certainly starts with a bang as we host the first round of the Bunbury Cup, the under 12 county cup, this afternoon. In this fixture, the under 12A team will compete against a strong Richmond School side that managed defeated them in a similar fixture last summer. As well as this, we also welcome Dame Allen's this afternoon for a raft of junior fixtures. If that was not enough, there is the first round of the IAPS National Cup taking place on Friday, where our under 13A team will take on Repton School on Main Field before we finish the week with a senior fixture against RGS Newcastle. This week is by no means out of the ordinary and the pupils can expect a lot of cricket throughout the term.
Form 5 will again head off on tour to Oxford after they have sat their CE examinations. This is a wonderful tour which allows the boys to play against opposition they have probably not come against in the past. Fixtures have been arranged against Dragon on day one, a T20 tri-series against Caldecott and Summer Fields will take place on day 2 before playing Warwick on the return journey back to Aysgarth on the final day of the tour. I am very much looking forward to this trip.
I wish all pupils the very best of luck for their matches this season. I hope that all of their hard work pays off and that they enjoy the success that can be celebrated with their teammates and the Aysgarth community. You can keep up to date with live scores, results and statistics using the school's play-cricket webpage. I am sure that you are looking forward to watching the boys play with intense ferocity in the heat of battle balanced with courteous respect for both opposition and officials, as I know I am.
Head of Cricket