UNDERHILL Junior School A team were crowned the winners of this year’s Chance to Shine Finals at Portland Red Triangle’s home ground Reforne.
Hosted by the island club for a seventh time, the event was the culmination of a coaching programme carried out by Port-land’s Grant Neven at four local schools as part of the England and Wales Cricket Board’s Chance to Shine scheme.
The day began with a round-robin tournament involving six teams split into two leagues.
Many of the games were close affairs, and it was unbeaten Underhill A and Wyke A who emerged as the top seeds for the semi-finals.
Semi-final one saw Wyke A go up against a rapidly improving St George’s A.
Batting first, Wyke A found runs hard to come by against some impressive bowling and, despite losing only one wicket to a spectacular catch on the boundary, they posted 36-1 in their allotted overs.
In reply, St George’s batted with style with anything loose being struck to the boundary.
A succession of dot balls swung the game back in Wyke’s favour but a huge six in the last over enabled St George’s to progress to the final with a score of 40-2.
Underhill, batting first against Wyke B in the other semi, scored steadily against a team who gave very little away in the field.
A massive fourth over contained five boundaries, which enabled Underhill to post a challenging 52-3.
Accurate bowling had Wyke on the back foot from the start of their response and even 30 runs from overs three and four left them with an uphill task.
With Underhill captain Jess Riley producing a triple-wicket maiden in the final over, Wyke fell well short, finishing on 39-4.
The final produced some spectacular cricket to showcase the youngsters’ skills.
Underhill punished the Saints’ attack with a succession of big boundaries and, with 24 runs coming from the final over, they posted a mammoth 69-2.
In reply, St George’s began well with 12 runs coming from the first over and 20 from the second as their batsman took on the run chase with gusto.
However, the run-rate slowed as Underhill produced an outstanding display in the field, and once again Riley closed out the game with a wicket maiden – St George’s fell 28 runs short on 41-3.
Organiser Neven heaped praise on the participants and thanked the schools for their efforts in attending the finals and their co-operation and support throughout the programme.
He said: “It has once again been a pleasure to take cricket into the local schools. The standard of play, sportsmanship and teamwork has been phenomenal and all the youngsters have been a credit to their schools.
“I would like to give a big thank you to Portland’s Under-13 captain Joe Adkins who performed brilliantly on the day with his umpiring and help organising the pitches, matches etc.
“Finally, a huge thank you to Portland Red Triangle for once again hosting the event.”