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Varsity isn’t over for UKC Cricket: “We’re looking for a 6-0 win this year”

Caitlin Casey

Caitlin Casey is the Sports Website Editor and has been a part of the Women’s Lacrosse team since her first year. Caitlin enjoys writing about Team Kent as well as entertainment and investigative articles.

Chanting could be heard down the street St Lawrence Cricket ground on the last day of Varsity, where UKC Cricket battled their hearts out to beat CCCU in all of their Indoor Varsity games for the first time in years. InQuire sat down with Cricket’s Women’s 1st Team Captain Danielle Weller and Club Captain Brewster Surridge to talk about what made Cricket so successful and where they stand now to prepare for their Summer Varsity in May. First, lets take a look back at the matches to see how Kent played.


Women’s 1s: 99-2:73-5

Women’s 1s went into the game confident, and had been training every day beforehand in preparation working closely with the coaches. The girls also had their eyes on the National Indoor Finals the following weekend in Cardiff.

UKC were in to bat first, with Beth Marsh and Lauren Perkin both doing a fantastic job retiring on 27 and 26 not out a piece, getting the girls up to 73-0 off of 10 overs. The wickets of Laura Kent, and Fleur Eden, fell before the end yet the girls reached 99-2 off of their 12 overs.

CCCU women’s needed to get 100 to win in their innings and started strongly, being 28-1 off 4 overs. Great bowling by the girls as well as fantastic second spells from Beth Marsh (1-11) and Danielle Weller (1-11) slowed the run rate right down and took some key wickets to win the match by 36 runs. A well-deserved in, and a great start.


Men’s 2’s: 59-2:53-5

Kent won the toss putting Christ Church into bat first, and some great opening bowling by Alex Christie and Nick Van restricted CCCU 2’s to 16-2 off 4 overs. A change of bowling saw Lewis White and Matt Sayles continue with impressive skills. CCCU ended the innings 53 all out, losing their last wicket in the 12th and last over of the innings. Alex Christie, Nick Van, and Matt Sayles (The only Fresher in the Varsity squads) finished with 2 wickets a piece.

UKC 2’s needed just 54 to win off their 12 overs to make a historic indoor Varsity for Kent Cricket, beating CCCU for the first time in over 6 years. Captain Tom Wroot and Ben Tosland got the boys off to a great start, with 18 off to first 2 overs. Tom Wroot got out for 5, while batting through with a broken finger and great wicket keeping performance in the previous innings. Ben Tosland lost his wicket for 16 a few overs later, but with some professional batting by Lewis White (21 not out) and Nick Van (7 not out) saw the boys and club home with just under half of their inning remaining to win the game and Varsity by 4 wickets.


Men’s 1’s: 83-4:65-6

With already two wins in Cricket Varsity wrapped up for UKC, the Mens 1’s now had an opportunity to give Kent their first ever indoor varsity clean sweep. The six Kent boys in the 1s had made up the 1s for the majority of the indoor season, Kent Cricket went into the game confident.

Losing the toss, Kent were put into bat first, and got off to a slow start losing James Duckett early for 1. The building of a partnership between Dan Vernon and Brewster Surridge was broken when Dan Vernon got out for 16, and new batsmen Adil Ghaffar was out for just 2 soon after. Brewster retired on 25 not out, leaving two new at the crease. Captain Awais Afzal chipped in until the end with a handy 16, and Aadarsh Shah also added 5 to the scorecard. Brewster came back in at the end to finish on 28 not out, guiding UKC 1s to 83-5 off of their 12 overs.

CCCU needed 84 off of 12 overs to win the 1’s game and regain some pride, and they got off to a modest yet slow start thanks to great bowling from Adil Ghaffar, and an early wicket for Awais Afzal. Dan Vernon and Aadarsh Shah kept the bowling tight to set up a fascinating ending. CCCU 1s needed 40 runs off 4 overs with still 4 wickets remaining. Although the competition was tight, it didn’t put off the Kent bowlers. A wicket in each of the boys last overs ensured that Adil Ghaffar could clean up with two wickets of his own to bowl out Christ Church for 65 and ensure an 18 run victory for Kent 1’s, and the historic 3-0 victory overall.

Full Reports by Lewis Lathey, UKC Cricket Chairman



For those who don’t know anything about cricket, tell us about your Varsity and the game in general.

Brewster: The indoor format, you have two teams of six players – rather than 11 – so you have your standard bowler, wicket keeper and then four fielders. Each bowler can bowl three overs, so you have four bowlers when you divide it up. The scoring system’s a bit different. You’re not rewarded for hitting the wall really far like you would in an outdoor game, instead you have four walls: back wall, two side walls and a front wall. So you’re kind of rewarded for risk.
Danielle: And you don’t run on the back wall. It’s the same points with the girls.
B: Also, you can be caught off of any of the walls, as long as it doesn’t hit the floor, and the ceiling.


So generally, the idea of Indoor Cricket is to hit it off the walls and run?

D: Keep it down, don’t get out.
B: It’s different in the way that more often than not you won’t try to hit it and whack it as hard as you can.
D: There’s a completely different skill set for indoor cricket.
B: It’s about placement and creating angles.



Does that affect how you pick the team?

D: 100%. It tends to help picking experienced players because they’re going to know what to expect. It’s a kind of terrifying game. It’s like being in a squash court with a cricket ball, which is scary.
B: The balcony is over the hall, so the crowd are literally a part of the game. It’s like they’re on top of you, it’s a good atmosphere.
D: The bowling has to be tight, you need a team of all-rounders, it’s not like you’ve got all the overs to try things out and give everyone a go.
B: Pressure builds quicker.
D: You need to make sure you effectively have a plan but be able to change it in an instant because someone’s had a bad over. Which, to be honest, at varsity I don’t think we had a bad over I wouldn’t say.


Danielle, you said it’s a lot of pressure as a captain. Do you go into Varsity thinking you’re going to win, or do you go into it thinking anyone could take it?

D: You don’t want to get your hopes up. We were doing four or five times a week at one point which is a lot of training. We’d played them at BUCS a couple of months before and won against them and we had a previous indoor Varsity winning streak so there was a lot of pressure as a new captain. The last two years we had the same captain, so I had to make sure I didn’t let the club down with keeping the girls title up, and it was gruelling work. I feel like it’s not as bad in the men’s, because there’s two teams. I know men’s do have these problems, but these girls become my best friends because we’re training together every day.



You’ve introduced a coach into your training now, how much difference has that made to the team?

D: It’s the first time we’ve had a coach. A proper, qualified, not-a-student coach. Which obviously, has made an enormous difference.
B: I mean, that benefits massively because that’s takes a huge pressure off of someone who’s trying to organise the team, who’s trying to organise training times, squad selection. It takes the pressure off of coming in here and setting drills. It’s just another thing you don’t have to think about. And someone else’s eye is interesting.
D: Yes, it’s hard to be objective, when you’re like seeing these people as your friends, it’s hard to step back as the captain.


Did it differ a lot from previous years in terms of training?

D: My second year, we really stepped it up and I tried to keep that up and push it further. The first year we were really successful, we had two Varsity wins but I mean, I think it’s all about confidence. You don’t want your team to walk out on the pitch and think “oh, we haven’t practiced for this” because there is nothing worse than getting a ball smacked to you and thinking “I don’t know what to do now”. It’s all about knowing what to do.
B: And also, for them if you’re saying you used to train multiple times a week anyway, that two extra training sessions for the boys was a big step up. If you’re comparing the two then yes, we felt like we trained very hard for it.



Do you think it’s easy or hard to get people to attend trainings?

D: I’ve got a team full of badgers, we all love it we’re just so keen to play cricket. And everyone’s like, if we’ve got a day off they’re like “oh, are we doing anything today?” and I’m like “no, girls, it’s a day off”.
B: It’s just inconsistent. But leading up to Varsity, when it mattered people were there. But for me, it’s something I consider in selection definitely. If you’re a first team player but hasn’t been turning up to training, then it makes a big difference for me in selection because you got to ask how much people want to be there and how much people want to win. And also, how it will come together, because chances are if Christ Church have been training hard for it, when it gets to game time you don’t really know what’s gonna happen but if they’ve been applying themselves to training, learning things then it will show on game day. It makes a difference in selection.


How do you tend to socialise because your trainings are so separate?

D: Our socials are all together, we have the odd team social but generally they’re club socials. This week we had a curry night on the Tuesday.
B: I think Jim’s [Cricket’s Social Secretary] been really good.
D: We have a really good social sec this year. We had a really nice dinner, we went out together and a snowball fight afterwards. And drinks afterwards. I think we just get on this year. That’s not gonna happen every year because that’s just not how it works.
B: Leading up to Varsity, the three teams together that played on the day were pulled aside. The social sec organised a social on the Monday and we played on the Wednesday. They organised all the chants with people who weren’t playing so they still felt connected in that way. The playing teams went for a meal together, so the girls were there with the boys completely as one unit.
D: I feel like in previous years it’s been a bit weird, a bit like year 9 disco. But we’re all friends this year, across the teams.



Do you think the team spirit had an impact on Varsity?

B: Certainly, on the winning side, because it wasn’t just like “oh the girls had just won”. In previous years, the two boys team had lost.
D: The last two years, all the boys had lost all their games and all the girls had won their games. It was a bit of a divide and we were really excited about it and the boys were hanging their heads about it.
B: These are close losses too, and I know Christ Church would’ve been training more than us in those previous years and the fact that we’ve been training and coming together and working as a squad has made a big difference.
D: It sounds really cliché, but we deserved it this year. We really really put in the effort this year and it paid off.


The boys had lost the past two years so it must have been a completely different atmosphere this year, how did that change?

D: Oh, it was crazy. It was amazing. I remember watching it, and oh my gosh, it was the most amazing feeling watching the boys win. It was amazing. 
B: Especially the men’s second team.
D: They were great matches. The atmosphere was just electric, with the chants.
B: Even outside the people who were playing, at the social when they organised all the chants for each individual player, it made it more special.
D: Even you had your own song.
B: You laugh but it made it more special and even off the field we were winning.



What do you think was the biggest impact on this year’s Varsity for you to win?

D: I think coaching and wanting it. That was it. 
B: Self-belief. There were a few boys who have played previous Varsity and has walked away with their tail between their legs. My job at the start of the game was just get in there, talk to them and say “look, lads we’ve got this. We’ve trained for this. I believe in you, I think we’ve got a stronger set of players.” And that showed in all the games, it wasn’t just a lucky day.
D: If we lost, it would’ve been because Christ Church trained harder and at the end of the game they would’ve been the better team.


How does it differ from your BUCS?

D: BUCS is a lot less tense. It’s weird because it is the more serious, qualified thing. It is the sports thing, but Varsity is different. 
B: Because BUCS is kind of like you drive quite far, especially after the first few games where you qualify into the 16 teams and knockouts. And you drive all this way and you try really hard.
D: And you play three matches in a day, it’s really exhausting. At Varsity there’s a genuine rivalry.
B: Varsity is because it’s that date, you know it’s coming, you know there’s gonna be conflict on the pitch. You know who the players are. It’s just more personal I think. Then there’s that connection with the rest of the uni, too. You want to beat Christ Church on all levels not just cricket. But you feel good because you’ve contributed to that, I think.


So, tell us a little bit about the summer Varsity, coming up. Varsity isn’t over for you guys.

B: I don’t know about you girls shape up for the other team, but I know that Christ Church are going to be keen to pull one over on us after what we did to them.
D: We’re looking for a 6-0 win this year. We get special kit, I mean it’s just exciting.
B: It certainly is a massive fixture for the boys playing, and the girls. It’s at the county ground which is amazing, it’s under floodlights and it’s a professional ground. It’s a really really big thing for us and obviously that’s how crickets meant to be played. It’s not limited it’s how the game’s supposed to be played so I think it’s a more important fixture. It’s our chance to feel like professionals for the day and that’s what it is.
D: It’ a different format, it’s real cricket. It’s different tactics. The men’s and the women’s 1s play on the same day and the men’s 2s generally play the day before, in a different ground.
B: And obviously we get to play in coloured kit which is always inspired by a charity. We select a charity each year which selects the colour we choose. This year it’s ‘Porchlight’ which is supporting the homeless. That’s a big thing with our Varsity each year. Our last one was RSPCA.
D: We work on raising money for them throughout the year and obviously our Varsity event is a fundraiser. That’s where we need the crowds really, indoor isn’t a charity event whereas outdoor is. We collect money in buckets and stuff and if people aren’t there you’re only going to get so much.



What are you going to do now to train up for outdoor Varsity?

D: Keep on training loads and loads and loads.
B: Continue the work ethic that we had for the indoor and change it slightly.
D: I think you really change the training, there’s no catching off of walls anymore.
B: Different balls too.
D: You just up it a bit more, everything’s faster, harder and stronger.


Is there anything you want to end on?

B: Cricket is like marmite really, you either love it or you hate it and I’d say there’s more people that hate it than love it, but genuinely as a university event, regardless of the sport, get your mates out and watch it. Who cares if you’re not necessarily watching every ball, we’re not asking that. But it’s a great thing to come and support. We get that it’s exam time but it’s a good way to end the year. If you’re umming and ahhing about it just go and have a look.
D: It’s drinking and watching cricket in the sun. It’s free entry and you don’t have to pay anything.
B: It’s a win, win.



Make sure to catch UKC Cricket’s Summer Outdoor Varsity on Wednesday 16th May at the St Lawrence County Ground and see if they can pull off a 6-0 whitewash for the club and Team Kent! Supporting Porchlight, Cricket will be collecting and raising money for the charity which helps the homeless with mental health, housing, education and employment.

Follow UKC Cricket on Facebook and Instagram.


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