The Chance to Shine Schools Cup is played by teams of 8 with innings lasting 7 overs. Everyone except the wicketkeeper has to bowl, batters retire at 20, and boundaries are short to encourage aggressive hitting. Matches are played on astroturf to reduce pitch preparation and to increase the chances of playing during less than ideal weather! This exciting format is proving more and more popular with schools - this summer has seen the largest number of entrants to date.
8 teams qualified for the County Finals at Exmouth Community College. Pool stages gave rise to semi-finals between South Dartmoor and Kings, and Exmouth and Okehampton. The two East Devon schools made it through to the final, and Kings batted first. Early wickets and some outstanding fielding - including a full length one-handed diving catch - restricted scoring but the batters battled to a moderate but defendable total. The Exmouth batters never really got going in reply and finished some way short of the Kings total. The consolation for Exmouth is that they progress to the Regional Finals due to the Kings players being all over Europe for their Project Week when the next round takes place. Lucky losers indeed.
Winners - The Kings School (pictured)
Runners Up - Exmouth Community College
3rd/4th - Okehampton College/South Dartmoor
5th/6th - Bideford College/Devonport High
7th/8th - St Cuthbert Mayne/Queen Elizabeth Community College
St Peters in Exeter were the hosts for the U15 Competition. The benefit of playing on an all weather surface was really felt as several heavy downpours during the day were not able to halt proceedings. The story of the day was one of big hitting, with balls flying out of the astroturf at regular intervals. This was coupled with some great retrieval skills as fielders found the dispatched balls on tennis courts, playgrounds, carparks and in the hedges of the surrounding area! After the group games, Okehampton met Pilton in one semi final whilst South Dartmoor drew Tiverton High School in the other. Both saw relatively comfortable victories in setting up what turned out to be a nailbiting final between Okehampton and South Dartmoor. Okehampton batted first and raced away before being pegged back by some tight bowling in the last three overs. In reply, the South Dartmoor boys found themselves needing 10 from the final over - not a big ask in this format. An early wide (2 runs) and a couple of scrambled singles left 6 required. A string of dot balls followed and the tension rose. It came down to the last ball. 6 runs were needed. There had been several swings and misses in the over. The last ball saw another big swing, but this time there was no miss. A full ball was dispatched over square leg to secure the six and with it the win for South Dartmoor.
Winners - South Dartmoor
Runners Up - Okehampton College
3rd - Pilton Community College
4th - Tiverton High School
5th/6th - Paignton Academy/Heles School
Some weather is even beyond an "all-weather" pitch. With a terrible looking forecast the U13 girls moved indoors to Exeter University. A clash with a big schools' athletics event meant only 4 teams were able to attend. A round robin format was played with teams playing each other "home" and "away" to give a full day of competition. An inexperienced Okehampton team visibly improved throughout the day scoring more runs in each match they played. St Peters, weakened by athletics-induced absences played well but were not quite in the same league as South Dartmoor and Churston Ferrers. In the first encounter between the big two, Churston came out on top by 10 runs. The rematch was the final match of the day. The 10 run cushion proved to be insufficient as South Dartmoor won comfortably due to some excellent batting and hence claimed the title.
Winners - South Dartmoor (pictured)
Runners Up - Churston Ferrers
3rd - St Peters
4th - Paignton Academy
The reach of football even affects school cricket fixtures as a desire to finish in time for the England v Wales game became very apparent before the start of play. Luckily a 4 team competition made this possible - much to everyone's delight. After two rounds of matches, Sidmouth College and South Dartmoor were unbeaten, meaning their encounter was effectively the final. Meanwhile, hosts Tavistock and Torquay Girls Grammar were yet to win, but both had the chance to gain the bronze medal spot. The Tavistock girls - all year 9 - gained in confidence during the day and began to transfer their obvious rounders skills to the cricket pitch which bodes well for them next year. Torquay Girls were strong enough to see off the Tavistock challenge and secure bronze. The final was a close game which was narrowly taken by South Dartmoor whose experience saw them win the key moments.
Winners - South Dartmoor (pictured)
Runners Up - Sidmouth College
3rd - Torquay Girls Grammar
4th - Tavistock College