To finish off a highly successful season, the Optimists Juniors cricket team travelled with an U13’s team to the beautiful ground of Thoiry, near Paris. This is always a special fixture as the pitch is set in the grounds of a Safari park, so the team took to the field with the roar of real lions in the background to spur them on. Having lost the toss, Optimists were asked to bat first and needed a steady start to set the foundation. The opening pair certainly achieved this, racing away at more than 6 runs an over before William Cope retired on 45 not out and then so did Zach Foley on 22 not out. This platform was further extended with some smart running between the wickets from Thomas Martin and the score eventually reached 112 from the allotted 20 overs.
At the break there was some uncertainty as to whether this total was enough and as Thoiry started their innings conditions also improved. A steady start was then accelerated by the Thoiry hitters and after 7 overs they were ahead of the required run rate. But then the quality of the Optimists fielding began to take effect with a smart catch by Joachim Schiodt behind the stumps followed by two run outs and a fine catch from Sebastiaan Van Gilst in the deep turning the game. Straight bowling from Isak Schiodt and Oscar Ramsden kept the pressure on and at that point, the win looked certain but the Thoiry youngsters kept fighting, most notably a young Sri Lankan player called Charles. His hitting and some good home support led to the situation where 11 runs were need for the win as the final over began. An immediate boundary and then two shots for 2 meant that Optimists were suddenly the side under pressure. It then all boiled down to the final ball with a further boundary needed. Tactical field placing and tight bowling restricted the hosts to 2 so Luxembourg Optimists triumphed by 1 run after a great contest.
A further 10 over contest was then staged and the Optimists kept their focus to triumph again to make the long journey home even sweeter. This ended a great summer season but indoor training starts immediately at the International School of Luxembourg this Sunday.