The annual schools tournament in Mechelen held on 18 March 2015 was again a success despite two teams pulling out for various reasons. Once again the Scheppers hall was used for the tournament. Scheppers instituut has in the past years been very kind to cricket Belgium allowing us access to their facilities for training, tournaments and running cricket courses.
The schools tournament was planned months in advance, so that the juniors had ample time to prepare for it. The National coach visited these schools on a regular basis from the first week in October 2014 until end February 2015, to teach the children the basic techniques of batting, bowling and fielding. Tactical awareness, match strategy and mental skills at the most basic level were also taught so that on match day the competition would be better than previous years.
On Wednesday 18 March the tournament started at 13.00 hrs and ended at 17.00 hrs. Two schools took part, de Baan and Scheppers instituut. Fazil was assisted by Angar Dildar of Afghan CC and Paul Lariviere, a former chairman of the BCF. Paul has always been ready and willing to assist cricket activities in and around Mechelen. Other assistance came from Carine Goidts the PE teacher of the Baan and Geert van Kampen PE teacher from Scheppers .
De Baan came with 1 team of 10 players and Scheppers at the last moment provided thirty six players, 3 teams of 10 players each plus 6 extra substitutes. A tremendous response from them. The format was pairs cricket so each team batted with 5 pairs, each pair received a minimum of 2 overs , and had to score as many runs as possible in those 2 overs. If someone got out 5 runs were subtracted from the team total. Wides and no-balls were not re-bowled but 2 runs were added to the total for each infringement.
Teams played each other and the team with the most points won the tournament. Points were allocated to each team in the following manner; a win was worth 50 points, if a ream scored 100+ runs they got 10 extra points, 125+ runs got 25 points and a score of 150+ got 40 points. So if a team won and scored 155 runs they got 90 points for that game. If the losing team had scored 126 runs they got 25 points so there was a lot to play for even if you knew you were going to lose.
De Baan played very sensibly and tactically they were well coached by Carine Goidts who has been very instrumental in setting up the annual schools tournament in Mechelen and has continued to support cricket in the school where she teaches. Needless to say de Baan won the tournament and the Scheppers first team came second.
Paul and Angar presented the trophies to the first and second placed teams. All other players received medals for taking part. Paul made a nice speech calling on youngsters to join either of the 2 clubs in the Mechelen area, namely Mechelen Eagles CC and Mechelen CC in Hombeek.. Carine received a plaque for her outstanding support for cricket in the Mechelen schools. Angar was thrilled to be part of the event and Paul indicated that he may want to come back again and join the BCF in some role relating to junior development.
All in all a splendid afternoon of fun and competitive cricket watched by parents and teachers and we all enjoyed watching the kids play cricket. It was fun and excitement for all involved. Special thanks again to Paul and Angar as well as Geert and Carine and of course all the children who took part.
Next year we plan to hold the event once again and hopefully we will get the other schools involved again.

Author: Fazil Mehmoud