Pett Prianhas – Nantes Tours Report
Last week saw Pett Piranhas – the junior section of Pett Cricket Club – embark on their inaugural tour, after forming 5 years ago. The tour destination of Nantes, France was enticing enough for these young cricketers but was supplemented by the fact that it would include the very first game to be played at the new Nantes Cricket Club ground! As you would imagine cricket grounds in the country are something of a rarity but Nantes CC successfully gained the support of the local council to create a new home for cricket in the city and to help grow the game in the country – commended for including a large proportion of locals rather than being an expat club.
The tour included 2 games across the long weekend. Firstly, hosted by Loquidy School in the heart of the city before then christening the Nantes CC ground the following day. Whilst the surroundings of Loquidy were somewhat unusual, played on a new 4G rugby field, the quality of cricket would have been at home in any junior club across the county. The day’s play coincided with a 3 day festival celebrating the school. As a result it was fabulous for the Pett team to see that a large crowd had been encouraged by the school staff – over 250 watching from the natural amphitheatre surrounding the field, with the accompanying support and indeed noise! Perhaps not quite what the children would have been accustomed to.
Inserted by the hosts, and with the crowd slowly growing, the Pett openers set about the task of posting a target. Loquidy had an early breakthrough however removing both openers by the end of the 3rd over – much to the crowd’s appreciation. Henry Ware joined Ollie Goodsell in the middle and the pair set about steadying the ship. Impressive accurate French bowling, with Julien Stanley the pick with 4-19, saw the Pett side build their innings steadily before completing their overs with a relatively modest target posted of 114 for the hosts to win. Ware scoring 47 – removed LBW – supported well by Ben Phelps and Jamie Beard.
After impressive bowling – and now accompanied by the school PA system educating the crowd on the finer points of the game – Pett opened the bowling. Ned Perrin wasting no time in decisively removing the school’s opening batsman with his very first ball and conceding only 8 runs from his 4 overs in the day. Phelps got in on the act thanks to a good catch by Will Beard to remove the other opening batsman. Pett’s bowling remained tight throughout the game, captain Holly Crouch galvanising the team and changing her bowlers well, the dots began to mount – creating pressure on the hosts. However the Loquidy captain – Aurelien Billioud – picked up the gauntlet contributing a timely 31 not out, supported by Stanley (18), to see the hosts close in on triple figures with 3 overs remaining. However the final three overs were a masterclass in accuracy supported by excellent fielding to restrict the French to 101 by the final ball. Valuable contributions by debutant wicketkeeper Jack Pearson and the bowling of Ben Banfield 2-20, Ben Phelps 1-12, Rory Rankin 3 overs for only 7 runs and Charlie Ware 1-20 ensured an opening victory for Pett.
After players and families alike enjoyed the evening in Nantes they headed for Parc du Grand Blottereau – resplendent in their tour change kit, kindly supported by sponsors Icklesham Boot Fairs and Rush Witt Wilson. Winning the toss Nantes, again, inserted Pett. Perrin and Phelps set about with vigour. Phelps departing for 23, before Perrin was retired after scoring an eye-catching 55. Henry Ware picked up where he had left of the day prior and ended up retired for 51. With contributions through the order Pett recorded the first ever score at the ground of 211 – money obviously well invested in the new track!
After enjoying a fabulous French tea in fine surroundings Nantes took to the field to chase the formidable total set by the visitors. The Nantes batting order all contributed to the chase, not least of which Lucas Lecomte with a darting 21. The theme from the first game was replicated here with some excellent bowling from all of the Pett bowlers. Most notably Perrin with figures of 3-16 securing his nomination as player of the tour by the hosts. He was complemented well by many others, including debutant Zak Bates 2-23, Goodsell 2-26, Banfield 2-18 and Crouch 1-12 (with an agreement for the overs to be bowled beyond a result) restricting Nantes CC to 144 from their 30 overs.
Travelling back to Sussex on the Sunday with several tired, but very happy, cricketers (and families) thoughts turned to a swift return to cement newly formed friendships between the 2 clubs.
You can find out more about Pett Piranhas on their website http://pettpiranhas.com/