BGS in Cricket Thriller

The annual two-day cricket match for the WSF Young Cup between the first elevens of BGS and BRA was played on Saturday 20 and Tuesday 23 June 2009. The cup was presented by BGS in honour of Mr Billy Young on his retirement from the post of Principal of BRA  and in token, not only of his distinguished contribution to Ulster Schools' Cricket over 40 years, but  also of the close personal and professional ties between the two schools. It was conceived as a two-day match to give the boys the unique opportunity in Ulster Schools' cricket of playing in a more sophisticated and challenging type of match than is normally afforded by a one-day competition. In the event, it was a thriller which went right, as they say, to the wire.
At the end of the first day, BRA was well on top, having scored a healthy 156 all out. It was not as if the BGS bowling was poor; Jake Onyekwelu took 4 for 13 and Jack Murphie 2 for 24.  BGS's reply was simply feeble with only Luke Melvin  (19), Callum Gray (19) and Conor Savage (16) making any impact at all. We scrambled to 94 all out, a full 62 runs behind.
On the second day, BRA again played well, reaching 143 all out in forty overs. Captain Jordan McKeown bowled particularly well with figures of 5 for 28. This left BGS the rest of the day to get the 206 runs needed, a very tall order. It was, however, a glorious summer's day and, whether inspired by that or by the magnificent surroundings of the Castle Grounds, they played to their potential. The top scorers were Chris Burns, who entered BGS mythology by scoring the winning runs in the 2008 Schools' Cup final, and who now came good, after a disappointing first innings, with 69, Adam McCusker, who ran 27, and Jordan McKeown with a fine 31. The outcome was always in doubt, but our tailenders, Daniel Kennedy and Jason McKeague, hung on grimly, grittily and maturely in a partnership of 20, to bring us home at last, at ten minutes to seven, with the single wicket to spare.
It was a terrific game between two fine sides, played in a good, if highly competitive, spirit. It testified to the strong BGS cricketing ethos which Chris Harte has sustained and enhanced during his 37 years in the School.