The eagerly anticipated match between First Ball Academy (FBA) and the ACE Programme took place recently at Six Brothers Field, Chaldon. It was very much the rich versus the poor in terms of academy status: it was announced in 2020 that the ACE programme was to receive £540,000 over three years from Sport England. Further to this, it was announced in April 2022 that the English Cricket Board were also investing.
FBA won the toss and elected to bowl first. The ACE batsmen started well, before a beautiful in-swinging delivery from Matthias Blair claimed the middle stump of one of their Middlesex County batsmen for 9. The other opening batsman retired hurt, paving the way for Charlie Topley (U17) to score a brilliant hundred off 58 balls. After their allotted 20 overs, ACE finished their innings on 157.
FBA needed to score at a run rate of nearly eight runs per over and, after losing an early wicket, saw the captain and star batsman, Najib Shinwari, put on a partnership of eighty-eight runs for the second wicket, scoring 58 off 30 balls. Captain Blair finished the game: hitting a huge six over deep square leg, finishing on 54 not out and winning the game with 18 balls to spare.
FBA is an exciting not-for-profit cricket academy, established and run by people of diverse cultures and backgrounds, and we aim to reflect that diversity in our membership base. To us, this is so important: diversity reflects life. At FBA, we are fully dedicated and focused, not just on the game, not just on the development of incredible sportspeople, but on providing our members with opportunities to develop incredibleness full stop.
Coaching sessions for children in the Tandridge area take place at Six Brothers Field on Tuesdays and Sundays. Find out more on our website.