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The Canterbury Academy's cricketers return from Desert Springs, Spain, as champions

The Canterbury Academy’s first-team cricket squad marked the start of the season in style, returning from The Cricketer Schools 1st XI Hundred competition as the winners.

All games were played at Desert Springs in the province of Almeria in Spain.

The Canterbury Academy celebrate taking a wicket during their successful trip to Desert Springs
The Canterbury Academy celebrate taking a wicket during their successful trip to Desert Springs

Canterbury were coached by ex-Kent first-team captain David Fulton and former Kent Academy director Phil Relf, now director of sport at the Academy.

The Academy faced Winchester College first.

The batters posted 101 off their 100 balls with Alexa Stonehouse managing Winchester’s pace attack before skipper Harry Fulton batted smartly to navigate a tricky surface favouring the spinners.

Winchester were never allowed to get away and the catalyst for strangling their top order was a brilliant run-out from the boundary by Fin Myers.

This inspired the bowling and fielding unit to go to another level and, through smart captaincy and astute bowling, the spin reserves of Jaydn Denly, Harry Fulton, Josh Gallagher and Connor Dale were able to build the pressure.

The seamers adapted, too, hitting good lengths with Will Cook, Stonehouse and Ben Burgess supplementing the good work of the spinners as Winchester fell well short of their target.

The second game was against a strong Scarborough College with several overseas imports.

Canterbury batted first and, despite a solid start from Christian Roberts and Harry Fulton, they never really landed a proper punch on the opposition’s bowling unit.

There was some momentum from Emile Haratbar at the end of his innings and Henry Goss played nicely, but 99 seemed short of a competitive score.

This proved to be the case as the team lost tamely.

Radley College were their opponents in the final game which would determine group placings - and possibly even the final standings if the weather turned in the last two days.

Yet again, Canterbury Academy batted first.

Skipper Freddie Fulton played nicely and helped Harry Roberts through some tricky moments. The latter made 50 off 40 balls as Canterbury reached 115.

Denly took three wickets and Josh Julian bowled beautifully under pressure, while Cook bowled 10 balls and conceded one run.

Gallagher bowled the last 10 balls as Radley ended on 58.

This victory, and Scarborough’s surprise defeat, meant The Canterbury Academy ended group winners on net run rate.

As a result of prolonged rainfall over the final two days, the tournament organisers consulted the original rules and declared The Canterbury Academy as the winners.

“Cricket is probably dying in some state schools so this success demonstrates what can be done through hard work and patience,” said Relf.

Kent head coach Matt Walker also congratulated the team on Twitter, saying: “Congrats to all! Brilliant stuff.

“Well done especially to @PhilRelf70 and @DaveTavFulton for all the hard work they put in.”

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