ILKLEY Grammar School sealed their second Yorkshire Post Schools Challenge win in three years with yesterday’s thrilling success at Headingley Carnegie.
The triumph also provided a double case of deja vu as Matthew Revis proved the star of the show and Richmond School again finished as bridesmaids.
Yesterday’s Under-13s final was a repeat of the Yorkshire Schools indoor final that Ilkley edged in the winter.
Richmond again had to settle for silver in the face of Year 7 star Revis, who inspired his school two years on from their last triumph in 2012 when older brother Daniel was vice captain of the side. Daniel, 15, now plays for Yorkshire Under-15s B for whom he was in action yesterday while his 12-year-old brother strutted his stuff alongside older Year 8 team-mates for his first outing at Headingley.
The younger Revis brother plays for Yorkshire’s Under-13s and Under-12s A teams but had never set foot on the hallowed turf at Yorkshire County Cricket Club’s home.
But yesterday’s appearance at Headingley is unlikely to be Matthew’s last based on his semi-final century and crucial two wickets in a nervy final.
The younger Revis brother blasted an unbeaten 102 to sink Lady Lumley’s School in yesterday’s semi-final but the batsman was then removed for just seven amid gasps in the final.
But Revis bounced back in style by clean bowling two of Richmond’s top three in the batting order as part of a magnificent triumph that he hopes will provide the platform for bigger things to come.
Summarising his first experience of Headingley, Revis – who smashed a record-breaking 1,000 runs last year – told The Yorkshire Post: “It was a bit nerve-wracking at first as standing on the Headingley pitch, it’s a bit weird. But after the first game I was a bit more comfortable. Now I’d love to play here again in the future because it’s just a really nice ground.
“I just need to keep it going and not slack off and keep working.
“I was bit annoyed in the final to say I only got seven runs but we still have some good batters down the order.
“Getting two wickets also gave me some hope and it paid off. I like this tournament because for every child it’s the dream to play at Headingley where Yorkshire play. It’s a dream come true.”
Revis had smashed an unbeaten 102 in the semi-final and an unbeaten 100 in an earlier round as part of the highest score of the competition – 191-2 against Parkside.
But Ilkley were to prove in the final they are no one-man band with Revis sent packing for just seven after being clean bowled by Johnny Carr to leave his side on 13-1.
That left Oliver Burton and Matthew Spencer at the crease and the duo proved rather fluent with the willow themselves, especially Burton who carried his bat for an unbeaten 42.
With opener Spencer weighing in with 29 before being caught by Harvey Websdale off the bowling of James Kelly, Ilkley still amassed a respectable 117-7, even without any big knock from Revis.
With the game seemingly in the balance, in went Richmond openers Sam Winter and Tom Dowson who had their side ticking along nicely at 30-0.
But Revis then proved his effectiveness with the ball by clean bowling Dowson for 10 before adding Johnny Carlton for a duck next ball.
From there on the pendulum swayed one way then the other with Winter (35), Harvey Websdale (19) and Johnny Carr (15) edging Richmond closer to their target only for Oliver Burton, Dan Rowe and Sam McKinnon-Evans to take key wickets for Ilkley.
Richmond surely sensed victory when 92-7 – just 25 runs short – with five overs remaining and also when they were 106-7, just 12 shy of victory, with three overs remaining.
But particularly tight bowling from McKinnon-Evans suddenly left Richmond needing nine from the final over.
Crucially, Websdale was back in the hut having been bowled by McKinnon-Evans.
Rowe took over for the final over and more hostile bowling left Richmond needing seven from the last two balls for victory.
With Nathan Simpson at the crease, only two boundaries would do it and the tail-ender’s first bold attempt for a four was stopped for a single on the boundary leaving Carr, on 15, needing a six to win.
But as he sought lift off the ball whizzed past his bat before sending the bails flying to spark wild celebrations from Ilkley who had won by five runs.
Ikley coach Saul Peltier paid tribute to his players – and the concept of the whole competition.
“One thing this team have got is a lot of character and spirit,” he said. “There were a couple of really nervous overs there but we stood up to the ground and they are delighted.
“They have shown that team spirit and they are worthy of being winners. To be honest, I’m a PE teacher and a general sportsman and I can’t think of a nicer final or occasion than the Yorkshire Post at Headingley.
“The sun is shining and with their families in the crowd there is no better day for the boys really than to play at Headingley.”
Their mere presence at finals day also provided a day to remember for Lady Lumley’s School, Holmfirth High School and Richmond School – even if for the latter another loss against Ilkley was a bitter pill to swallow.
Their coach, Jonathan Kellett, already has his eyes on next year. He said: “Ilkley have now done us in two very close finals.
“We’ve run them close but hopefully we will get them back next year.
“It’s very hard to take but the boys will be back next year.”
So, too, will Revis.