HAVERFORD, Pa. - Haverford Cricket won the inaugural Intercollegiate Cricket Championship with a resounding nine-wicket victory over Temple. This is Haverford Cricket's sixth victory in a row as the team moves closer to an unbeaten spring season. Haverford was led by the bowlers, with Sophomore Ethan Flicker delivering on outstanding spell that took four wickets for only 11 runs, setting a season record for most wickets taken by a single bowler in a match. With this victory, Haverford's record against to Temple rises to 3-0 for the academic year.
On a cold, overcast, and damp day, Haverford won the toss and elected to bowl first. It was an ideal choice as Temple was forced to deal with a slow outfield and a dangerously swinging ball. New ball-pair of junior Nathaniel Rolfe and senior captain Raghav Bali bowled a clinic, with Bali striking with his very first ball. The batsman was unable to play a rapid, bouncy delivery pitched full on the batsman's body; the ball was top-edged high into the sky only to be comfortably taken by Emile Givental at midwicket. Rolfe was masterful in his use of the short ball, as the batsman only found runs when edges travelled far distance due to Rolfe's pace. With the ball travelling slowly on the ground, Temple lost their second wicket attempting to force a shot against a quick ball bowled by Rolfe at the batsman's ribcage. The ball was mishit to junior captain Andrew Cornell at point, who made a quick and accurate throw back to wicketkeeper Junior Charlie Lynn who then whipped the bails off the stumps with the batsman several yards short of his crease. Raghav Bali followed this up with a full plinth yorker in his next over, making a mess of the stumps in the process.
With the pressure on, Haverford introduced off-spinner Cornell into the attack. The batsman was unable to cope with the repertoire of deliveries possessed by Cornell, who slipped a quick arm ball through the gap between bat and pad to uproot middle stump. Temple found themselves at 26 runs for the loss of four wickets, a precarious position from which the batsman were forced to dig into their crease to attempt a resurrection of the innings. Sophomore Daniel Van Beveren bowled with unnerving accuracy, refusing to give up any easy runs. Temple's middle order continued to negotiate with the bowling masterclass put on by Haverford's bowlers, laboring for runs to defend their wicket with all their might. Slow-bowler Flicker was able to exploit this lack of runs and forced urgency in his introduction in the 11th over.
Flicker bowled his first few deliveries on a full length on middle stump. His third delivery, however, was a fast and high full toss which dipped on the batsman to take him by complete surprise. Bamboozled, the batsman could only watch as the ball rammed into his middle stump to complete the out. Flicker was not done yet, as his very next ball cut away from the outside edge to evade the bat but clip the top of off-stump, causing Flicker's second dismissal in just as many balls. Two balls later, Flicker induced a misplay by the batsman, with a slower ball striking low on the shin pad for an LBW showing the batsman how off his reading of the delivery was. With his final ball of the over, Flicker breached the batsman's defenses again, with a short-pitched ball staying low to go under the batsman's bat and crash into leg stump for Flicker's fourth wicket in a single over. With his very over, Flicker had turned a shambolic innings into a torn and tattered carpet, with the rapid dismissals laying to rest any hopes of a fightback by Temple.
With eight batsmen out, Temple's tail failed to wag and instead meekly submitted to Haverford's superior bowling. Bali returned to take his third wicket, with a beautifully pitched ball outside the off-stump taking a thick outside edge straight to Cornell at point. Flicker fittingly returned to nab the final wicket, with the batsman attempting a poorly thought out run on a ball driven straight to first year Malcolm Thompson who promptly made a bullet throw to the non-striker's end to break the stumps and seal Temple's innings for a paltry 63 runs in under 15 overs.
Haverford's batsmen returned to deliver a calm and collected chase to the target. Early trouble was found with sophomore opener Jake Kutchins edging a ball to second slip where it was smartly caught, but it was the only poor step in the whole chase. Fellow opener Rolfe made quick and easy runs while Bali was watchful early in his innings, blocking balls and taking no risks. Rolfe found little need to attempt boundaries, with powerful cover drives and vicious cut shots rollicking the ball through the off-side for twos and threes. Bali was the first to find the boundary with a monstrous sweep shot that launched the ball for a one-bounce four on the square leg boundary. Not about to be left out, Rolfe caught up with a hard-clubbed cover drive that sent the ball flying past the extra cover fielder for four. This was shortly followed up with a meaty square leg drive that left the fielders in the dust as the ball travelled to the backwards point boundary.
With the target approaching quickly, Bali made no mistakes in his innings and left no poor ball unpunished. A short but slow delivery was driven away through cow corner for four. Rolfe struck the final boundary of the innings with a well timed pull shot off the back foot which skipped the ball through midwicket. With Temple's bowler's flustered and giving up extra runs left and right, Rolfe and Bali used clean hitting at the end to achieve the target, combined with smart and quick running. Both displayed tremendous concentration in their respective innings, with stamina shining through at the end as ferociously struck balls that failed to make it to the boundary still yielded two or three runs on a regular basis. In face of such efficient batting, Temple had no choice but to concede the game. Haverford finised out the game in only 12 overs, leaving another eight overs untouched while still wining the game by a massive nine-wicket margin.
This game was the final of the inaugural Philadelphia Intercollegiate Cricket Championship featuring contested by Haverford, Temple, and Penn. With this win, Haverford wins the title to be become the inaugural title holder while also continuing their unbeaten streak. Haverford College plays their final game against Penn next Saturday at 11 a.m. on Cope Field. A win there would give the Fords their first unbeaten season since 1991.