Oliver White had double reason to celebrate after he captained his side to the NatWest U13 National Club Championship – and celebrated his barmitzvah at Lord’s.
Along with Ben Werter, the pair helped Shenley Village Cricket Club land the prestigious title, in a tournament which featured more than 1,600 teams.
The two have been playing cricket since they were eight-years-old, and originally met when playing football for London Lions.
Yavneh pupil Oliver, said: “I was very proud to captain of the team, it was a very special achievement for Shenley Village Cricket Club and for Hertfordshire Cricket.”
Enjoying taking part in the tournament, he said: “The quality of cricket played by Denby and Dumbleton in the Finals was amazing and really tested us as a team – all the razzmatazz around the coloured shirts, the commentary and the music made me feel like a professional!”
Also enjoying a double reason to celebrate – his barmitzvah at Lords – he said: “I was over the moon when Mum and Dad told me we were going to have my party at the home of cricket. Even Rabbi Lister got in on the act by comparing the 10 commandments we read that Shabbos to my batting at the crease!”
Saying he would like to play at a professional level, he added: “I would love to – and definitely want to represent GB at the Maccabiah games in 2021.”
Ben, who’s ten months older than Oliver, said: “I was extremely proud to have been part of such a great team and team effort and was really pleased to score important runs in the final when they were needed. I had to fly home four days early from my holiday in Corfu to make the final and it was certainly worth it.”
Describing how much he enjoyed taking part in such a prestigious competition, he said: “The whole day was an incredible experience. The coloured kits with name and numbers, the DJ playing music when a boundary was hit and Jake Ball supporting us all day made it an amazing day and one I will never forget.”
Looking ahead to what he hopes to achieve in the game, he said: “I want to keep improving and help Shenley retain the title at U15 level in two years’ time, as well as play as many games as possible for the Shenley adult team and make my school 1st 11 as soon as possible.
“If I keep improving it would be amazing to represent GB at the next Maccabiah Games hopefully in Football as well.”
Qualifying for the finals by winning the Hertfordshire County Championship, they then knocked out the County Champions of Suffolk, Surrey and Middlesex Champions in the London and South-East Regional Finals to book their place in the finals day. There, they beat Derbyshire in the semi-final, before defeating Dumbleton, who represented Gloucestershire, by 21 runs in the final to seal a brilliant achievement.
Oliver’s dad, George, who manages the team, added: “It was by far and away the best sporting experience of my life – I was quite emotional when we won the London and South East of England Regional Finals and was in tears when we took the final wicket to win the whole thing. It certainly ranked as one of the proudest moments of my life.”