The regional finals of the ECB Indoor National Club Championship took place last weekend and the four qualifiers for the national finals at Lord’s have been decided. There will be some new faces in action at the home of cricket alongside a previous champion.
The previous winners are Broadstairs, who last won the competition in 1998 and reached the final in 2002 and 2007. The Kent team comfortably came through their London & East regional final at Canterbury. They first beat Hampstead in their semi-final by six wickets, dismissing their Middlesex opponents for just 60 before knocking off the required total without losing a wicket. In the final they met Suffolk champions Hadleigh, who themselves enjoyed an easy semi-final win over Guildford City YP five wickets. It was a different story this time around as the visitors were dismissed for 55 in pursuit of 126.
Sandyford from Staffordshire caused an upset in their north regional semi-final match at Derbyshire as they beat Durham's regular national finals visitors Blaydon by one wicket. They could not repeat the feat in the final as Yorkshire winners Dearne proved too strong. Dearne had Joe Cooper and Grieg Batty - 42 not out and 39 respectively - to thank as they made 137 for five from their 12 overs. Five of the six Sandyford batsmen were run out as their reply subsided to 108. Earlier in the day, Dearne had beaten Lincolnshire’s Cherry Willingham by four wickets to book their place in that final.
Neyland followed in the footsteps of the 2013 national champions Margam as a Welsh side reached the final four for the second year in a row. Neyland beat Godmanchester Town, hauling in a total of 75 with 16 balls and two wickets to spare. They went on to beat Bedfordshire side Elstow by four wickets in the midlands regional final at Edgbaston. Elstow recovered to reach 110 for five thanks to an unbeaten 52 by Phil Johnson following three early from Patrick Hannon. As Elstow knew from their successful pursuit of 128 to beat Moseley in the earlier semi-final, that total was well within Neyland's grasp and their foes got home with 19 deliveries unused.
The closest match of the round came in the south & west regional final at Taunton as Somerset side Bridgwater came through their semi-final against Poole Town of Dorset by virtue of fewer wickets lost. Poole were all out for 89 and Bridgwater equalled their score for the loss of five wickets. In the other semi-final, Cornwood cruised past last season’s national runners-up Sarisbury Athletic of Hampshire by 49 runs. But the Devon side came up short in the final, only reaching 76 for five from their 12 overs as Bridgwater reached their target with the loss of two wickets and 2.3 overs remaining.
The national finals are taking place at Lord’s on Sunday 16 March and the schedule for the day is:
11:00 Semi-final 1 – Dearne CC v Neyland CC
12:45 Semi-final 2 – Bridgwater CC v Broadstairs CC
14:45 National final