Parley keep Portman U15 crown in Dorset
Parley took over the local bragging rights from Bournemouth as they followed their Dorset neighbours in winning the Portman Building Society U15 National Club Championships title on their own doorstep.
Just as the boys from Bournemouth CC had won the title in 2005 at Bournemouth Sports Club, Parley took the honours for 2006 after victory by 20 runs over Sileby Town in the final in unseasonably wet conditions at the splendid venue just north of the Dorset town.
England's Alastair Cook was on hand as star guest to witness the proceedings, along with Ian Blackwell of Somerset and England, Owais Shah of Middlesex and England, and James Middlebrook of Essex. Test Match Special's Bill Frindall was MC/commentator for the day, with England selector Geoff Miller as guest speaker.
The competition is played on a county basis with each of the 40 county winners from the record 1,659-club entry progressing to a national knock-out competition, regional finals and the national finals day.
And that saw Parley line up against Suffolk’s Mildenhall in the morning semi-finals, while Sileby Town from Leicestershire took on Cockermouth, who had made the long journey down from the Lake District.
The latter’s hearts were to be broken off the last ball of a thrilling encounter as, with the rain coming down heavily for the first time before lunch, they needed a four off the final delivery to overhaul Sileby’s 114 for five from their 20 overs.
Charles Kindleysides (33) and captain Liam Kinch (30) had been the mainstays of the Sileby innings, setting a target that looked beyond Cockermouth until some acceleration in the final few overs.
With Ben Stokes, already close to England recognition, in fine form with the bat on his way to a gutsy 46, the Cumbrians had closed down from needing 20 off the final two overs to within striking distance - but were just unable to apply the final blow as Sileby won by two runs.
Parley came through their semi by five runs over Mildenhall in another tight affair. Opening bowler Will Vale took 3-24 as the club from West Parley five miles from the centre of Bournemouth reached 114 for seven. Dorset U15 paceman David Payne took two wickets coming back at the death in his 3-28 as Mildenhall’s chase ended at 109 for six.
The Suffolk outfit just edged the third-place play-off, however, overhauling Cockermouth’s 110 for three as U15 county all-rounder Jason Moore smashed an impressive 50 not out in their 111 for two in just 16.3 overs.
The final didn’t produce a close finish either, as Parley’s batsmen survived a dramatic collapse to post a total of 125 for nine that their bowlers were very capable of defending.
Parley had looked on course for score nearer the 160-mark at one stage as they reached 97 for two in their first 14 overs. But the wickets tumbled in the closing overs to halt their run march.
As much as Sileby battled they were never quite able to get up with the necessary run rate, however, and were left 20 runs short at the close on 105 for four as the large local turnout enjoyed yet another victory by a Dorset club in the competition.
Portman Building Society U15 National Club Championships - National Finals, Bournemouth Sports Club, August 23 2006
Sileby Town 114-5 (C Kindleysides 33, L Kinch 30), Cockermouth 112-7 (B Stokes 46)
Parley 114-7 (W Vale 3-24), Mildenhall 109-6 (D Payne 3-28)
Cockermouth 110-3, Mildenhall 111-2 (J Moore 50*)
Parley 125-9, Sileby Town 105-4