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Wales take inaugural U14 county cup

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Wales were crowned ECB U14 County Cup winners after coming out on top following the semi-finals and final at Oundle School.

The first year of this new competition saw four teams through to the knockout at Oundle on August 14-15: Cheshire, Middlesex, Northants and Wales.

Wales batted first against Middlesex and amassed 215 for four in their 45 overs. After losing two early wickets the Welsh innings was built around a superb 110 not out from David Lloyd, who was ably supported by Daniel Roberts (54) and Jordan Kane (23 not out).

In reply Middlesex were quickly reduced to six for four, with Liam Woolls claiming three early wickets and finishing with figures of 3-17. William Vanderspar (59) tried to repair the damage with some help from the middle order but Max Scarr returned figures of 3-35 as Wales finally bowled Middlesex out for 132.

The second semi-final between Northants and Cheshire saw a match that fluctuated one way and then the other throughout the day. Northants batted first and lost two early wickets and struggled to 51 for four.

James Howes then came in and added much-needed impetus to the innings as he scored 62 and the Northants innings closed on 172 for nine. Cheshire lost two early wickets but Tom Johansen (51) and Alex Duckers (51) then took the score to 107 for two, at which stage Cheshire were clearly in the ascendancy.

Things changed dramatically as wickets fell at regular intervals, including Johansen being run out, and Cheshire subsided to 162 all out. The pick of the Northants bowlers were Nick Herbert (3-27) and captain Primesh Patel (3-21) as they scraped home by nine runs.

The following day saw the third place play-off between Middlesex and Cheshire. This time Cheshire did not let the match slip away from them as they bowled Middlesex out for 175, with Jamie Hurworth taking 5-34, and then knocked the runs off in 38 overs for the loss of only four wickets; Ben Williams leading the way with 74 and Alex Duckers scoring an unbeaten 54.

In the Final, Northants batted first and were quickly in trouble against the excellent Welsh bowling at seven for three and then 24 for four. Joe Moxham scored a defiant 49 but the only support came from James Howes with 21.

Once this pair was separated the innings quickly subsided and Northants were all out for 103. Liam Woolls again opened the bowling with a devastating spell taking 3-9 and then Gareth Thomas, the Welsh captain, took 4-29.

In reply, Wales lost two quick wickets and were reduced to 10 for two, but then Daniel Roberts scored a scintillating 74 not out supported by his skipper's 25 not out as Wales cruised to an eight-wicket win with 20 overs to spare.