Lord's joy for Whitstable
The Kent County Indoor League enhanced its status as one of the best in the country after Whitstable took the ECB Indoor National Club Championship title back to the Kent following on from Canterbury victory.
Blaydon from Durham were once again the unlucky losers, runners up for second time in two years, and they, no doubt, will be hoping that a Kent side does not make it to the final in 2013.
The newly refurbished MCC Cricket Academy at Lord’s again played host the national finals where Whitstable and Blaydon CC were joined by Walmley from Warwickshire and Poole Town, 2010 runners up, from Dorset.
The first semi-final of the day saw Blaydon take on Walmley with the Durham side batting first after captain Allan Worthy won the toss.
A confident start saw Blaydon, who won this title in 2007, put on 46 before opener and ‘keeper Peter Howells was well stumped by his opposite number Chris Booth off the bowling of Walmley captain James Cannon.
Another useful partnership saw Worthy retire on 25 before Graeme Bridge was trapped LBW off the bowling of Christian Burgess, who was the pick of the bowlers with figures of 2-27.
Christopher Varley and Gary Stewart took the Blaydon total into three figures before a quick flurry of wickets, including that of Worthy first ball after returning. Varley was the last man left and remained to the end helping Blaydon to 125 for five and himself getting 39 not out.
Walmley’s response suffered a poor start, opener Burgess offering an easy catch to Worthy off the bowling of Martin Pollard without scoring and Adam Breakspear bowled by Stewart for three.
Walmley rebuilt through Booth and Lewis Harrison but after Booth retired, Harrison was stumped by Howells from a turning Bridge delivery, Paul Griffiths was caught off the bowling of Worthy and Cannon was run out for a duck.
Booth returned to record the day’s highest score of 52 before being caught and bowled by Pollard, leaving Walmley all out for 89 and Blaydon progressing to the final with a 36 run victory.
Whitstable, in their first appearance at Lord’s, showed no nerves during a comfortable semi-final win over Poole Town.
Whitstable put their opponents into bat but this at first looked a poor decision after opening bowler Josh Gould struggled and Poole Town put on 36 off the first three overs.
But the momentum swung in Whitstable’s favour after Max Campbell enticed an edge to ‘keeper Tom Richardson to dismiss opener Steve Wilson and fellow opener Michael Porter retired.
Captain Dave Miller was run out by Liam Legg for nine and after Richardson took his second catch of the match, this time off the bowling of Byron Gould to dismiss Ciaran Quinn for 7, Martin Ford was run out by Campbell for two.
John Fairless and the returning Porter bolstered the Poole Town total before the former became the third run out victim for 17 off the last ball of the innings leaving them on 106 for five.
Whitstable lost opener Richardson early for three in another run out but that was as good as it got for Poole Town as the Whitstable batsmen controlled their chase.
Opener Byron Gould (25 not out) was followed by Campbell and Tegg, who both scored an unbeaten 27, as the three retirees that moved the Kent side to the brink of victory. A total of 16 wides did not help Poole Town as Whitstable captain James Loader scored the winning runs in their total of 10 for one from 9.4 overs.
Following a short break Whitstable won the toss again and again elected to field first in the final.
Blaydon, who themselves were happy to bat first, started well but Whitstable were once again producing an excellent fielding display, putting pressure on the batsmen which led to Howells being run out by Byron Gould following a mix up with fellow opener Worthy.
This was followed by Josh Gould trapping Graeme Bridge lbw without scoring.
Worthy and Christopher Varley steadied the ship and after the latter was run out on 23, Gary Stewart and Martin Pollard moved the score onto 86.
But tight bowling, especially from Tegg (0-10 from three overs), had slowed the run-rate and Max Campbell returned to capture the wickets of Pollard and the returning Worthy before a third run out of Stewart in an eventful final over saw Blaydon all out for 91 off 11.5 overs.
Whitstable, as they did in the semi final, again controlled their reply and had scored 46 from the first three overs thanks to openers Byron Gould and Richardson.
Richardson was run out for 20 but Campbell continued the assured batting. Byron Gould retired on 27* and after Tegg was caught by Pollard off the bowling of Varley for a duck Whitstable had Loader and Josh Gould at the crease.
With overs in hand the Whitstable pair took their time and with the scores level, Varley pushed a ball down leg-side for a wide to give the Kent side victory by three wickets.