Nomads take trophy home

Ecb Indoor

Preston Nomads Indoor Champs 2009

© Sarah Williams

Preston Nomads were crowned 2009 ECB Indoor Six-a-Side champions after crushing Sheffield Hallam University in the final.

The Sussex Premier League outfit posted a mammoth 168 batting first in their showdown with the Yorkshire side; the students making just 84 in reply.

It was a glorious day with the sun shining throughout and the only disappointment was that the matches were played indoors as a sun-drenched Lord’s looked so inviting – hopefully this is a harbinger that the weather this summer is going to be great for cricket after the rain of the last two seasons.

Preston Nomads won the final in style by posting what is thought to be a record score in the Indoor Finals of 168 for five. Their opponents were never able to keep up with the required scoring rate and were bowled out in just over nine overs for 84.

Paul Bedford Stephen Rigg

ECB's Paul Bedford presents Stephen Rigg with the trophy © Sarah Williams

The four teams competing in Finals Day were from very different backgrounds in this competition. Bridgwater who had beaten Havant, last year’s champions, in the Regional Final at Taunton have been Somerset champions for six out of the last seven seasons but had reached Lord’s for the first time in their history.

Preston Nomads have also regularly appeared in the Regional Final at Canterbury and had, at last, reached the National Finals.

Sheffield Hallam University won the Regional Final at Headingley with two balls to spare as they disposed of Blaydon, winners in 2007 and runners-up last year.

Sheffield Hallam was the first University side to reach the Final since the triumph of Durham in 1993.

The final team to make up the four were Stockton, a village side from Warwickshire. They are thought to be the first village club to have reached although their team did not lack experience at this event as Rob Williams was making his sixth appearance at Finals Day having won the trophy four times before with Madisons and on the other occasion picking up a runners-up medal. He was joined in the Stockton team by George Arblaster, another member of the Madisons team in the past.

The first semi-final started at noon with Bridgwater batting first against the students. Four of their batsmen made significant contributions and the only three wickets to fall were all run outs as the Somerset side set a challenging total of 125 for three.

In reply, Sheffield Hallam kept up with the required rate led by skipper Phil Heighway and Adam Smith. Towards the end of the innings 17-year-old Callum Haggett was brought on to bowl which was a calculated risk by the Bridgwater skipper Andy Hallaran as Callum had not bowled for two years due to a back injury.

Callum’s first ball was a perfect yorker that disposed of Smith and in his second over he added the wicket of Iyer to finish with 2-12. However this was not quite enough to swing the match Bridgwater’s way and Sheffield Hallam University won with five balls to spare. The telling factor here was probably the 29 extras that Bridgwater conceded in this match as opposed to the 16 conceded by their opponents.

The second semi saw Stockton bat first and Preston Nomads were soon celebrating as Ibrahim bowled Rob Williams at the end of the second over. The Warwickshire side were led by Arblaster (46 not out) and Steve Ward (32) as they reached 134 for five at the close of their innings. Another good all-round batting display ensued as there were major contributions from four batsmen but the crucial turning point as wickets fell was when Rob Williams tried to take a very sharp return catch and instead badly split a finger necessitating a trip to hospital.

Arblaster stepped up to bowl the last over and although he took the wicket of Rigg for a duck Preston Nomads won a very tight game on the penultimate ball of the match as they reached 136 for two.

In the final Preston Nomads batted first and continued where they had left off in the semis as once again there were four major contributions with the bat as they blasted the Sheffield Hallam bowling for a massive 168 for five. Aaron Phillips (30) and James McKemey (42) opened the innings in style and Rob Wakeford (28) and Kashif Ibrahim (29 not out) continued the destruction.

Sheffield Hallam struggled to keep up with the rate and the pressure meant that they lost wickets regularly. The only exception was skipper Phil Heighway who opened the innings and scored 33. They finally reached 84 before being bowled out with 15 balls left of their innings.

As a result a very impressive Preston Nomads side was crowned Champions and received the trophy and medals from Paul Bedford, ECB’s Head of Operations, Non First Class Cricket.

Ecb Indoor Six A Side Final

Adam Iyer of Sheffield is bowled by David Smith, watched by Nomads wicketkeeper James McKemey © Sarah Williams

There were also three individual awards that were presented during the Presentation Ceremony. The batting prize of a bat donated by Gray-Nicolls went to Phil Heighway of Sheffield Hallam University for his two excellent innings in the day. The fielding prize donated by Cockspur Rum was pouched in style by Aaron Phillips of Preston Nomads who had taken the most spectacular catch of the day to dismiss Owen Edwards of Stockton.

The bowling prize went to Callum Haggett of Bridgwater for his spell against Sheffield Hallam University. This latter prize was a Hawkeye Coaching Session kindly donated by the MCC Indoor School and was presented by Reg Horne, the Manager of the MCC’s Indoor School.

The spectators and some of the players also enjoyed a tour of Lord’s as part of their day. The proceedings were concluded with a reception for players, officials and supporters in the Indoor School Bar as the sun went down on an excellent day’s cricket full of high octane action and played in the best spirit throughout.

Special thanks must go to the team of officials who ensured that the day ran smoothly. The three umpires appointed by the ECB ACO were Jim Anning (Devon), Graham Dorkins (Kent) and David Sharp (Yorkshire). Ian Pert acted as Announcer for the 26th consecutive Indoor Finals and Mrs Doreen Browne was once again the official ECB scorer.

Reg Horne and his staff at the MCC Indoor School ensured that the day ran smoothly throughout and provided catering of the highest order for the Reception in the evening.