Poole and Betteshanger make Nationals
The first two clubs through to the National Final of the ECB Indoor Six-a-Side Club Championship are Poole Town CC from Dorset and Betteshanger CC from Kent, after the pair came through the opening regional finals.
Poole saw off the challenge of Ynystawe in their regional semi at the Centre of Excellence in Taunton before beating Sampford Arundel in the final; the Dorset six making 124 for three before dismissing their opponents for 59.
Meanwhile, at the Indoor School in Canterbury, Betteshanger lined up a final with Harrow St Mary's, after the pair came through semis against Five & Heronians and MK Azad respectively.
Betteshanger were put into bat and Martin Cheeseman and Liam Collins got the side off to a solid start, adding 52 before Collins holed out at mid-on to Sharma for 17. Cheeseman retired with an error-free 25, and this allowed Andy McNicholas and Joffy Towe to continue to put pressure on Harrow with some fine running between the wickets.
McNicholas also retired with 25 and evergreen Derek Towe added a a few before he was run out after 59 had been added for the second wicket. Joffy Towe finished with 24 not out, Cheeseman returned but was run out without adding to his total, and McNicholas finished with 28 not out as Betteshanger's innings closed on 127 for four. Andre Sharma was Harrow's best bowler with 1-20.
Needing to score at over 10 an over Harrow batsmen had to take chances, but the Betteshanger fielding was top drawer and after three overs the Middlesex team were on the rack at 19 for three following three run outs.
Tony Wright held the innings together for Harrow but the Betteshanger bowling was extremely tight and the batting side could not afford to take chances and failed to find the boundary. Derek Towe's late swing gave him the best figures of 0-12 while Collins picked up a wicket in his final over to finish with 1-16, and Harrow's innings closed on 61 for four with Wright top scoring on 31 not out.
The line-ups for the other two Regional Finals are almost complete. Four teams are through to the Edgbaston Regional Final - Godmanchester Town v Oxford and Worcester Nomads v Norton in Hales - but the Derby Regional Final is not clear yet, as two County play-off matches needed to be rescheduled after snow in Lincolnshire prevented Skegness from making last weekend's date.
These will be played before the Regional Semi-Finals and Final so there will be five matches at the Gateway Centre on Sunday rather than three.
Reigning Champions Preston Nomads CC did not get through the County competition this season, but last year's runners-up, Sheffield Hallam University, and Blaydon CC - winners in 2007 and runners-up in 2008 - are included in a very strong line-up in the Regional Final at Derby this weekend.
Regional Finals results
Centre of Excellence, Somerset CCC, Taunton on Sunday 21st February from 4pm
4:30 Poole Town beat Ynystawe
5:45 Falkland lost to Sampford Arundel
7:15 Poole Town 124-3 beat Sampford Arundel 59 a/o by 65 runs
Indoor School, Kent CCC, St Lawrence Ground, Canterbury on Sunday 21st Feb from 2pm.
2:00 Harrow St Mary’s 115-4 beat MK Azad 114-5 by 2 wickets
3:15 Fives & Heronians 76 a/o lost to Betteshanger 127-4 by 66 runs
4:45 Betteshanger 127-4 beat Harrow St Mary’s 61-4 by 66 runs