Worcester Park through to ECB National Indoor Finals
Worcester Park became the first side to book their place in the finals of the ECB National Indoor Championships 2008 after beating Canterbury in the South Eastern regional final at Kent CCC's Indoor School at St Lawrence.
The four teams battling it out for the South Eastern berth in the finals at Lord's on March 16 were MK Azad (Bucks) Canterbury (Kent), BT/Waldringfield (Suffolk) and Worcester Park (Surrey) who had progressed to the Regional Finals stage by becoming Champions in their respective county and winning through a play-off round.
In the semi finals, Worcester Park made heavy weather of chasing a modest 55 set by MK Azad. The Milton Keynes side struggled against the tight Worcester Park bowling attack and only Aftab 14 and Hussain 18 made double figures. Marshall was the best Worcester Park bowler taking 1-8. In reply, Rob Hill (15 not out) and Joe Hill (17) added 36 for the first wicket and the score was kept ticking over as the MK Azad bowlers conceded 16 wides allowing Worcester Park to reach the total required in 10 overs.
Canterbury’s semi-final against BT Waldringfield was a comfortable win for the home side. Batting first, Steer and Ryan Minter added 47 for the first wicket and Cooper scored a brisk 23 including two sixes as they reached 101 in 12 overs with Steer hitting a six off the final ball giving him a personal score of 37 not out. Koumasanos (2-20) was Suffolk’s top bowler.
Canterbury got off to an excellent start reducing BT Waldringfield to 11 for 3 after three overs with both Minters grabbing a wicket each and Ben Cooper the other. Smyth and Fiddaman steadied the rocking ship scoring 12 and 19 respectively, but when Ryan Minter was brought back into the attack they were both dismissed in successive overs.
The visitors finally ended their innings on 48 with one ball remaining. Ryan Minter's spell was the best of the day as he finished with 2.5 - 5 - 3 while Cooper (1-13) and Damien Minter (1-12 including a maiden) also bowled well.
In the final, Worcester Park batted first but were soon in trouble when Waite was brilliantly caught by Marsh at mid on. The Hill twins soon consolidated as Canterbury’s fielding let them down with two catches being dropped and a number of overthrows given away. Rob Hill was out in the sixth over with the score on 47 as Marsh held another good catch off Coopers bowling.
Marshall and Joe Hill continued accruing at a steady rate, the later retiring on 28 in the 10th over after being kept away from the strike for two overs. In trying to scamper runs with a batsman back in the hutch, Marshall was well run out for 23, and the tail enders added only 4 apiece as the visitors finished on a respectable 97 for 3 from their 12 overs. Ben Cooper was the pick of the Canterbury bowlers with 2-17 from his three overs,
In reply Canterbury were soon in trouble. Ryan Minter was out for a duck in the first over and Ben Cooper only managed a single before losing his wicket in the second – both were easily caught by Joe Hill. Smith and Steer rallied but the run rate was climbing and after six overs the Canterbury side had only reached 31.
Joe Hill snatched a third catch in the next over to remove Smith and Damien Minter was run out as he and Paul Steer (30) tried in vain to increase the run rate, Marsh was last out for 12 with the total on 57 giving a convincing victory by 40 runs.
The Worcester Park bowling was impressive throughout with only one bye and one wide conceded and all the bowlers picked up a wicket with Waite (1-11) and Ball (1-16) being the most economic. If there had been a Man of the Match award, it would have gone to Joe Hill who scored 28, took three catches and finished with 1-20 in his spell.
Worcester Park and Staffordshire side Sandyford have both qualified for the Lord's finals on March 16. The regional finals to decide the last two places will be played on Sunday March 2.
In Group 1 at the Indoor School, Durham CCC, Riverside County Ground, Chester-le-Street at noon: Spondon (Derbyshire), Blaydon (Durham), Walkden (Lancs) and Gomersal (Yorks).Durham Programme (45 KB)
In Group 3 at the Centre of Excellence, Somerset CCC, Taunton on Sunday 2nd March from 3pm: Peppard (Berkshire), Sidmouth (Devon), Poole Town (Dorset) and Havant (Hampshire) Taunton Programme (45 KB)