Cardiff and Billingshurst score big
Unlike the previous two years, the weather over the Bank Holiday weekend allowed the majority of scheduled matches to end with a result in high-scoring first round of the ECB National Club Championship.
The highest score, and biggest win, of the day came in Group 9 where Cardiff CC scored a mammoth 368 for five in their 45 overs. In reply, Lansdown CC could only manage 115 all out, meaning a 253-run victory for Cardiff CC, will play Newport in the next round.
Elsewhere, records were being set left, right and centre with the highest team score (345), individual score (John Burroughs 143 not out) and partnership (second wicket: 247, John and Mike Burroughs) all going in the same innings at The Woodworm as Billingshurst CC beat Fareham & Croxton CC by 162 runs. Not to mention Carleon Brome scoring 76 runs off 28 balls at a strike rate of 271.
Cambridge Granta CC are grateful to the fifth-wicket pair of Craig Park (101 not out) and Matt Friedlander (94 not out) who shared an unbroken stand of 214, having been 56 for four, to guide Cambridge Granta to a six-wicket win over Brentwood CC.
The most runs were seen at High Wycombe, where the hosts beat Osterley CC by 20 runs. Having won the toss High Wycombe CC decided to bat, racking up 303 for five in their allotted overs. Osterley came close, finishing on 283 for eight thanks mainly to an unbeaten 120 from M Qaisar.
Overall, it was a day for the bat as 21 centuries were scored, the highest of which being 149 scored by Carlos Nunes of Twickenham CC.
With the ball, the performance of the day came from Andy Hawkins, whose 6-33 could not prevent Old Hill CC losing to Whitchurch CC by 13 runs.
Other notable bowling performances came from Stephen Twist of St Annes CC (5-12), Hamza Nadeem of Walmley CC (5-13) and Tom Lambert of Henley CC (5-31). Overall there were 13 five-fors and 1 six-for.
One of ties of the round took place in Group 6 where Wolverhampton CC took on Ockbrook & Borrowash CC at Victoria Avenue. Batting first Wolverhampton posted a respectable 199 for nine with Dan Bowyer top-scoring with 82. Ockbrook & Borrowash looked to be coasting to victory until the final over. Requiring four to win with five wickets left, Ockbrook & Borrowash fell agonizingly short finishing on 198 for seven, losing by a single run.
Another nail-biter took place when Falkland CC travelled to Grasmere Road to take on Cove CC. The visitors won the toss and elected to bat first and thanks to 59 from Stephen Pope, 81 from John Chandler and 78 from Tom Heath posted an excellent 257 for six from their 45 overs.
Cove got off to a solid start but faltered on 48 for two and then 107 for five, but 62 from Nick Randall and an unbeaten 25 from Steve Audsley put them within touching distance of round two, only for them to fall short by two runs.
An upset took place in Group 2 where Hallam CC beat Cleethorpes CC by 134 runs. After winning the toss and batting first the Hallam batsmen filled their boots racking up a fearsome 344 for five, including 131 from Jim Tasker and 96 from Humphrey Emery.
Cleethorpes’ middle order collapsed with batsmen four, five and six all being removed without scoring. The only highlight of the innings was an unbeaten 51 from captain James Osmond as the visitors fell well short, finishing on 210 for 8.
Not all the games, however, were as high scoring. At the Peter May Sports Centre, after winning the toss Ford CC decided to bat; the wisdom of the decision in hindsight looks questionable as 34 overs and only one batsman into double figures (Sanjeev Kumar-23) saw Ford dismissed for 65 by Waltham CC, with the pick of the bowlers being Mehboob Elahi, who finished his nine overs with figures of 4 for 16.
The Waltham batsmen made short work of the reply, knocking off the 66 needed in just 11.1 overs for the loss of two wickets, handing them an eight-wicket victory and the chance to play Ardleigh Green CC in round two.
In Group 4, Bamfield Fieldhouse are looking to reach the quarter finals for the fourth year running, and started off with an emphatic 192-run victory over Old Xaverians. After being inserted by the opposition Bamfield started off well, but a late-order collapse limited their total to 262 for seven at the end of 45 overs.
This was always going to be enough following the dismissal of the Old Xaverians top six with 30 on the board. Only a late rally by Mark Doyle (13) and Andrew Dilworth (18) allowed the Old Xaverians innings the shreds of dignity as they were finally dismissed for 70.
One performance of note, neither with bat or ball, came from Lordswood CC captain and wicket-keeper Jeremy Greaves, who had his hands in eight dismissals for his side taking seven catches and one stumping to help remove Hastings & St Leonards Priory for 208. However his efforts proved in vain as his side finished 175 all out to lose by 33 runs.
Congratulations to all teams who have made it through to the next round, which is due to take place on Sunday May 24.