Cockspur Cup hampered by rain
Bad weather played havoc with the fixture list in the second round of the Cockspur Cup with just five results from 128 scheduled matches and a further seven ties decided by a bowl out.
A hectic round of rescheduling saw 115 matches played the following weekend on Sunday May 20th and the weather gods were merciful with all ties reaching a conclusion.
This year the number of entries for the Cockspur Cup has risen by 41 to 396 – a rise of 22% participation in two years, reflecting the growing popularity of competitive cricket played with corinthian spirit.
Only one noteworthy match emerged between the showers on May 13th. Bamford Fieldhouse (Saddleworth League) reached the last 16 last year and started very confidently against and Urmston (Cheshire County League) to score 176-1 in 23 overs.
The match inevitably was cut short by rain but Urmston sportingly chose to concede the match rather than ask to rearrange the tie.
This left 115 ties to be rearranged with the vast majority scheduled for Sunday 20th May. Thankfully the sun shone, or at least the inclement weather stayed away and all the ties scheduled reached a conclusion.
Reigning champions South Northumberland played a midweek evening game over 20 overs due to fixture congestion. They visited Guisborough and rattled up 133-5 and then restricted their hosts to 86-8 in reply, thus ensuring an easy passage into the third round.
The highest score of the day went to last year’s defeated finalists Bromley who are certainly hoping to go one better this time.
After opener Leo Taylor fell for a duck, their star-studded batting line-up amassed 361-7 against Eastbourne at The Saffrons. County pros Nadeem Shahid (78) formerly of Surrey and Matthew Dennington (59) ex of Kent added 129 for the second wicket and then Alan Wells, who starred for Sussex from 1981 to 1996 scored a somewhat sedate 112 off only 60 balls! In reply Eastbourne only managed 144 with Michael Bluett taking 4-28.
County outgrounds in Kent provided two of the closest finishes on the day with Hastings, scoring 196-8 at The Nevill against Tunbridge Wells with 86 from Bradley Smith,. The hosts appeared to be coasting to victory at 174-4 but two wickets in an over added some pressure and with two more wickets falling quickly the final over came with 11 still needed.
Another wicket on the penultimate ball left Nigel Kees needing to hit a six off the final ball to win the match but despite his best efforts he only managed a four so Hastings won by one run.
At The Mote in Maidstone, a similarly tense game saw Howard Waters score 74 as the hosts totalled 186-6. Whitstable looked dead and buried at 140-9 but a valiant last wicket stand between Stuart Hollinsbee (20*) and Duncan Hardy (33*) just failed to reach the target as they fell just two runs short.
The closest finish came at Falkland where the home side scored 239-8. Chris Wheeler with an unbeaten 62 led the Hursley Park charge and with the scores level, but with nine wickets down, the last ball produced a run out leaving Falkland the winners by virtue of losing fewer wickets.
Another close finish saw Taunton travel to Ilminster and score 222-9 with Jack Cooper scoring 69 not out. The hosts, led by Jon Dalwood with 59, fell an agonising two runs short of producing a shock win with their last pair at the crease.
The best all-round performance in the second round came from Matthew Lineker of Alfreton. Visitors Doncaster batted first and as their openers added 116 there was little hint of the drama to follow. Doncaster continued to flourish and reached 167-3 when the whole complexion of the game changed. Matthew Lineker’s eight overs produced a return of 7-32, the best bowling of the round as Doncaster crumbled to 217 all out.
Alfreton lost their first wicket without a run on the board but then followed a century partnership between Nishant Makwena (31) and Alex Mace (56). Two more ducks brought the score to 108-5 but that was the end of the Doncaster successes as John Aspinall (52*) and Matthew Lineker (58*) guided Alfreton home with five overs to spare.
Caythorpe, beaten semi-finalists in each of the last two years, started their campaign with a home tie against Elsecar.
Elsecar batted first and were restricted to 162 – their final wicket falling on the last ball of the innings. Matt Thewlis top scored with 58 whilst Tom Hemmings took 3-15 from his eight overs. In reply Caythorpe had a shaky start losing two quick wickets but a partnership of 75 between Russell Warren (49) and Josh Mierkalns (62*) steadied the ship and Caythorpe won by 5 wickets with 3 overs to spare.