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First round concluded with plenty of thrills

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The majority of the matches in the First Round of this year’s Cockspur Cup were played on Sunday April 30 with four more matches being decided on Sunday May 7.

There were a number of close finishes to the ties – non more so than the local derby in Group 4 between Norcross and Blackpool that was decided on the last ball when Jamie Fullalove, the Norcross keeper took a smart stumping to ensure that his side beat their prestigious rivals by two runs.

Norcross now take on another local giant with a trip to Morecambe. Another tie that went to the last ball was the match in Group 7 between Old Edwardians and Old Elizabethans with T Ingram hitting a boundary on the last ball to win the match for Old Edwardians. The reward for Old Edwardians is the chance to host neighbours from literally the other side of the fence when they play Moseley.

The tightest result of all though had to be in the match the match between Stratford-upon-Avon and Finedon Dolben in Group 8. Finedon scored 231 for three thanks in no small part to Jonathan Dunne for an excellent innings of 123 not out.

Stratford were always in the hunt but lost wickets at regular intervals. With the scores level on the last ball there was the drama of a run-out leaving Stratford on 231 for eight thus losing the match on the number of wickets fallen.

Group 3 in particular saw some very high scoring. On the ‘postage stamp’ ground at Wickersley Old Village there was a day where bat dominated ball throughout. Wickersley batted first and set a daunting total of 352 for five with Gareth Davis scoring 163 in 131 balls and Liam Heathcote 52 in 32.

John Barkley of Altofts rose nobly to the challenge and scored 168 not out in 140 balls but Altofts were always struggling to keep up with the rate and ended on 271 for five.

Elsewhere in the Group, Fenner scored 305 for four with Sam Fuller scoring 106 not out, but Dunnington chased this target down with calm assurance from Hamed Khan (97) and Harwood Williams (103 not out) leading their team home to an eight-wicket win.

Other Highlights Group by Group

In Group 4 Shahid Nawaz scored 172 not out out of 283 for four for Clitheroe against St Annes, who managed 240 in reply. Morecambe cruised to a 10-wicket victory against Fulwood and Broughton with V Goyol scoring 90 not out out of their total of 145 without loss.

In Group 5 Urmston saw a magnificent opening partnership of 185 between Chris Grindley (104) and Michael Ness (69) but then the Urmston innings fell away to close at 222 for seven. Sefton Park then made a very determined pursuit of the target finishing on 214 for seven.

This group also saw a number of highs and lows. The second largest winning margin was at Skelmersdale where the visitors, Leigh, posted a daunting total of 337 for five with Andy Batterley scoring 145. Skelmersdale were then skittled for only 99 to lose by 238 runs. Formby welcomed Oxton to their ground but then showed no mercy in bowling the guests out for just 84 and cantering to a nine-wicket victory.

In Group 6, Little Lever welcomed Prescot & Odysssey and batted first to score 252 for nine. They then showed no mercy to the visitors and bowled them out for 49. Another tight finish was at Wavertree where Newton-le-Willows scored 171 for eight and the home side sneaked through by one wicket.

Group 8 contains a number of clubs who have enjoyed success in this competition in recent years. Two recent winners of the Cup are in this group with Kibworth (2004) easing past Walmley by five wickets in the first Cockspur Cup tie at their new ground and Sandiacre Town (2003) beating Lichfield by 192 runs.

Ockbrook & Borrowash, runners-up in 2004, also eased into the next round beating Lutterworth by 176 runs. West Indian Cavaliers had a convincing win against Aston Unity scoring 260 for five (Dominic Williamson 109) and bowling their opponents out for 87.

Leicester Ivanhoe, with Trevor Ward top-scoring with 58, did not extend Alvaston & Boulton, who won by four wickets. Another team to watch in this Group could be Loughborough Town who chased down Kimberley Institute’s 213 with ease winning by nine wickets.

Group 9 saw Frenchay, Cardiff and St Fagan’s come through with some comfort to the 2nd Round. Frocester thrashed Bristol by 214 runs after scoring 309 for six. Other big wins in this group saw Bristol West Indians, Westbury & District and Stapleton go through. Winscombe bowled Exiles (Bath) out for 79 as they cruised to a 10-wicket win.

Group 11 saw Thatcham Town amass 311 for eight against Sandhurst and run out winners by 86 runs. Alton recorded a big win against Shinfield by 133 runs. Gosport Borough, Ventnor and Portsmouth all progressed as well to demonstrate how healthy life near the sea can prove to be.

Highest total of the round went to Chingford in Group 13 who pasted the Bardoli attack for 377 for five with Shaun MrMurray scoring 196 not out and Niraj Odedra 100. This match also had the largest winning margin as Bardoli were bowled out by A Bass (7-21) for 128 thus losing by 249 runs.

In direct contrast, Sawbridgeworth scored 191 nine as Bishop’s Stortford won by two wickets in a close encounter.

In Group 15 Twickenham set up a 2nd Round tie against their near neighbours from Teddington by beating Chessington (211) by six wickets. There were straightforward wins in this group for Purley, Lewes Priory, Shepherd’s Bush and Walton.

On May 7, Middlesex Tamils caused a surprise by beating Cheam and are now looking forward to a tie at Richmond.

In Group 16 there was a close match at Hartley, where Lordswood won by 18 runs. The Mote (89 for five) beat BOCA by five wickets in a low-scoring game. East Grinstead eased past Orpington, winning by nine wickets, and Old Mid-Whitgiftians beat Hayes by six wickets.

The two talking points in this group were the matches at Whitstable - where the hosts scored 171 for eight and Gore Court, after initially being in some difficulty at 45 for three eased through by five wickets. On paper this Gore Court team could be the team to beat in this section, despite last year’s winners Horsham being in the Group, as they boast five ex-members of the Kent staff in Martin McCague, Ben Trott, Steve Marsh, Stuart Waterton and Richard Piesley.

The other match of note in this group was between Roffey (Horsham) and Linden Park (Tunbridge Wells) – two clubs with illustrious near neighbours. Linden Park, after the serious arson attack at their ground that has destroyed all their machinery and most of the pavilion, were hoping for a change in fortune.

Unfortunately they met up with the youngest captain in the competition - 16 year old Joshua Fleming scoring 53 as his side reached 197 for nine in their allotted overs. Joshua then marshalled his troops well and Linden Park were dismissed for 166.

In the 2nd Round Roffey travel to Tunbridge Wells – a tie that Linden Park would have been looking forward to with relish if they had come through.