Grappenhall are the real McCoy
Grappenhall returned to the ECB National Club Championship after a lengthy absence from the competition, and powered into round two with a nine-wicket victory over Wallasey.
Riding high in the Cheshire County League with six wins out of six this season, Grappenhall lost the toss in their Group 5 home tie, and the visitors elected to bat. After a good start Wallasey reached 96 for one before losing three quick wickets.
When Alex Eagles (55) was out with the score 170 for five the innings subsided to the bowling of Steve Titchard (5-21). Wallasey were dismissed in the 41st over for only 186.
James McCoy then led the Grappenhall charge to victory as he scored 112 from 99 balls. Richard Green (30) was the only batsmen to see his wicket fall as the Cheshire side romped home with 14 overs to spare.
A number of ties rained off on May 16 were played successfully at the second attempt on Sunday May 23. There were two matches outstanding in Group 8, one of which saw Smethwick score 190 as they batted first on home turf against Barnt Green.
The major talking point was the Barnt Green opening attack as Nick Powell (4-34) was partnered by 13-year-old Matt Lamb, who bowled six overs for only 19 runs. The top Smethwick scorer was M Sheikh, who was run out for 74 as the home side mustered 190 for nine.
Barnt Green cruised to a six-wicket win with significant contributions from Stuart Shephard (50 not out) and skipper, Dougie Brown, who scored 43.
In the other match in the group Oxford were inserted by their visitors from Knowle & Dorridge and the tactic paid off with early success as William Mottram took three quick wickets to reduce the home team to 27 for three.
Rajiv Sharma (97) and Ian Crosby (29) set about repairing the damage with a partnership of 69. Then Geeson-Brown (34) added support to Sharma as the Oxford score was taken to 212 for three in the final over – before Ben Coley took three wickets with no addition to the score.
Knowle & Dorridge also had a bad start to their innings and soon found themselves on 18 for two. But opener Alec Baker found support from Chris Kenny (28) and Matt Proudman (15) to hoist the score to 117 for four. This brought about the arrival at the crease of Justin Hemming who gave more valuable support. Once Alec Baker was finally dismissed for 82 with the score on 180 for five Justin then led the final charge to victory completing his 50 as the target was reached with five overs to spare.
Bath cruised to a 10-wicket victory at Bristol in Group 9. The home side scored 170 for seven, with Robin Lett (107 not out) and James Campbell (57 not out) requiring only 19 overs to knock off the runs. Bridgwater also went through as Cornwood conceded – failing to raise a side a week after the original match was rained off when the Devon club failed to cover the wicket overnight.
There were five matches played in Group 13. The tie between Fives & Heronians and Chingford saw the latter win the toss and bat first on a superb track, with eight players reaching double figures. Truptesh Patel (60) and Matthew O’Sullivan (51) were the top scorers as Chingford reached 291 for seven.
Fives & Heronians made a good fist of chasing with opener Terry Ballard scoring 80 and Christopher White coming in when the second wicket fell and going on to complete an impressive century. However, the middle order collapsed and the tailenders were not able to muster enough to get over the finishing line as Fives’ innings closed on 284 for eight to lose narrowly by seven runs.
Finchley had a comfortable victory at South Hampstead. Finchley batted first and with Niraj Jadav (120) and Jake Milton (62) leading the way they posted a challenging 288. South Hampstead were always struggling to keep up with the required rate and were bowled out for 214.
Cambridge Granta also had a comfortable victory after batting first at home to Hertford. Jason Coleman (66) and Richard Hesketh (103) put on 125 for the first wicket and the pace did not drop as the Cambridgeshire side posted an imposing 307 for seven; Scott Ruskin picking up 4-68. Hertford in reply managed 229 for nine with Chris Box top-scoring on 57.
Potters Bar managed to top these big scores with ease. Steve Gale (91), Shaftab Khalid (65) and Nesan Jeyaratnam (80) got the innings off to an explosive start and Bar bludgeoned their way to 362 for nine. Southgate were never in contention as they were bowled out for 176.
Group 14 saw Hampstead reach 176 in their innings against Waltham; pick of the bowlers was Mohammad Akhtar with 5-51. In reply Waltham lost two quick wickets but from 22 for two Naseer Ahmed (85 not out) led the side to an easy seven-wicket victory with nearly 14 overs to spare.
Bromley scored 272 for eight at Buckhurst Hill with openers James Butterfill (52) and Sadiq Hassan (88) setting them on their way. Wicketkeeper Stephen Bailes weighed in with 63 not out to give the innings some late impetus. Buckhurst Hill scored 226 for eight in reply with Wasim Hoque picking up 4-48 as the Kent side ran out winners by 46 runs.