Rain rules at Lord's
Kibworth and Malden Wanderers will have to replay the Cockspur Cup final after rain wrecked a potentially fascinating climax at Lord's.
After being dismissed for a modest 144, Malden Wanderers came out firing after lunch and reduced Kibworth to 9 for two when the grey clouds that circled menacingly above the Home of Cricket finally gave way.
Following a delay of two and a half hours, during which time the umpires made a number of inspections, the game was finally abandoned.
The two sides will now meet again on Sunday 21 September at a venue to be decided.
After winning the toss earlier in the day and electing to bowl, Kibworth soon had their Surrey opponents on the rack at 25 for four as the final threatened to turn into a one-sided affair.
The Leicestershire side, spurred on by losing off the final delivery last year, were indebted to the impressive Aamir Mahmood for their dream start.
The former Pakistan Under-19 bowler induced Daniel Euston to edge to slip before fellow new-ball bowler Simon Renshaw, formerly of Hampshire, spectacularly uprooted two of Jonathan Albert's stumps.
Mahmood then assumed centre stage, cleaning up the dangerous Laurie Evans before tempting Jonathan Hess to nick behind where Charlie Morgan took a stunning catch. The left-handed batsman had launched Mahmood into the Mound Stand for six the ball before.
Alan Cope and David Gorrod staged a recovery with the former, skipper of the Loughborough UCCE and a member of the British Universities side, taking the lead role in the partnership.
Strong off his legs, he regularly pierced the gap between mid-on and midwicket as Malden began to claw their way towards respectability.
But three runs short of a deserved half-century and after a 67-run stand, Cope dragged an attempted drive off the slippery Dan Broughton back onto his own stumps.
In came James Bond - a man for a crisis.
Deciding he did not need a helmet, despite three Kibworth bowlers hurtling the ball down at decent pace, Bond survived a huge appeal for LBW first ball before cracking former Leicestershire and Essex off-spinner Tim Mason for consecutive boundaries to see his side past the 100-mark.
Kibworth's Russell Spiers knows all about playing at Lord's - today was the former Staffordshire left-arm spinner's sixth final appearance the Home of Cricket - and it took the experienced bowler less than an over to make his mark. Coming on at the Pavilion End, he terminated David Gorrod's gritty knock when the batsman edged a loose drive to the sprawling Renshaw at slip.
Kibworth's fans, the majority of whom were decked out in pink shirts, were celebrating again moments later when Richard Jackson deceived Malden Wanderers captain Giles Puckle, deliberately staggering his run-up before trapping him leg before.
Bond continued to play his shots, even with Malden in the mire, but his downfall, expertly run out by Jackson's direct hit after an entertaining 27, effectively signalled the end.
It was left to the returning Mahmood to do the rest, dismissing Simon Crampton and Neil Mander in successive deliveries to wrap up the Malden innings and finish with 5-25.
Malden Wanderers captain Puckle would have drummed into his players during the lunch interval the importance of early wickets if they were to emerge victorious.
His troops were certainly listening as first Michael Cottrell castled Kibworth's England Under-19 international Sunny Patel then Cope followed up his earlier heroics with the bat to run out John Hanger who was sent back by his partner attempting a suicidal single to mid-on.
A buoyant Malden would have fancied an upset but the rain that had threatened all afternoon decided to make an unwelcome appearance.