Kibworth through to Lord's
2004 Cockspur Cup champions Kibworth are through to the final again after seeing off the challenge of Chester-le-Street in the semis - and will face either St Just or Bromley at Lord's next month.
The Leicestershire side won the toss and elected to bat first on their own patch. However before the match could start the heavens opened and there was a torrential downpour that left the outfield under water – the Kibworth members had moved with alacrity to cover the pitch and immediate square.
After an inspection it was decided to delay the start until two o’clock to allow the drainage on this new ground to work wonders. Play started with no sign of water anywhere – a tribute to the investment two years ago by the club when building their new purpose built ground, a truly excellent facility with two outstanding pitches and a large pavilion.
Kibworth started well with John Hanger (54) and Suni Patel (61) adding 121 for the first wicket in 23 overs. A total of 250-plus looked well within the grasp of the home side but the Chester-le-Street field setting was shrewd throughout and the ground fielding was superb with fielders hunting in pairs.
The bowlers started to bowl a better line and the efforts of the fielding side began to reap the rewards they deserved. A brake was put on the scoring and wickets started to fall at regular intervals and Kibworth never broke the stranglehold eventually closing on 199 for nine.
Chester-le-Street lost Quentin Hughes, their prolific opener, for a duck to the delight of the home supporters in the large crowd of around 1,000. W Ritzema (34) and J Coxon (69) set about repairing the early damage and at 58 for one Chester-le-Street looked to be cruising towards victory.
Ritzema was then lbw to Broughton and a second quick wicket put the batting side under pressure. 91 for three then quickly became 100 for six and the visitors' hopes by now were firmly on the shoulders of Coxon. Once he was eighth out spooning a catch back to Spiers the writing was on the wall and Josh Cobb (3-15) quickly wrapped up the match amidst great scenes of celebration.
Kibworth now await the outcome of the other semi-final scheduled for next Sunday (August 19) to find out who their opponents will be at Lord’s on Tuesday September 11.
This semi was delayed as the Henley v St Just quarter-final was being played. St Just made the long trip up from Cornwall after playing their league match on Saturday.
The team arrived in their Reading hotel in the small hours of the morning and a number of the players will not have relished fielding first in the sun after such an exhausting journey.
Henley built a solid base for their innings around Mike Roberts’ 66. Vital impetus was added to the innings by Adrian Gravenstein who hit 51 off 40 balls before perishing to one attacking shot too many. At this stage the match appeared to be drifting away from the visitors but they were able eventually to restrict Henley to 234 for seven.
St Just made a solid start to their reply with Neil Curnow (64) and David Roberts (43) adding 80 for the first wicket. After 25 overs they were handily placed on 111 for one.
Under the pressure of the run chase wickets began to fall regularly and with seven overs left St Just needed to score at nine an over. At this stage a Cornish hero stepped forward in the shape of wicketkeeper Gavin Edwards, who smote a lusty 49 off 33 balls to guide St Just home by four wickets with four balls to spare.
Having reached the semi-final last year at their first time in this competition St Just are now looking forward to hosting Bromley, the Kent League champions, next Sunday for the right to play at Lord’s.
Added spice to this match is that it is a repeat of last year’s semi-final when St Just had to travel to Kent two weeks running in order to play the match – this time around they have home advantage and can look forward to a few extra hours in their own beds prior to playing the biggest ever club match on their ground.
Bromley on the other hand are looking into the logistics of playing at St Lawrence & Highland Court in Canterbury on the Saturday and then in deepest Cornwall on the Sunday.