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Scheepers creepers in Bracebridge win

ECB National Club T20
Bracebridge Heath Jason Scheepers

Jason Scheepers steers Bracebridge into T20 finals

Bracebridge Heath will represent Lincolnshire in the ECB League T20 Area Finals after beating Boston in the final of the Readers Lincolnshire ECB Premier League Winkworth Cup.

This is only the third time that the champions have won the trophy in their eight years in the league – the last time was in 2007 and this is their first triumph since the competition changed to 20/20 format.

Playing at Sleaford CC, the first semi-final brought together Boston and Skegness with Boston winning the toss and inviting their opponents to bat.

Peter Houghton accepted this invitation with some alacrity and after Saeed Bariwala was bowled by Scott Elleray with the score on 18, Paul Butler also took up the challenges and joined forces with Houghton to put on 60 in the next eight overs.

However, the introduction to the attack of the slower bowling of skipper Paul Timby and Tom Baxter brought the dismissal of Butler for 33 and from here the run rate slowed.

Houghton fell to Baxter for 42 and Skegness lost their next three wickets for just eight runs, ending their 20 overs on 137 for six, Timby and Baxter with two wickets each and Elleray claiming a good run out.

Boston set off equally well despite losing Jonathan Cheer with the score on 36, reaching 80 off 10 overs thanks to Josh Newton and Baxter. Newton went for 39 but sensible play from Baxter with 45 and Timby with 23 saw Boston home with an over to spare.

In the second semi-final, Bracebridge won the toss and elected to bat against Nettleham, losing Mark Fell, bowled James Stevens, with 23 on the board.

Brett Houston (24) and Jason Scheepers added 43 but tight bowling from Matt Smith brought him two wickets, James Bayliss had Scheepers caught on the boundary for 37 and Stevens and Rob Cook claimed one victim each.

After 17 overs, Bracebridge were 122 for six but the final three overs saw Aaron Onyon and Stuart Airey launch an onslaught that kept the board moving, Onyon hitting two sixes before being out for 38 in the final over and Airey signing off with a six and a four as the innings ended on 162 for seven.

Onyon then fired in a devastating first over that brought him two wickets and from here, Nettleham were always behind the game. Onyon’s third over brought another wicket with the score on 22 and when Rob Cook was bowled for 31, Nettleham were 54 for five.

This quickly became 54 for six and despite a fight back from the lower order, the final wicket fell on 89, Onyon taking four for 11 off his four overs and Brett Houston three for 17.

The teams came out for the final with Boston again having won the toss and put their highly flying opponents in to bat. But once Mark Fell was caught by Timby off Colin Cheer with the score on 34, Brett Houston and Jason Scheepers put the bowlers under pressure, sharing a partnership of 88 off the next 11 overs.

Timby had Houston caught by Baxter for 36 but Paul Cook joined Scheepers to add 51 off the next four overs.

Scott Elleray returned to bowl the final over and with his first ball bowled Scheepers for 96, which came off just 52 balls with 11 fours and three sixes. Onyon was also out in this over and at the close, Bracebridge had set Boston a sizeable target of 179 for four.

This time is Stuart Airey who struck early for Bracebridge, having Jonathan Cheer stumped with 13 on the board and Onyon’s second over brought the wicket of Baxter. Josh Newton was next to go, bowled Onyon with 31 on the board but Timby and Robert Grant dug in and after 11 overs, Boston were 83 for three, on a par with their opponents’ score at this stage.

However, from here, it was downhill all the way as Matt Bradley claimed the wicket of Timby for 30 and with 10 runs added, Grant also fell to Bradley for 26.

Mark Fell then joined the attack and his first two balls brought two wickets, reducing Boston to 93 for seven. Two run outs made it 99 for nine and despite a spirited rear guard action by Elleray and Paul Deans, Boston were all out for 126 with an over to spare.

Scheepers innings, together with three dismissals behind the stumps, saw him named Man of the Match – the second year in succession he has won this award, having helped Messingham to victory in last year’s Winkworth Cup before moving to his present club.

Bracebridge Heath will meet cup winners from the Airedale & Wharfedale League, the South Yorkshire League and the Bradford League in the Regional Final at Skegness CC on August 22.