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Golden Graham gleams in Cardiff

ECB National Club T20
John Graham

South Northumberland captain John Graham hits out during his entertaining fifty

Click here to watch an interview on ECBtv with winning captain John Graham

John Graham put in a captain's performance to lead South Northumberland to glory after a 54-run win in the final of the Cockspur Club Twenty 20.

Under the floodlights at Cardiff's impressive SWALEC Stadium, Graham proved irresistable with bat and ball to brush Stanmore aside.

After rescuing his side with a fighting half-century where he timed him acceleration to perfection, Graham took three wickets and a catch before lifting the trophy.

There were other heroes wearing red shirts, including off-spinner Lee Crozier and the pace duo of Stephen Humble and Craig Smith, but it was Graham who stole the show.

After winning the toss and electing to bat first, Graham's side were watchful during the first half of their innings which contrasted sharply with their demolition of Bracebridge in the semi-final.

Brendan Ford failed to repeat his sparkling form from that game and was smartly stumped by William Hanson.

Hanson's glovework was mightily impressive and another stumping, this time to dismiss Adam Heather for a rapid 30, put Stanmore in the ascendency as their spinners squeezed the South Northumberland innings.

Graham breathed some life into his side but it looked as through he had left his charge too late.

A six over extra-cover off Dipesh Jadav in the 16th over was a much needed statement ot intent and took South Northumberland past the 100-mark.

He replicated that shot two overs later, this one landing just in front of the rope, and a further boundary off the next ball, swept powerfully past square leg, propelled his side to 130 for four with two overs remaining.

He reached his fifty, off 40 deliveries, in the next over with a lofted drive over extra-cover.

He eventually perished in the search for late runs, holing out off Nick Goh, as South Northumberland lost their way a little.

Having seen Stanmore's batsmen launch a succession of booming drives in their previous outing, Graham instructed his bowlers to aim just short of a length.

Stephen Humble made an early breakthrough when he trapped Omar Anwar lbw with just nine runs on the board, although the batsman can feel a little aggrieved as replays indicated a thick edge prior to the ball striking his pad.

South Northumberland struck a massive blow in the next over by dismissing Goh. Having struggled with Craig Smith's pace, the opener flayed a drive straight to James Miller on the cover boundary.

Stanmore

Stanmore celebrate after William Hanson stumped Adam Heather but South Northumberland won out

The lively Smith, who conceded just four runs from three overs, should have had a second wicket but Chris Hewson failed to hold an edge off Zawar Hussain which flew to slip.

Stanmore were soon 32 for three in the eighth over when Niaz Ahmed attempted an ugly heave off Crozier and was bowled.

Hussain showed him how to do it two overs later, hoisting the off-spinner over midwicket for a much needed maximum as they reached 51 for three at the halfway stage.

The counter-attack did not last long as Hussain, on 27, charged down the wicket to Crozier and mistimed a drive straight to Graham.

Crozier, who controlled his inviting off-breaks beautifully, picked up his third victim when he fired in a flatter delivery to york Marc Reingold.

Graham brought himself on to good effect, taking a wicket with his second ball when Niraj Jadav played on attempting a delicate sweep.

The game was as good as over in the 16th over when first Miller ran out Alistair Fraser with a superb dirct hit from point, then next ball Humble pinned Shalim Amin lbw for a golden duck.

It was appropriately left to Graham to finish the game off, picking up two wickets to bowl Stanmore out for 88 and spark champagne fuelled celebrations.