Aston Rowant edge through
The Regional Final at Leamington saw the first occasion where a club has reached the last 16 of the National Club Championship and then conceded, before a thrilling conclusion to the day's events.
Vauxhall Mallards CC from Norfolk could not raise a side to compete at Leamington leaving Aston Rowant with a clear path to the NatWest U15 Regional Final.
In the remaining semi-final Kibworth took on Shrewsbury, batted first and got off to a great start with Abid Ali scoring 50 in the first seven overs - retiring with the score on 69. His opening partner Charles Hurley scored an accomplished 35.
The rest of the Kibworth batting failed to keep up with the run rate set but the innings still closed on an impressive 155 for eight. In reply Shrewsbury were always struggling as wickets fell regularly and were hustled out in 17 overs for 103. Pick of the Kibworth bowlers were Bhavik Patel (3-8) and Oliver Cornish (3-18).
In the afternoon Aston Rowant, having beaten Leamington by fewer wickets in a morning friendly, took on Kibworth in the Regional Final for a place on Finals Day at Kibworth.
Aston Rowant won the toss and batted first – a new experience for Kibworth as they had set a target to chase in all their previous matches. Aston Rowant batted well and put together a challenging total of 152 for seven with D Matthews top scoring with 48. Kibworth lost an early wicket as Charles Hurley fell for eight.
Abid Ali was more subdued than in the morning as the Aston Rowant bowlers made sure they didn’t let him free up his arms too often. Abid was eventually out for 47 and at 95 for five Kibworth looked to be in trouble. The lower middle order then set up a grandstand finish. Laurence Joel (22), Harry Miller (12) and Curtis Harding (12 not out) got them within touching distance of glory with seven needed off the last two balls of the match.
The first ball was guided down to fine leg for four which brought the crowd to their feet as the tension became unbearable. The last ball was missed and went through to the wicketkeeper. The non-striker set off for a run and as he was so close to the batsman’s end the wicket-keeper decided on a footrace to the bowler’s end. The striker made his ground and stayed safe as the keeper broke the wicket – by this time the Kibworth non-striker was well on the way for the second run.
As soon as the wicket was broken the striker hared off down to the other end and completed a second run as the Ashton Rowant fielders held a conference to see what to do next – by the time they realised that they needed to take the stump out of the ground both batsmen were safely home.
However the Kibworth batsmen were not aware that they were still losing the match as they had lost eight wickets to Aston Rowant’s seven.