Bournemouth and Heaton Mersey through to Portman U15 finals day
Bournemouth edged out holders Bath in a thrilling finale to their Regional Final to reach the National Finals of the Portman Building Society U15 National Club Championship on their home patch later this month.
The two sides came through to a showdown at the South West Regional Finals day, at Bath CC, having seen off the challenge of fellow qualifiers Cheltenham and Sandford.
Batting first, Bournemouth scored steadily to post a useful 120 for seven from their 20 overs, although the Bath attack bowled well in a very competitive contest in front of some passionate support for both side.
Indebted to a superb 89 not out from Horsley, Bath kept on the pace, and brought the match to a fitting climax, needing nine off the last three balls.
A single and a last boundary from Horsley brought them close – but the four required off the last ball proved a big hit too many, and the Bournemouth players were left to celebrate an appearance in the National Finals at their Bournemouth Sports Club home on August 17.
In the day’s semi-finals, Bournemouth had coasted to a nine-wicket win over Sandford from Devon, passing their 78 all out (Tom Barker 4-12) for the loss of one wicket.
Bath had recovered from two early run-outs and 50 for six to make 108 for nine, Horsley making 50, and then dismiss Cheltenham for 81 (Robinson 4-11); although it ultimately proved in vain.
At the Northern Regional Finals at York, Heaton Mersey came through after a final victory over Radcliffe-on-Trent.
In the semi-finals, Netherfield from Cumbria batted first against the eventual winners, and had only made 44 when they were all out in 17 overs. Heaton Mersey reached that target easily in just seven overs - with no wickets lost by the Cheshire side.
The other semi-final featured Ashington from Northumberland, who have previously seen England spearhead Steve Harmison and his brothers playing for them at U15 level. The 2005 side batted first against Radcliffe and in another low-scoring game reached 71 for seven in their 20 overs.
Radcliffe got their 73 in 12 overs with no wickets down. Daniel Mason scored 39 and Frank Brown 25
The final saw more runs on the board. Radcliffe went the full 20 overs and were 125 for five at the close. Frank Brown top-scored on 62 before being bowled by Heaton Mersey captain Mark Bennett (2-18).
Heaton lost no wickets again in their reply - Bennett not out one short of a fine half century and James Williamson unbeaten on 64 - and reached 126 in the 16th over.
The last two regional finals take place at Moseley on August 8 and Horsham the following day.