Final four eye Kibworth date

Ecb U15 National Club Championship

There will be new winners of ECB's U15 National Club Championship in 2009 after the four winners of the Regional Finals booked their places at Finals Day at the end of the month.

The teams through to the semi-finals on Thursday August 27 at Kibworth CC have been drawn as follows:

Main pitch: Hastings & St Leonard's Priory v Warrington
Sam Illiffe Ground: Cambridge Granta v Portsmouth & Southsea

With Hastings & St Leonard’s Priory having won the first Regional Final at Horsham, the Regional Finals roadshow moved on to Weston-super-Mare on July 30, where the weather would have the final say.

Despite the sterling efforts of Jon Lawrence, the groundsman - who had worked until 2am getting the pitches ready after 1.5 inches of rain had fallen - the start was delayed on the scheduled day.

In the small hours of the morning there was more torrential rain and a heavy shower at 9.15am, just after the teams had arrived, washed out any play on the main square. That Jon was able to get the back square into a fit condition for play to start at 2:20pm was a minor miracle.

That the pitch then played superbly was great testament to his skill and the work of the sun and a stiff sea-breeze. It was decided that only the semi-finals would be played on the day with matches reduced to 18 overs a side.

The first semi saw North Devon invite Portsmouth & Southsea to bat. Joe Collings-West immediately played a very attacking innings, showing how good the track was, and retired with a splendid 50 to his name. The P&S innings closed on a challenging 123 for three.

North Devon struggled in reply and were only able to reach 79 for eight at the end of their 18 overs.

The second match was a much tighter affair and was a repeat of a game at the same stage of the competition the previous year. South Wilts batted first and scored 97 for five against a very keen St Fagans attack.

In reply the St Fagans side struggled against the excellent South Wilts bowling attack but were helped by half a dozen spilled catches. Fortunately for the fielding side this did not prove to be crucial as St Fagans lost by 15 runs.

The Regional Final between Portsmouth & Southsea and South Wilts was then postponed and played at Totton & Eling CC on August 16, with the former winning by five wickets.

South Wilts totalled 120 for four, with Tom Cowley carrying his bat throughout the 20 overs for 42 not out. He shared a fruitful half-century stand with Jack Mynott (30) but South Wilts struggled to get on top of an accurate P&S attack that was backed up by some excellent fielding.

In reply P&S opener Joe Collings-Wells cracked 50 to provide his side the perfect launch pad. After Joe had to retire on reaching 50 there was a wobble in the Portsmouth & Southsea reply but they eventually got home off the first ball of the final over for the loss of five wickets.

The Leamington regional final on Monday August 3 saw a lovely summer’s day and started and finished on schedule, a blessing after the rain of the previous year there and also during the previous week at Weston.

Cambridge Granta batted first on the main pitch against Banbury, J Hunter-Jordan scoring a half century as his side made 145 for five. Banbury chased hard with all batsmen contributing to the score but the regular fall of wickets ensured that they ended up 12 runs short of the Granta total.

Host club Leamington batted first on the back pitch against Little Stoke and struggled on the smaller ground to 93 for nine. This was never likely to be enough and Little Stoke romped to victory by seven wickets with 3.2 overs to spare.

The afternoon saw Banbury bat first in the third place play-off and they were restricted to 99 for eight by Leamington. The host club then had openers M Best (50ret) and J Wigley (36 not out) take the game away from their opponents in some style. The home crowd was delighted to see Leamington romping to a nine-wicket victory.

Little Stoke batted first in the final and posted 112 for five with G Massingham (30) top scoring as five batsmen scored double figures. A Tandon with 2-13 was the pick of the Granta bowlers.

In a tight finish Granta chased bard but lost wickets at vital stages and a tense finale saw them win by three wickets with three balls to spare.

The York Regional Final on August 5 was won by Warrington, who came through as winners on the day in a competition also featuring Apperknowle, Tynemouth and Studley Royal.