Skipper Kennedy powers Bournemouth to Portman U15 crown

Ecb U15 National Club Championship

Portman Finals Day 22

Alex Kennedy receives the trophy from Portman Building Society chief executive Robert Sharpe

Bournemouth skipper Alex Kennedy played two superb captain's innings to help his side to their first Portman Building Society U15 National Club Championship - on their home ground.

The national competition, which this year received a record entry of 1624 clubs, saw its National Finals played at the Bournemouth Sports Ground for the third year running, in the home town of the sponsors' head office.

Alex Kennedy Bournemouth Portman U15

Alex Kennedy lifts the Portman U15 trophy high © Bournemouth Daily Echo

And it was Bournemouth CC's U15s who delighted a large partisan crown to see off the challenge of Swardeston from Norfolk in the semi-finals and 1996 winners Horsham from Sussex in an exciting final.

Opening batsman Kennedy was not shy in leading from the front as he cracked 62 not out in the eight-wicket victory over Swardeston (101-8), and then bettered that with an irresistible 71 not out in the final - allowing him the honour of going up to receive the Portman U15 trophy from England and Hampshire paceman Chris Tremlett.

Horsham had earlier seen off the challenge of Cheshire's Heaton Mersey in their semi, before posting 113 for eight in their 20 overs against Bournemouth.

But while their mean attack looked capable of containing the home side in the early stages, once Kennedy started to let rip it looked all over while the Dorset U15 captain remained at the crease.

Sure enough, with more than two overs remaining, Kennedy cracked another boundary through extra cover and the silverware was Bournemouth's.

Kennedy's knock came off just 46 balls, with 11 fours and the only six of finals day. He received support from Ross Taylor (21) and Chris Ridley (13 not out). Horsham's innings had been built on 26 from opener Matt Machan, with all-rounder Joe Clark chipping in a useful 21.

Also in the Finals Day presentation party were former England skipper Nasser Hussain, Warwickshire's Michael Powell, Hampshire and Australian all-rounder Andy Bichel, Angus Fraser and MJK Smith.

Semi-finals:

Horsham 101-7 (Coleman 36, Clarke 29, Rashid 2-18, Ashcroft 2-14), Heaton Mersey 69 (Bennett 14, Coleman 5-11, Roper 3-12).

Swardeston 101-8 (Bailey 40, Wilson 14, Pearson 14, Barker 3-8, Smith 2-21), Bournemouth 102-2 (Kennedy 62 not out).

Third-place play-off:

Heaton Mersey 126-2 (Rashid 71 not out, Simpson 22 not out, Williamson 15), Swardeston 125-9 (Bailey 30, Shearing 19, Bilham 17, Simpson 4-25, Burke 2-19).

Final:

Horsham 113-8 (Machan 26, Clark 21, Thornely 16, Coleman 16, Goodway 11 not out, Kennedy 2-16, Smith 2-22, Barker 2-18), Bournemouth 114-2 (Kennedy 71 not out, Taylor 21, Ridley 13 not out).

Portman Finals Day 21

Watching the action on Portman finals days