Mansfield march on

Ecb U15 National Club Championship

Portman U15 National Club Championship

North Regional Final
York Cricket Club
Wednesday August 8 2007

Qualifying teams:

Mansfield Hosiery Mills (Nottinghamshire)
Penrith (Cumbria)
Northwich (Cheshire)
Blaydon (Northumberland)

In welcome sunshine York Cricket Club, in partnership with Clifton Alliance Cricket Club, once again hosted this year’s North Regional Final.

Against recent tradition the home county was not represented although a healthy crowd attended what proved to be a thrilling tournament.

SF1: Mansfield Hosiery Mills (115-4) beat Penrith (115-7) by losing fewer wickets

Mansfield started strongly against the champions of Cumbria. With an opening stand of 79 between MHMCC captain G. Curtis (50 ret.) and M. Smallwood (23) backed up well by A. Dobb (51 ret.) the champions of Nottinghamshire posted the competitive total of 115 for four.

In reply, Penrith built solidly towards their target although the consistent loss of wickets, particularly from man of the match G. Curtis (2-12), threatened their progress.

A fine innings from J. Osborne (51 ret.) and a swashbuckling 35 from A. Atkinson took Penrith to 115 for five with an over to go – enter Lewis Crouncher.

His first over, the last of the match went as follows – W . . . . W! A double wicket maiden in the final over of the game to win the match. Mansfield Hosiery Mills lived to fight another day…well, another afternoon.

SF2: Northwich (129-2) beat Blaydon (96 all out) by 33 runs

In the quaint surrounds of Clifton Alliance CC, Blaydon and Northwich battled it out for the second final spot. Batting first Northwich played sensibly losing only two wickets in scoring 129: captain C Yearsley (50 ret.) and wicket keeper J. Hodgekinson (39) the pick of the batsmen.

Northwich’s bowling was always too strong for Blaydon and despite R. Nicholson’s 38 they failed to breach a hundred, finishing at 96 all out.

The pick of the bowlers were S. Plant with 4-0-22-4, captain and man of the match C. Yearsley 2-0-9-3 and R. Hart with 4-1-9-2.

3rd place playoff: Penrith (142-4) beat Blaydon (133-5) by nine runs

As usual befits the third place playoff, the players and spectators relaxed and enjoyed their cricket more than in any other game on the day.

Much can be said for the spirit in which this game was played, typified by Blaydon and Penrith parents and supporters returning together from Clifton Alliance CC rather late for the presentations at York CC with smiles on their faces and drinks in their hands!

Final: Northwich (154-3) lost to Mansfield Hosiery Mills (155-3) by seven wickets

The winning margin does not in any way tell of the spectacularly tight fixture. More excellent batting from Yearsley (50 ret.) and Hodgekinson (39) allowed their teammates to throw the bat in the last few overs to compile the daunting total of 154-3.

Even with the fast outfield, the playing surface didn’t seem to hold 155 runs against an attack which destroyed Blaydon for less than a hundred just that morning.

Nottinghamshire heads were down even further after losing a wicket in the first over, a spectacular catch from the wicketkeeper from another fearsome opening bowler.

Mansfield didn’t panic and sensible batting from Curtis (47) and Smallwood (44) restored order and settled nerves. They reached the halfway point, 77 runs, after 11 overs with nine wickets in hand.

The balance of this match swung wildly - misfields, turned down appeals and overthrows became more common as a certain inexperience showed. It was the batsmen held their nerve with Curtis and Dobb (37) taking them to within four runs in the final over.

This was accomplished with an on drive for four with three balls to spare. The Mansfield Hosiery Mills boys seem to enjoy the thrill of a tight finish - their supporters will be requiring doctors’notes to allow them the trip to Bournemouth for the National Finals!