Wanstead and Yateley into finals

Ecb U15 National Club Championship

Wanstead and Yateley joined Aston Rowant in the Finals of the NatWest U15 National Club after the regional finals at Horsham CC and Weston-super-Mare CC.

A gloriously sunny day at Horsham on August 3 was the perfect setting for this year’s South East Regional Final. With the familiar faces of Blackheath, the 2008 Champions, and perennial Regional Finalists Wanstead appearing there were the newcomers from Finchampstead and Old Whigiftians (Surrey).

Finchampstead played Wanstead on the main pitch and batted first. Their score of 124 for eight looked a par score until the Wanstead batsmen set about their task. The Wanstead side what a formidable unit they are as they raced to 125 for two in 14.5 overs to book an early lunch.

The match on the Dr John Dew Ground followed a completely different script as it proved to be the longest game at a Regional Final in living memory as Blackheath showed no urgency when batting and then took over 90 minutes to bowl their overs. With numerous captains on the pitch field changes were the order of the day and a total lack of urgency in the field made this a very drawn out match. Blackheath batted first and with Mitu Ahmed (50) and Shaykul Hoque (42) leading the way scored 161 for six.

Old Whitgiftians were never in the hunt and their innings closed on 103 for six with Blackheath winning by 58 runs.

In the Regional Final, Wanstead scored a massive 188 for five with both openers R Hassan and I Dar scoring fifties. Although Blackheath batted well they were never able to keep up with the rate and they reached 141 for eight at the end of their 20 overs.

In the Third Place Play-off Old Whitgiftians scored 134-6 as they batted first. Finchampstead took only 15.3 overs to pass this total for the loss of only three wickets.

The weather in York for the Regional Final the day after was very poor and only a limited amount of cricket was possible. The match between Heaton (Lancashire) and Notts Unity Casuals on the Clifton Alliance CC ground was washed out after 12 overs play. The match on the main York CC ground was also severely interrupted but the teams were able to complete this match late in the day.

Grange CC had travelled all the way down from Edinburgh and at least they managed to get a full game in. The Scottish side batted first and never got on top of the host club’s bowling and their innings closed on 101 for nine. In reply York passed this total in only 14.3 overs with seven wickets in hand.

York now await the winners of the Heaton – Notts Unity Casuals tie to play for the place at the National Finals Day at Kibworth.

Arrangements are being put in place to play the outstanding matches on Wednesday August 11. The semi-final will start at 11am with the winners of that match facing York in the afternoon.

In direct contrast to the previous day the Regional Final at Weston-super-Mare on August 5 ran perfectly to schedule. Last year this event had been blighted by the heaviest rainfall on record at this time of year in the town but this Thursday brought sunny spells with a strong coastal breeze which guaranteed a full day’s play.

The first match on the main pitch saw Budleigh Salterton from Devon take on Bournemouth, who were the National Champions in 2005. The Devon side batted first and made steady progress to a respectable total of 120 for eight.

In reply Bournemouth got off to the worst possible start as they slipped to 36 for five, but then they embarked upon a remarkable recovery that very nearly saw them home. The eighth wicket pair reached the last ball needing four to win by virtue of losing fewer wickets but the fielding side held their nerve and kept Bournemouth down to just two runs. Budleigh Salterton then just made it to the Regional Final.

The other semi in contrast was all over fairly quickly. Yateley, from Hampshire, batted first and St Fagans felt they had done the hard work when the innings closed in the 18th over. Charlie Harris had scored and accomplished 54 (retired) but after that only Jacob Vincent (10) got into double figures with Yateley scoring only 92 on the small ground.

Pick of the Welsh side’s bowlers were Will Antoni (3-19) and Gareth Lennon (3-26). However when St Fagans batted Charlie Harris took two quick wickets and then Ben Tucker (4-6) turned the innings on its head as Yateley bowled their opposition out for only 55.

In the Final, Budleigh Salterton batted first and were restricted by the strong Yateley attack to only 106 for six. Top scorer was skipper Elliot Rice (26) but his side were never able to increase their run rate as the innings progressed. Miles Covers (3-14) and Oliver Dodd (3-9) were the pick of the bowlers.

As a result this total was never going to be enough to challenge the Hampshire side as they eased to a win by nine wickets with three overs to spare.

In the Third Place Play-off St Fagans ran up an impressive 166 for five with the top four scoring 26 or more. Bournemouth chased hard and ended up on 148 for six. Antoni had another good game for St Fagans as he scored 26 and then took 4-24.

Yateley will now play in the National Finals at Kibworth two years after the same players finished as runners-up in the U13 National Club Championship Finals Festival at Oakham School.