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Feversham Cricket League: Slingsby win top-four play-off final
8:00am Wednesday 4th September 2013 in Sport
THE Feversham Cricket League season ended in thrilling fashion with Slingsby winning the top-four play-off final by only two runs.
Played at Duncombe Park CC’s ground, Slingsby took on Spout House in a high-scoring, topsy-turvy encounter.
After being put into bat, Slingsby opener Richard Reynolds was bowled by Mike Cook’s first ball of the second over without troubling the scorers.
However, Slingsby’s Nick Schofield looked in good form, and with Tom Harrison as his partner the duo pushed the score along quickly to 40 before Harrison was bowled by Tom Garbutt (1-24) for 13.
Ben Corner decided to chance his arm and it almost paid dividends, but after making a swift 16 and riding his luck somewhat, he was well caught by Garbutt off the bowling of Cook.
Then, much to everyone’s astonishment, Schofield, who had contributed a worthy 35 which included three sixes, completely out of character spooned the ball to a grateful Dan Smith at square leg, again off the bowling of Cook (3-34).
At 68-4 Slingsby’s position was far from healthy and Andy Frank and Frazer Land, ignoring the 11 stitches in his head from a clash of heads playing rugby the previous day, proceeded cautiously.
Gradually, their confidence increased, which coincided with a deterioration in the Spout House bowling.
Frank’s innings blossomed to such an extent that he scored the majority of the 46 runs which Slingsby accumulated in the last four overs.
At the conclusion of the mandatory 24 overs, Frank, a brilliant 64 not out, and Land, a vital supportive 26 not out, had put on an undefeated 98 runs for the fifth wicket as Slingsby closed on 166-4.
Few of the spectators in the ground gave Spout House much of a chance of overhauling this impressive total, especiallyy when they lost opener Dan Medd, bowled by Corner (1-27), with the score on 10.
To the astonishment of many, there then followed an amazing second wicket partnership of 136 between Charlie Allott and Paul Donaldson. Ten-man Slingsby tried to find an answer to the big hitting Allott and the more obdurate Donaldson, but to no avail as Spout House made a stirring fightback.
Slingsby eventually removed Donaldson for 46, bowled by Land, but with James Allison joining Allott at the crease Spout House managed to maintain their momentum.
With three overs to go they needed 19 needed to win; and then 12 to win off the last 12 balls. With Land bowling the final over for Slingsby, Spout House needed eight to win and it followed much the same pattern of the match.
The first ball was a wide, the second Allott hit for two, the third went for a single. Allison missed the fourth, but notched a single off the fifth only for Land to bowl Allott (76) with his sixth delivery.
That brought Barry Wheldon to the crease for the final ball of the match, with only two runs needed for victory on account of the number of wickets lost.
However, there was still a sting in the tail as Land, one of the heroes with the bat for Slingsby, bowling Wheldon too to finish with figures of 3-37.
A great ending to a great match much enjoyed by everyone.
At the presentations which followed, the league chairman, David Westhead, introduced the league president, Sir Richard Beckett, who presented the League and Supplementary Cup trophies to Gillamoor, the batting and bowling trophies to Mark Haines (Gillamoor) and Adam Durrant (Gillamoor) respectively, and Top Four play-off final trophy to the Slingsby captain, Ben Corner. The man of the match award, chosen by umpires Ian Oliver and David Mead, went to Fraser Land.
In the league, 30 matches were scheduled, 26 were played to a conclusion, two were abandoned during play, one was abandoned without a ball being being bowled and could not be rescheduled, and only one was conceded.
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