A rare summer’s day that was blessed with no rain saw Finedon Dolben Cricket Club retain the U11 County Cup for the third year running. The Finals Day was held at Cropredy Cricket Club for the first time since 2004, and they reminded all that were present, what excellent hosts and facilities they provide.
In the first semi-final, eventual county champions Finedon - representing the Higham & District Cricket League were drawn against South Northants Junior Cricket League champions Westbury.
Finedon skipper Jonathan Clarke won the toss and elected to bat first. The first three pairs accumulated their runs sensibly and methodically; the score 244 with 4 overs remaining.
A more aggressive final partnership between William Webb and Matty Wills yielded 23 runs – the former being particularly dominant striking 2 boundaries in his 13, leaving the final score on an above average 267 - considering the slightly slow early morning outfield.
Westbury captain Trajan Halvorsen was the pick of the bowlers claiming 2-13 off his allotted 3 overs. Miles Shaw, Frank Barlow and Lawrence Brody were the other wicket takers.
Westbury’s reply began in positive fashion; Halvorsen found the boundary with regularity in his 14 and with the score on 235 after 7 overs, Westbury seemed destine for the final.
However, Clarke produced a superb over, snaring 3 wickets (equating to -15 runs) which all but ended Westbury’s hopes. A Shivam Mistry double wicket maiden followed, leaving the Westbury final batting pair too much to do.
Westbury finished on 217; Clarke finishing with outstanding figures of 4-13 of his 3 overs. Thomas Swann benefited from some audacious stroke play, also claiming 4 wickets.
The second semi-final saw Old Northamptonians representing the Northampton & District F.G. Watts Risk Solutions League do battle with Corby & District Quality Solicitors Wilson Browne League champions Rushton.
Despite seeing the success of Finedon electing to bat first, Rushton chose to allow Old Northamptonians first use of the wicket. Throughout the innings ON’s ran well between the wickets, whilst also hitting the bad ball to the boundary. All 4 partnerships were extremely profitable; the lowest partnership still amassed 17 runs. The two highest scorers for ON’s were Max Milner with 19 (including 3 fours) and U10 County player Amrit Basra with 15, leaving the total score on 297.
Only 3 wickets fell during the ON’s innings and they fell to Dane Lingley, Connor Budworth, Sam Handy.
Whilst Rushton kept the scoreboard ticking over, they struggled to score at a similar rate. Similarly to the Westbury innings, they were constricted in the middle overs and despite some late hitting from Lingley who made 15, Rushton fell well short on 246.
Basra was the pick of the bowlers with 2-12, whilst Tom Iaciofano proved very difficult to score off; he conceded just 1 run in his 2 overs.
The finalists were a repeat of the 2010 finalists and like the first semi-final, Finedon won the toss and elected to bat first.
Swann ensured that the Finedon innings got off to an excellent; he scored 19 runs in a partnership of 27 with Owen West. Clarke and Elliott Bosworth continued the high rate of scoring, before an excellent spell of 2-8 from Tyler Mills threatened to significantly reduce the Finedon total. However, Webb continued his fine form from the previous game notching 19 runs, taking Finedon to a highly creditable score of 284.
Seeking to win their first U11 Final since 2005, ON’s reply got off to an ideal start in the first 4 overs; Basra and Joel Grayson scoring 21 runs between them, setting a solid platform. Unfortunately the other ON’s batsmen failed to capitalise on this start and wickets fell at regular intervals. Credit must also go to Finedon fielders, with 2 run outs resulting from direct hits and a magnificent diving catch from Swann.
Swann also enjoyed himself when bowling, taking 4-12. Wills claimed 3 wickets, whilst Mistry and Webb both took 2 wickets. ON’s finished on a disappointing 214 – a repeat of their semi-final batting performance may have resulted in a different outcome.
Thanks once again must be shown to all the organisers of the event, Cropredy for their outstanding hosting and umpires on the day: Paul Kirk, Ray Foster and Dennis Faulkner. All involved contributed to a fantastic day, days that have tended to be few and far between this summer!
Captain Jonathan Clarke receives the winners' trophy