Monday 3 December 2007 

ECB Cockspur Cup 2007: Quarter & Semi-Finals

Semi Finals

Kibworth (199 for 9) beat Chester-le-Street (142 all out) by 57 runs

2004 Cockspur Cup champions Kibworth are through to the final again after seeing off the challenge of Chester-le-Street in the semis - and will face either St Just or Bromley at Lord's next month.

The Leicestershire side won the toss and elected to bat first on their own patch. However before the match could start the heavens opened and there was a torrential downpour that left the outfield under water – the Kibworth members had moved with alacrity to cover the pitch and immediate square.

After an inspection it was decided to delay the start until two o’clock to allow the drainage on this new ground to work wonders. Play started with no sign of water anywhere – a tribute to the investment two years ago by the club when building their new purpose built ground, a truly excellent facility with two outstanding pitches and a large pavilion.

Kibworth started well with John Hanger (54) and Suni Patel (61) adding 121 for the first wicket in 23 overs. A total of 250-plus looked well within the grasp of the home side but the Chester-le-Street field setting was shrewd throughout and the ground fielding was superb with fielders hunting in pairs.

The bowlers started to bowl a better line and the efforts of the fielding side began to reap the rewards they deserved. A brake was put on the scoring and wickets started to fall at regular intervals and Kibworth never broke the stranglehold eventually closing on 199 for nine.

Chester-le-Street lost Quentin Hughes, their prolific opener, for a duck to the delight of the home supporters in the large crowd of around 1,000. W Ritzema (34) and J Coxon (69) set about repairing the early damage and at 58 for one Chester-le-Street looked to be cruising towards victory.

Ritzema was then lbw to Broughton and a second quick wicket put the batting side under pressure. 91 for three then quickly became 100 for six and the visitors' hopes by now were firmly on the shoulders of Coxon. Once he was eighth out spooning a catch back to Spiers the writing was on the wall and Josh Cobb (3-15) quickly wrapped up the match amidst great scenes of celebration.

Bromley (237 for 7) beat St Just (145 all out) by 92 runs

Leo Taylor cracked a century to help Bromley to their second Cockspur Cup final in succession as they won by six wickets at St Just to set up a meeting with Kibworth at Lord's.

Considering the horrendous weather encountered throughout the season it comes as a major surprise that the second semi-final in this year's competition was played on Sunday August 19, only a week behind schedule. Kibworth, the 2004 Champions from Leicestershire, were already waiting to see who their opponents on Tuesday September 11 would prove to be.

This semi was a rematch of the game played at the same stage as last year except the venue was reversed. Bromley, after playing at St Lawrence & Highland Court in Canterbury on the Saturday, made the long journey down to Cornwall. They stopped off at Plymouth overnight and made the last leg of the journey on Sunday morning.

They were relieved to find that although cold and cloudy the weather was not going to intervene and force a postponement of the match as St Just had suffered last year when they had to travel to Bromley two weeks running.

Bromley won the toss and invited the home side to bat first. Ruel Braithwaite was due to open the bowling but after two aborted run-ups he left the field to see the physio and Tom Mees took over the honour of bowling the first ball with devastating effect, immediately taking a wicket as David Roberts smashed a long hop straight to extra cover.

St Just continued to struggle and after 17 overs were 32 for four and had only reached 40 for four after 20, largely thanks to tight opening spells by Michael Bluett (9-1-17-2) and Tom Mees (9-4-18-1). The Cornish side repaired the damage quite well thanks to 54 from Kieran Barnett supported by a patient 45 from keeper Gavin Edwards and their innings eventually closed on 190 for nine as captain Gareth May (25 not out) and Mark George (16) gave the hosts something to bowl at.

In reply, St Just struck early as Nadeem Shahid was dismissed for 12 but Bromley, led by Taylor, got off to a flying start in comparison to their host's innings. After 15 overs they were 62 for 1.

Grant Sheen was bowled in the 20th over with the score 80 for two by which time Taylor had reached his 50. After 30 overs this had become 143 for two and the game was Bromley's to lose.

Despite losing Taylor after he completed an excellent century, his first of the season – easily surpassing his previous best of 67 - and Nicholas Bluett who was bowled for a duck the visitors eased past their target in the 42nd over winning by six wickets. The experienced Alan Wells was undefeated on 46.

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