Monday 3 December 2007 

ECB Cockspur Cup 2007: Round 2

The scheduled date for this year’s 2nd Round saw horrendous weather throughout the country with only 5 matches out of 128 being played to a conclusion on the scheduled date, Sunday 13th May. Five other matches were decided by bowl-outs. This meant a logistical nightmare for all involved as the remaining fixtures were rearranged for either Sunday 20th May or for midweek dates.

Seamers love April showers, but these were in May! May Bank Holidays were accompanied with the deadly rattle of wickets falling aplenty during the Cockspur Cups second round, eventually completed this week.

The inclement weather most of the UK had suffered over the past fortnight also led to a great deal of abandoned games, abandoned rematches and strongly worded letters to League Secretaries. The direct result of which was a record number of personal vendettas issued as the result of recreational activity and also a record number of games decided by the toss of a coin, over the phone. How civil we British can be.

Generally regarded as favourites for the competition, all of last seasons semi-finalists made it through the 2nd round. Those matches and a speight of other highlights - close finishes, precocious performances from the new breed and some dazzling displays from the old guard can be found in the following round up:

County outgrounds in Kent provided two of the closest finishes on the day with Hastings, scoring 196-8 at The Nevill against Tunbridge Wells with 86 from Bradley Smith,. The hosts appeared to be coasting to victory at 174-4 but two wickets in an over added some pressure and with two more wickets falling quickly the final over came with 11 still needed.

Another wicket on the penultimate ball left Nigel Kees needing to hit a six off the final ball to win the match but despite his best efforts he only managed a four so Hastings won by one run.

At The Mote in Maidstone, a similarly tense game saw Howard Waters score 74 as the hosts totalled 186-6. Whitstable looked dead and buried at 140-9 but a valiant last wicket stand between Stuart Hollinsbee (20*) and Duncan Hardy (33*) just failed to reach the target as they fell just two runs short.

The closest finish came at Falkland where the home side scored 239-8. Chris Wheeler with an unbeaten 62 led the Hursley Park charge and with the scores level, but with nine wickets down, the last ball produced a run out leaving Falkland the winners by virtue of losing fewer wickets.

Another close finish saw Taunton travel to Ilminster and score 222-9 with Jack Cooper scoring 69 not out. The hosts, led by Jon Dalwood with 59, fell an agonising two runs short of producing a shock win with their last pair at the crease.

The best all-round performance in the second round came from Matthew Lineker of Alfreton. Visitors Doncaster batted first and as their openers added 116 there was little hint of the drama to follow. Doncaster continued to flourish and reached 167-3 when the whole complexion of the game changed. Matthew Lineker’s eight overs produced a return of 7-32, the best bowling of the round as Doncaster crumbled to 217 all out.

Group 1

Guisborough 86 for 8 lost to South Northumberland 133 for 5

Last year’s winners South Northumberland started the defence of their title with a midweek 20 overs game match at Guisborough. South North batted first and rattled up 133-5 and then restricted their hosts to 86-8 in reply thus ensuring an easy passage into the 3rd Round. Other winners in Group 1 were Grange, Clydesdale, Poloc, Forfarshire, Sunderland and Benwell Hill. The tie between Middlesbrough and Chester-le-Street is still to be decided.

Poloc 151 all out beat Uddingston 116 all out by 35 runs

Ferguslie 157 all out lost to Grange 159 for 1 by 9 wickets
J. S. Gray (Ferguslie) 9-2-16-5

Sunderland 98 for 5 beat Great Ayton 95 all out by 5 wickets

Group 2

Caythorpe 165 for 5 beat Elsecar 162 all out by 5 wickets

Caythorpe, beaten semi-finalists in each of the last two years, started their campaign with a home tie against Elsecar. Elsecar batted first and were restricted to 162 – their final wicket falling on the last ball of the innings. Matt Thewlis top scored with 58 whilst Tom Hemmings took 3-15 from his eight overs. In reply Caythorpe had a shaky start losing two quick wickets but a partnership of 75 between Russell Warren (49) and Josh Mierkalns (62*) steadied the ship and Caythorpe won by 5 wickets with 3 overs to spare.

Chesterfield 149 all out lost to Barnsley 177 for 8 by 28 runs

Barnsley visited Chesterfield and scored 177-8. Andy Carrington then produced a hostile spell of opening bowling to return figures of 6-36 as Chesterfield were dismissed for 149. Sheffield Collegiate were surprisingly dismissed for only 88 at Papplewick & Linby with the hosts running out winners by 6 wickets. In this Group Easingwold, Rotherham Town and Ockbrook & Borrowash won bowl-outs whilst Driffield Town progressed on the toss of a coin against luckless Golcar.

Papplewick & Linby 89 for 4 beat Sheffield Collegiate 88 all out by 6 wickets

Group 3
Methley 228 for 9 beat Loughborough Town 123 all out by 105 runs

Methley dealt their Premier League opposition a crushing victory on Sunday in what should have been a tighter fixture. Despite a promising bowling display from young buck Nick Buck - the 16 year old surprised the Yorkshiremen with his pace and snaffled himself a well earned four-for (9-1-27-4) - an imposing target of 229 was set.

Methley started well with a solid 53 from local taxidermist J. Proud before Buck put the cat amongst the pigeons. The crowd were treated to an exciting last wicket stand of 53 from 49 balls from R. Ross and Michael Waite, whose left arm twisters bamboozled the Loughborough middle order, finishing with the impressive figures of 9-2-27-4 and the Man of the Match award.

Kirkburton 119 for 9 lost to York 122 for 3 by 7 wickets (reduced to 20 over per side)

Cricket was the winner here as this tie, one of so many re-arranged games reduced to the Twenty20 format, was decided by an energetic and exciting game of cricket.

As ever in the shortened version of the game one individual performance can be the difference between the sides. In this case this difference was Stephen Piercy of York - conceding only 15 runs from his 4 overs the local jazz percussionist Piercy went on to smash 60 at the top of the order more or less guaranteeing victory for his side.

Alfreton 218 for 5 beat Doncaster Town 217 all out by 5 wickets

Doncaster Town started well at Alfreton with a 116 run opening partnership but then succumbed to 217 all out as Matthew Lineker took 7-32 off 8 overs. In reply Alfreton lost a wicket without a run on the board then followed a century partnership between Nishant Makwena (31) and Alex Mace (56). Two more ducks brought the score to 108-5 but that was the end of the Doncaster successes as John Aspinall (52*) and Matthew Lineker (58*) guided Alfreton home with 5 overs to spare.

West Indian Cavaliers 247 for 7 beat Treeton 187 for 8 by 60 runs

Sheffield United 124 all out lost to Clifton Village 128 for 4 by 6 wickets

Harrogate 179 for 4 beat Grimsby 178 for 9 by 6 wickets

Group 4

Clitheroe beat Ribblesdale Wanderers on the toss of a coin

Lytham 141 for 4 beat Preston 139 for 7 by 6 wickets

Netherfield 136 all out lost to Kendal by 3 runs