Monday 3 December 2007 

ECB Cockspur Cup 2007: Round 4

The long-awaited appearance of the sun in the 2007 Cockspur Cup brought with it a big shock as Birmingham Premier Champions Walsall were soundly beaten by Midland opponents Dunstall in a convincing eight wicket victory.

By the end of the first over, things were not looking promising for the visitors Walsall who were reduced to 0-3 by opening bowler, the ex-Northampstonshhire youngster Craig Jennings. Extras top scored with 17 as Walsall were shot out for just 77, finding the Dunstall attack, which included former England pace bowler Devon Malcolm, too much to handle.

Totton & Eling, who under their previous name of BAT Sports were National Indoor Champions in 2006, proved far too strong for Bournemouth as they bowled their opponents out for 90 to ease to a 125 run win.

Caythorpe, semi-finalists in the last two years, won a low scoring game at Ockbrook & Borrowash by five wickets. Ockbrook won the toss and seized the advantage by batting first but were disappointed to be dismissed for only 113 giving Caythorpe an easy win with ten overs to spare.

Bamford Fieldhouse, group winners in 2006, won on the last ball at Prestwich. Having scored 187 all out with Jerry Cassells top scoring with 68, Bamford found themselves looking down the barrel on the last ball with their hosts on 186-8.

With one run required for victory, by virtue of losing fewer wickets, the ball went through to the wicket-keeper who took the bails off and threw it to the other end as the batsmen ran to complete a last-ball run out.

The Fourth Round (Group Semi-Finals) will be played on Sunday 17th June with one exception. The tie between The Mote and Hastings will be played a week later to avoid a clash with The Mote’s 150th Anniversary Match against Cobham, their opponents in that inaugural fixture as well.

In this round South Northumberland have a home tie against Chester-le-Street. In Group 2 Caythorpe visit Barnsley in one of the ties of the round. Another fixture of note sees Kibworth (2004 winners) host Barnt Green (2005 Runners-up). St Just will be looking to progress against Grampound Road and Bromley will be fancying their chances at Lordswood.

Other ties of interest are at Havant (v Andover) and Slough where Henley are the visitors. Cambridge Granta will be hoping that Jacques du Toit continues his phenomenal form against Southgate whilst the top tie in the South East sees Teddington hosting fierce rivals Ealing.

Last year's Cockspur Cup champions South Northumberland were edged out of the 2007 competition by rivals Chester-Le-Street after a closely fought contest in Gosforth which ended in a seven run defeat.

After South North won the toss and put the visitors into bat, Tim Stonock top scored with 52 as Chester-le-Street made steady progress and posted a total of 179-9 in their 45 overs.

In reply, South North lost Lee Crozier for a duck but John Graham (66) played the sheet anchor role with aplomb and at 120-2, South North looked to be in the driving seat but the loss of three quick wickets soon put the game back in the balance at 129-5.

Steve Humble then joined Graham and helped steady the ship but when Graham was dismissed with the score 163-6, the run chase quickly subsided with South North finishing on 172-9, which was seven runs short of the target.

Chester-le-Street will now host Poloc who thrashed Grange by 216 runs in the Scottish Area Final. Poloc scored a daunting 326-3 with opener Keith Sheridan run out for 99 and Zulf Shahiq scoring 109. Grange were dismissed for 110 with Mohsin Ali taking 4-11.

After the major problems caused by the weather in the second and third rounds, where only 10 out of 192 matches were played on schedule, more interruptions were anticipated in the fourth round since many parts of the country were experiencing torrential rain and serious flooding but by the end of the weekend, 26 out of the 32 ties had been completed on schedule.

Group 2 saw two tense finishes. Easingwold were dismissed for 139 and hosts Kimberley Institute emerged winners by three wickets. Caythorpe, losing semi-finalists for the last two years, visited Barnsley and scored 170-9. Their total was restricted by Simon Widdup who took 6-28. Barnsley fell 10 short in their reply being dismissed for 160 with four balls remaining.

In Group 3, Cockspur Cup debutants Clifton Village from the Notts Premier League were impressed with the way in which their young team took to this knockout competition. In their latest outing they visited Alfreton and ran up an impressive 251-9 with Richard Harris (68) and Daniel Footitt (58) to the fore, Matthew Lineker taking 4-36 for the hosts. In reply Alfreton were shot out for 154 giving Clifton a resounding win by 97 runs. They are now looking forward to hosting either West Indian Cavaliers or York, who play next week, in the Group Final.