The three Groups in the North West saw some low scoring games due to the recent bad weather producing slow wickets. Lytham shot Eagley out for 78 as they cruised to a seven wicket victory and will now face the winners of the Kendal – Lancaster tie to be played next Sunday.
Bradshaw managed 141-9 at home to Hyde who, thanks to an impressive innings from James Duffy (90*) swept to a 7 wicket victory in only 18.5 overs. Hyde will now meet Ormskirk in the Group 5 Final.
Ormskirk scored only 133 against Bamford Fieldhouse but were indebted to Nick Caunce who took 6-22, including three in four balls, to bowl his side to victory by 30 runs. After their heroics of last year, it took the best bowling of the day to defeat Bamford Fieldhouse.
In Group 6, a clash of the titans is now awaited as Northern will host Bootle in the Group Final. Northern batted first against Whitchurch and were another side to score 141-9. In reply Zaheer Suliman with 50 led the way but lacked support and C Hey’s 4-32 proved decisive as the Shropshire side fell 20 runs short. Bootle had a walk-over as Farnworth Social Circle played a match in the Lancashire Cup.
A tight high scoring match in Group 7 saw Kidderminster Victoria’s bold strategy of playing four spinners bear fruit against a Frocester side boasting a number of ex-Gloucestershire players.
Nick Trainor scored 103 as Frocester closed on 227-8 but they never managed to break the shackles fully. In reply Kidderminster were led by Josh Knappett, from the Worcestershire staff, who scored 103* and Craig Wood (51*) as they cruised to a seven wicket win. Kidderminster will now travel to Banbury who won at Dunstall.
Wolverhampton were bowled out for 147 at home to Himley but then dismissed their visitors for only 77 to win by 70 runs. They will now host the winners of the Kibworth– Barnt Green tie that has been re-scheduled for next Sunday. This is the match of the fourth round where the 2004 winners meet the 2005 runners-up with both the sides hoping for a return to Lord’s.
In Group 9 Weston-super-Mare visited Bridgwater and were dismissed for 178 with Callum Haggett taking 4-26 but then turned the tables on their hosts as Andy Fear took 4-24 as they ran out winners by just 14 runs after dismissing Bridgwater for 164. In the Group Final, Weston will travel to St Fagans who beat Thornbury.
Group 10 was affected by the weather with Cornwood being successful in their visit to Taunton. They will play the winners of the tie between St Just and Grampound Road that will now have to be replayed on Sunday June 24.
Two decisive results in Group 11 have set up an intriguing battle in the Group Final between Havant, the Cockspur Semi-Finalists in 2005 and Totton and Eling, formerly known as BAT Sports who were Indoor Champions in 2006.
Havant bowled out Andover for 106 and then cruised to a nine wicket win with Steve Dean scoring 57*. They will now travel to Totton & Eling who had a big win at Falkland.
Totton scored a massive 327-5, which was the highest total of the day beating Poloc's 326-3 by one run. Derek Kenway led the way with 80 and three other batsmen passed 50. Despite Daniel Shilvock scoring 90* and Mark Foster 63, Falkland were unable to recover after they crashed to 58-7 and they were dismissed for 231 in 36.2 overs, Lee Savident taking 4-62.
Group 12 had two matches involving heavyweight teams. Henley won at Slough and will now travel to Ealing who conquered Middlesex rivals Teddington. In Bushy Park, Teddington scored 190-9 with James Wade top scoring with 70*.
Simon Hawk with 59 set the Ealing reply on the right track but at 101-5 the result was in the balance. Then Ian Blanchett’s 45 proved vital as Ealing reached 191-7 with two overs to spare. In Group 13, Brondesbury’s match against High Wycombe was abandoned after only eight overs as an under-prepared wicket proved unsuitable for the match so Stanmore await the winners after beating Wanstead by three wickets.
Another poor wicket was evident at Cambridge Granta where the hosts had taken the covers off overnight. The rain-affected surface had a bearing on the outcome as Southgate lost the toss and were bowled out for 90. Cambridge Granta also struggled early on but recovered from 30-4 to win by six wickets as the conditions eased under the sun. The next opponents for Granta will be Brentwood who scored 242-6 at Ardleigh Green and then, with Ian Belchamber taking 4-38, bowled their hosts out for 173 to run out winners by 69 runs.
Group 15 sees two Sussex sides meeting in the Group Final after Horsham disposed of Weybridge and Preston Nomads beat Three Bridges. Horsham bowled Weybridge out for 142 with Mark Nast (4-29) and Andrew Thornely (4-11) inflicting most of the damage. Sam Attfield then scored 62 as Horsham cruised to victory.
The match at Three Bridges was a much closer affair as Preston Nomads scored 277-6 thanks to a partnership between Kashif Ibrahim (92*) and Jeremy Green (55). In reply Michael Norris (106) led the Three Bridges challenge but wickets fell regularly and they were bowled out for 259 with eight balls left, Preston Nomads winning by 18 runs.
In Group 16, last year’s runners-up, Bromley, were surprisingly pressed hard by Lordswood their Kent League rivals. Bromley batted first and were restricted to 218-9. Their hosts were then dismissed for 205 to lose by 13 runs.
A second small margin of victory on the trot for the highly fancied side for the Kent metropolitan area but at least they can now look forward to a home tie in the next round against either The Mote or Hastings who delayed their tie to accommodate The Mote’s 150th Anniversary Match.