South Wales & Gwent Win National Knockout Final
The combined South Wales & Gwent team secured a comfortable victory by 65 runs over defending Champions Dyfed-Powys at Derbyshire CCC on Wednesday 19th June in the National Knockout Final Sponsored by Police Credit Union.
Clear blue skies and sunshine greeted both teams as they arrived at the County Ground although temperatures would remain chilly with a breeze blowing throughout the day.
This was to be the 1st All Welsh Final since the Competition began in 1975 and was also the first time no English force had contested the semi-finals.
Before the start of play both Teams lined up outside the Pavilion. A short address was given by ACC Marcus Beale (Chairman PSUK Cricket) which was followed by 1 minute silence for all present on the ground to pay their respects for the loss of their GMP colleagues Pc Fiona Bone and Pc Nicola Hughes who were tragically killed on duty the previous day.
Mark Davies (DP) won the toss and invited SWG to have a bat although he probably regretted this as Mick Martin and Tim Hemp attacked the DP bowlers from the start. They raced along at 6 – 7 runs an over hitting regular boundaries and running hard between the wickets.
At 120 in 22nd over Hemp was adjudged LBW to Andy Williams for 45 (69 balls 7 x 4, 1 x 6) which brought Paul Rees in to join Martin who had already passed his 50 (52 balls).
The next 19 overs produced some exhilarating cricket as Rees proceeded to dispatch the Dyfed bowling to all parts of the ground. He reached his 50 off 52 balls and in a partnership of 110 he smashed 72 off 68 balls including 5 x 4 and 4 x 6 before being bowled by Grant (230-2)
With 4 overs remaining Martin had reached 93. Watkins replaced Rees only to be run out in the next over without scoring. Martin reached a magnificent century off 118 balls with a straight drive to long off. He was finally run out for 104 (120 balls 10 x 4) with the total on 245. Some late swinging and missing the SWG innings closed on 254 – 6.
Pick of the DP bowling was Mark Davies 9-0-29-0
If Dyfed were to succeed in the run chase then their powerful batting line up including several BP players past and present would all need to fire.
Huw Evans opened with Andy Williams. They faced an aggressive and accurate spell from Ryan Watkins at one end and the swing bowling of Barry Davies from the other. Watkins had Williams LBW for 4 with the score on 9. This brought in Gary Williams to join Evans who was having a difficult time as he was offered very little in the way of scoring opportunities.
Evan and Williams did however increase the tempo and took the total to 56 in 14th over when Rees who had replaced Watkins induced a false drive from Evans (21) who chipped the ball to extra cover for a simple catch.
Simon Cole joined Williams in what was to be the highest partnership of the innings. From a relatively slow start they began to tick the score over at around 6 an over despite the run rate increasing. They had added 88 when Tony Smith was introduced into the attack.
He broke the partnership by having Cole caught by Rees for 44 (49 balls 3 x4, 1 x 6) with the total on 144 in 32nd over. Gary Philips was bowled by Davies for 4 and shortly after reaching his 50 Williams was bowled by Smith for 55 (91 balls 6 x 4) leaving DP on 151-5 (33rd over).
The following 8 overs saw the remaining 5 wickets fall for 38 runs with Smith picking up a further 3 as the Dyfed innings closed on 189 (41.1 overs).
Smith finished with figures of 8.1-0-38-5 and Rees chipped in with 9-0-57-3 which included a superb catch right on the boundary edge by Watkins to dismiss Seymour
So South Wales & Gwent had become the first joint entry Force to win the National, indeed it had been a gap of 11 years since South Wales had won as a single Force.
Peter Evans CEO of Police Credit Union presented the trophies, City of London Cup to Jamie Williamson (SWG) and the Sussex Rose Bowl to Mark Davies (Dyfed-Powys).
Notable performances were Paul Rees 72 (68 balls) & 3–57, Tony Smith 5–38 but the Man of the Match Award (HNL Blenkin Trophy) went to Mick Martin (SWG) for his 104 (120 balls)
The Chairman once again paid thanks to Police Credit Union for their continued support in Sponsoring the Competition.