Accountants KPMG are once more Birmingham’s corporate cricket champions after retaining the Lord’s Taverners John Bright Trophy with a 32-run victory against the Phoenix Group in the 2011 final.
Their victory at the picturesque Britannic Park ground in Moseley near Warwickshire’s Edgbaston HQ on September 7 was their 10th successive win in the competition and made them the first firm to retain the trophy
There was a sense of déjà vu as the same two teams had contested last year’s final with the same result and ECB deputy chairman Dennis Amiss again presented the trophy to KMPG skipper Simon Griffiths.
But there was no repeat of last summer’s frenetic last ball finish when the scores tied and the accountants won by losing fewer wickets.
This year’s contest produced some impressive attacking batting by both sides aided by dropped catches at the large tree-lined ground with its awkward sight lines and slope bigger than Lord’s.
After being inserted, KPMG’s strong batting line-up totalled a formidable 176 for 6 in their allotted 16 eight-ball overs. Main damage merchants were opener Phil Evans whose destructive 32 featured two huge straight sixes and No5 Maneesh Gahir with an elegantly struck undefeated 37 that included three sixes.
Amid some heavy carnage, left-arm medium pacer Steve Farrow managed an impressive 1-9 in his allotted two eight ball overs.
In reply, Phoenix opener Steve Clevett looked in fluent form striking two boundaries before unluckily drilling the ball some 60 yards straight to Gahir for a well-taken catch near the cover boundary in the first over. Then fellow opener Chris Acaster, who averaged 175 in last year’s trophy being dismissed just once, was even more unfortunate getting out for 17 in run-out mix-up.
Fine strokeplay by Darren Kok, the game’s top scorer with 39 not out, and Jim Knight (23) retrieved the situation and after nine overs the life assurance consolidators were ahead of the run rate with their score at 113/4.
But as the clouds gathered Surinder Matharu with his off-cutters took two wickets with his final two balls starting a collapse that saw Greg Easter (3-11) and Steve Eastham (2-18) share five wickets to add to their earlier valuable knocks..
Phoenix ended 144 all out with two over left leaving Kok, who had returned to bat after reaching the 35 retirement mark earlier, 39 not out, the game’s top score.
Admirers of the unusual might have spotted the unusual “LBW” cricketing number plate on a Honda 4x4 at the game. It belonged to veteran Warwickshire CCC photographer Roger Wootton who was taking shots of the final for the Lord’s Taverners.
It was KPMG’s 4th trophy win since the tournament sponsored by fund managers Williams de Broë was inaugurated by host club Moseley Ashfield at their second ground in 2004.
Fifteen teams were involved in 33 matches in this year’s event. Highlights included two impressive course cricket moments in the tournament’s “social” group matches for the weaker sides. The first included a batsman informing tournament umpire Don Williams: “I can’t be out Leg Before Wicket, the ball hit my foot!”
But the 2011 John Bright Trophy Course Cricketer of the Year Award went to Cobbetts solicitor Richard Holmes for entering pioneering cricket territory.
On June 30 when his firm played fellow Birmingham solicitors Mills & Reeve, Holmes while scoring 13 stunned the opposition adding several byes to this side’s total by charging down the wicket to the bowler’s end when the ball was delivered without bothering to attempt to play a shot. The manoeuvre may be easily countered but full marks for originality!
2011 Lord’s Taverners John Bright Trophy Final
Wed Sept 7 Britannic Park Centenary Ground, Moseley, Birmingham
KPMG 176/6 in 16 overs (M Gahir 37 rtd, S Eastham 35 rtd, P Evans 32, G Easter 23, N Lucas 2-28, S Farrow 1-9, N Watkins 1-19) Phoenix Group 144 in 14 overs (D Kok 39*, J Knight 26, C Acaster 17, G Easter 3-11, S Eastham 2-18, S Matharu 2-22).
KPMG won by 32 runs.