Met Police End 21-Year Wait For Cup Glory
The Metropolitan Police Cricket Team won the Police Credit Union National Knockout Final on Wednesday 10th September 2014 defeating Essex at Grace Road Leicestershire, ending a 21 year wait since their last National Final victory, in 1993.
In a final which saw two evenly matched sides, Met skipper Russ Bryan won the toss and had little hesitation in choosing to bat first on what looked like a dry, hard surface while the Essex players were happy to field first to ease their way into the game.
The Met innings began shakily with Saleem being bowled by Jackson for one and then Bennett clean bowled by Essex captain Garnham for four.
British Police duo Gray and Bryan came together at the crease and began to repair the damage before Jackson bowled Bryan for 21 to leave the Met on 43 for three. The Met rallied and a 50-run partnership for the fourth wicket helped (Gray & Dow) but Gray could only look on from the non-strikers end as what looked like a solid position soon became 110 for five from 25 overs, both wickets claimed by the slow bowling of Roper.
What could have been the start of the end for The Met became a match-winning middle-order partnership of 91 between wicket-keeping all-rounder Jayasinghe and the imperious Gray. Both kept the board ticking with useful ones and twos, steadying their ship before picking up the scoring rate as they found boundaries easier to come by against Essex change bowlers, passing the 200 mark in the 39th over.
The highlight of the game saw Gray bring up his 100, having only given one chance, eventually falling for 115 from 117 balls. The Met continued to score at a healthy rate courtesy of Bhatti with a hard hitting 22.
The Met’s innings finished on a competitive 233 for eight from their 45 overs with Phil Gray being the star of the show while Essex's best bowling figures went to Garnham with three for 34 off nine overs.
The Essex reply began slowly and for long periods struggled to get out of second gear as the batsmen found Dunn's slow, flat off spin particularly hard to get away. The pressure of tight bowling led to Butcher falling for 13 and then Keaney for 10 as Essex stuttered to 50 for two from 20 overs, leaving the run rate creeping up to near seven and a half an over.
The pressure being built by The Met was best demonstrated by Dunn’s final figures of 9-2-17-1. Vince Bird did all he could to increase the rate as he made 26 before being sharply stumped by Jayasinghe off the bowling of Dows and then opener Jackson was caught at mid-wicket trying to force the pace to leave Essex on 101 for two in the 32nd over.
The incoming Essex batsmen were now placed in the unenvious position of having to attack from ball one to try to get their side close to the target.
By this stage the Essex chase was all but over and when Mehen fell for 14 the chasing side were 131 for eight with only seven overs left. It was left to Garnham and number 11 Roper to bring some respectability to the scorecard, the pair putting on 33 runs for the last wicket before Roper fell for 11 and Essex were all out in 43 overs for 167.
The final act of the day was for Peter Evans CEO of Police Credit Union to present the trophies which included the untroubled umpires Dan Pedley and Ray Knowles and the scorers from Essex Sam Garnham and from the Met Debbie Christopher.
This year’s Police Credit Union Man of the Match was awarded to Phil Gray for his 115 from 117 balls.
A huge thanks must go to Leicestershire County Cricket Club for hosting us so well, Police Credit Union for their continued support, David Fraser-Darling for organising the tournament again, the scorers and umpires and finally the players for the excellent spirit in which the game was played and both how victory and defeat was embraced.