National Championship Final 2019
Clear blue skies, glorious sunshine and temperatures already reaching 25c greeted both teams as they arrived at the Fischer County Ground, Grace Road Leicester on Thursday 19th September for the inaugural Final of the newly created National Championship.
Northumbria & Durham were making their 4th consecutive Finals day appearance whilst the Met & City of London team were making their first appearance as a joint entry although Met last appeared in the 2014 Final when they defeated Essex.
Northumbria won the toss and had no hesitation in batting first on what appeared to be a flat docile pitch.
Capt Smith was quickly into his rhythm peppering 4 boundaries in the first over he faced. BP bowler Burke was forced to retire through injury during his 3rd over as the score rattled along at a run rate of over 7 until Taylor (21) was bowled by Bryan in the 12th over with the total on 88.
Smith continued to dominate until Bryan struck again in the 18th over having him caught behind for 68 and shortly afterwards bowled Bailey (3) leaving Northumbria on 110-3.
The back up bowlers of Taylor, Harris and Dilworth joined the attack and bowled with such accuracy that the run rate was pegged back as wickets began to tumble on a regular basis. During this period wicketkeeper Jayasinghe took 3 smart stumpings as the total slumped 133-5 after 26 overs.
Stewart and Storey then added 60 in the next 11 overs but following Storey’s (20) dismissal the remaining batsmen all failed to reach double figures leaving Stewart 47* as the final wicket fell for 235 in 43rd over.
Bryan finished with 3-48, Taylor 2-39, Dilworth 2-40 and Harris 2-41 from their allotted 9 overs.
Consensus amongst the spectators….this was a competitive total however it would still require 3-4 Met batsmen needing to make significant contributions if they were to reach their target.
The chase suffered setbacks almost immediately as Stewart dismissed Guest (1) and Gray (0) in the 2nd & 4th over. Bryan joined Jayasinghe as the pair rebuilt adding 29 in the next 9 overs until the introduction of Storey who had Bryan caught & bowled for 17 off his 4th ball then followed up in his 2nd over with the wickets of Burke (0) and Jaysinghe (15) leaving Met on 42-5. This soon became 42-6 as the return of Stewart brought the wicket of Dilworth (12). Taylor came to the crease to join Dilworth. The pair added 24 before Dilworth was bowled for 12 in Tolchard’s first over. After 23 overs Met had been reduced to 67-6.It was at this point the tail actually began to “wag” as Harris joined Taylor in a partnership of 46 before Taylor was lbw to Spence for 31. Holland in at 10 played positively from the outset adding 55 with Harris hitting 5 x 4 & 1 x 6 in a quick fire 30 before he was eventually caught off the bowling of Patterson.
In at 11 was the Met “stalwart” Fretwell who’s bat was carried out on a stretcher much to the amusement of the crowd. He finished on 2* whilst Harris ended on 46* when the innings closed with the total at 179-9 as the final 4 batsmen had managed to add 112 runs but still left Northumbria & Durham victors by 56 runs.
Both Umpires agreed unanimously that the Player of the Match should be awarded to “Nails” Jayasinghe for his excellent display of keeping which included 2 catches and 3 sharp stumpings.
Once again this day was a credit to Police Sport in the manner in which the game was played by 2 sides striving for victory.
Our thanks go to Police Credit Union for their continued support of the Competition. Without their contributions over the years the Finals would not be held at such prestigious 1st class venues.
Finally BPCC / PSUK Cricket presented a £1000 cheque to Lorna Grey who was representing our nominated Charity, Make-a-Wish.
We as a “section” should be proud of ourselves having now raised in excess of £7000 since 2016 so a big thank you to everyone who has allowed me to “nag” and “cajole” you into contributions over the years.
I really can’t thank you enough.
© Cricket World 2019