The super 9s team travelled to Collingham and District CC on 12th August to take on Derbyshire, with a side unfortunately severely depleted by illness, injury and holidays. Batting first, Shropshire were dismissed for just 50 with only Danny Percy (13) making it to double figures. A strong Derbyshire side had no real problem in reaching the victory target for the loss of just two wickets in the 13th over with Mike Darlington and Luke Clarke taking a wicket apiece. We wish Derbyshire the best of luck in the final.
On Sunday 19th, the D40 team travelled to Kidderminster CC to take on Essex at the semi-final stage for the third year in succession. The previous years had produced two entertaining, high scoring, close games – and this year was to be no different with the closest, most nerve-wracking game imaginable….
Essex batted first and totalled 249-3 from their 40 overs as Ronnie Jackson (105 retired out), Joe Freestone (70) and Martin Doe (34) all took advantage of a good batting wicket and an extremely quick outfield. Charlie Vickers was the stand out performer with the ball for us, taking 3-42 over two good spells of bowling. Despite the high run rate, we bowled and fielded well to restrict our opponents to an achievable if challenging score. Little did we know at this point just how exciting the match was to become…..
A quick start was vital if we were to threaten the Essex total, and a stand of 60 in just 9 overs between openers Kev Baker and Danny Percy (18) gave the innings some much needed early impetus. Whilst runs continued to come at a healthy rate, three quick wickets also kept Essex in the hunt for victory as Callum Rigby joined Baker and put together a stand of 128 in rapid time to take Shropshire to the brink of victory before both fell in quick succession, Rigby for 52 and Baker for 86.
With the crowd swelling as the other semi-final between Hampshire and Lancashire finished early with a comprehensive victory for Hampshire, the game began to swing back in Essex’s favour as tight bowling and regular wickets left us needing 21 off the last three overs with three wickets in hand. Adam James took 11 from the 38th over, and with just four runs and a wicket in the 39th over, the final over began with six needed for victory and two wickets remaining. Three singles from the first three balls, followed by a further wicket from the fourth ball of the over meant we needed three runs from two balls with the last pair at the wicket. Sean Greening struck his first ball for two to bring the scores level, before the final ball of the game which produced no runs and total confusion as to who had actually won the match with both teams having scored 249.
After a consultation of the rule book it became clear that a bowl off was needed to decide the outcome of the game. Three players from each team, two deliveries each at an unguarded set of stumps. The first two deliveries from Essex both missed before Adam James recorded one hit to put us one up. Essex captain Lee Walker evened the scores up at 1-1 before his Shropshire counterpart Shaun Rigby put his team back in the lead at 2-1 with one player from each side left to bowl. Ronnie Jackson of Essex missed with both of his attempts, leaving Shropshire as winners in the most dramatic and nerve shredding way imaginable.
A truly wonderful game of cricket; no little skill on display from both sides, drama and excitement, and a game played hard but fair in a wonderful spirit throughout in which either side would have been worthy winners, a true advert for Disability Cricket. Best wishes to Essex for the remainder of their season, and thanks to Kidderminster Cricket Club for the use of their facilities and excellent hospitality on the day.
All eyes now turn to the national final at the iconic Arundel Castle ground on Sunday 9th September as we look to win the competition for the first time when we take on Hampshire. Before then, we will be hosting our annual T20 competition at Frankton CC on Sunday 26th August followed by a friendly game at Penkridge CC on Sunday 2nd September in order to prepare for the final in the best way possible.
The end to the season promises to be incredibly exciting with the opportunity to make history….