A slow game characterised by numerous shifts in momentum ended with a thrilling last ball victory for Balliol over Worcester.
In an extraordinary final over, Worcester were left to rue a no-ball which cost them victory. On a bright and sunny day, James Kohn, the Balliol captain, elected to field first, putting immediate pressure on the Worcester side, stocked with Blues players, to post a competitive total in their 40 overs on a slow wicket.
Throwing the new ball to his reliable opening bowlers, Philip Clarke and Gavin Sourgen, Kohn would have been surprised to see the opening eight overs costing 42 runs with little alarm for the Worcester openers, Thompson and Bowles.
The pair quickly racked up an assured 50 partnership, before the introduction of Travers McCleod brought about the wickets of Bowles and then Howie in quick succession. Clarke and McCleod then bowled with great economy as Thompson sought to play the anchor role to provide stability to the Worcester ranks.
Chris Stearn joined the well-set Thompson at the crease and the pair proceeded to rack up an impressive partnership of 99, as Balliol sought to stem the flow of runs which was gathering momentum as both players became accustomed to the pace of the pitch.
The terrific partnership was ended in the 35th over as Balliol’s Head took a catch off the bowling of the Sourgen to end Thompson’s innings of 62. Stearn was then run out by by a direct hit from Simon Thwaite rushing in from mid on, before Lodwick and Hicks took the team to the 200 mark with some powerful hitting.
It was an impressive if not insurmountable target, but Balliol’s start made their chase much more difficult with the Worcester bowlers pinned them down with aggressive pace. Credit must be given to Balliol’s Williams and Head for withstanding the assault without loss of wickets, but when Head was caught out for 22 off the spin of Thompson, Balliol were behind the run rate and in need of acceleration.
Williams began to play more expansively seeing the need for upping the run rate. Kohn joined Williams at the crease after the fall of the 2nd wicket with Balliol needing to score around 100 off the last 14. Kohn’s aggression was evident from the start as he cover-drove his second ball for four.
The pair combined dynamic running with some belligerent stroke play, with Williams crafting an elegant 50. Both fell however in quick succession leaving Balliol’s tail exposed. No player was able to finish the game with a solid innings as some ridiculous running looked to have cost Balliol a victory which had looked a formality.
Finding themselves needing six off the last over and eight wickets down Balliol lost Penifold trying to sneak an impossible run, before number nine McCleod was left needing to pierce the ring of fielders to get three off the last ball.
Lodwick hared in and McCleod swung high in the air, but as Worcester converged to prevent any chance of a run and Clarke forlornly dashed to his crease, the umpire stretched out his right arm to indicate a no-ball for height.
With the scores now tied, Worcester could still force a positive result, but even though Clarke failed to make contact with the final delivery, the pair scampered a bye to bring about a thrilling win.
In an extraordinary final over, Worcester were left to rue a no-ball which cost them victory
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