The Parks played host to an exciting Cricket Cuppers final on Friday of 6th that saw top seeds Worcester defeat New/St Hilda’s by four wickets.
Worcester won the toss and elected to field in an attempt to use the early start and overcast conditions to their advantage. However, in spite of tight bowling first up from Blues player Jon Lodwick and reluctant seamer Charles Davies, the New openers remained untroubled and danger man Freddie Lazell began to score freely through the first 10 overs. But the introduction of Shakespeare to the attack brought about the breakthrough as Lazell was caught for 23 by skipper Tom Crewe.
Spin proved to be the answer from the other end as Blues’ opening batsman Robin Thompson produced one of the great spells of leg-spin bowling that put a halt to the steady flow of runs. These two bowlers combined to build pressure and spark a flurry of wickets reducing their opponents to 58-4, Thompson finishing with three wickets and Shakespeare two from each of their allotted eight overs.
After St Hilda’s Harry Browne was bowled by Thompson for 18 it was down to the lower middle order to steady the ship and attempt to post a competitive total. A useful sixth-wicket partnership of 44 runs between Oliver Perkins and Edmund Le Brun proved to be the catalyst that sparked life into the batting side’s innings. The pair made use of the large outfield, pressurizing the Worcester fielders with aggressive running between the wickets. However this proved to be Le Brun’s downfall as he was spectacularly run out by Karim Sutton for 21.
Unused as a bowler, Sutton had earlier missed an eminently catchable opportunity at mid on but on this occasion produced a superb direct hit, throwing down the stumps at the far end from close to the boundary. Yet the partnership had set a useful platform as the batsmen continued to work medium pacers Chadwick and Bryan around for a steady five runs an over.
As the end of the New innings approached, Perkins accelerated reaching his half century from just 54 balls and hitting two huge sixes. The latter of these came from the bowling of the returning Lodwick who responded by clean bowling the batsman the following ball, bringing an end to a fine innings.
Given that Worcester’s top five have all featured for the Blues this year, New’s total of 180-8 seemed significantly under par. However, as the rain began to fall on a pitch that the groundstaff were initially reluctant to cover, the conditions seemed to be playing into the hands of the bowling side.
A revised total of 159 from 35 overs was decided upon due to the time lost and as the Worcester openers set about chasing this down, they found the going increasingly tough. Bowlers Harry Browne and Joe Smith kept scoring opportunities to a minimum and when Thompson fell lbw for three, closely followed by the in-form Tom Chadwick for just two, things started to look up for the bowling side.
With two of their star men gone, the travelling Worcester support had begun to fall silent but the second wicket brought Tom Bryan to the crease who, together with Anand Patel put on 86 for the third wicket. Patel top scored with an innings of 68 from 81 balls that featured several delightful drives through the offside for four.
By the time Bryan had been run out for 40, the damage had already been done. Lodwick replaced him to see the innings home in spite of three late wickets from Fisken including that of the captain Crewe who was trapped lbw on his first ball.
The winning runs were hit with three overs remaining to seal a hard fought victory by four wickets. A valiant effort from the New/Hilda’s side was just not enough to contain the wealth of talent within the Worcester ranks. But retaining their title will be no mean feat for Worcester, who will lose five key members of the team next season.