BRISTOL will challenge London’s hegemony in the Church Times Cricket Cup, when they play them in the final on 6 September at the Walker Cricket Ground, Southgate. London has won the cup for the past five years.
The tournament’s semi-finals took place on Monday, as temperatures continued to soar across England.
Bristol played Lichfield, last year’s beaten finalists, at Tewkesbury Cricket Club, in temperatures of 30°C. For two players, it was a family affair: the Bishop of Shrewsbury, the Rt Revd Mark Rylands, a Lichfield stalwart, played against his son, Sam, an ordinand at Trinity College, Bristol, who was captaining his side.
Bristol won the toss, and elected to bat on a wicket that offered variable bounce from the start. Rylands Jr opened the batting, and scored some powerful boundaries. But he was out in the fourth over from a straight ball from Reeves.
Peterson and Walker tried to rebuild, bringing up the 50 in the tenth over. Both went in quick succession, however: Peterson was bowled by Lefroy, then Walker by Reeve, leaving Bristol on a precarious 68 for 3.
To the crease came Murray, whose brilliant innings saw him form partnerships of 64, 47, and 28 with Stillwell, Watson, and Smith respectively. Murray went on to make 96 not out, taking Bristol to 221 for 6 from their 35 overs.
Lichfield’s reply started well, as Cranston and Taylor were composed in defence, but dispatched anything that was over-pitched. After 11 overs, they were 48 for no wicket, and had built a good platform.
The introduction of Stillwell to Bristol’s bowling attack changed the game, however. He had Taylor lbw for 13 with his first delivery, and then, in the same over, Smith ran out Cranston for 33.
This brought Rylands Sr to the crease to face his son’s pacey bowling. He navigated some short-pitched bowling, but was out playing a big shot to Stillwell. The pressure on Lichfield brought more wickets: Stillwell finished with 3 for 11 from his 7 overs. Wilson also took three wickets, and a superb run-out by wicket-keeper Murray capped off his man-of-the-match performance. Lichfield were all out for 100 — and Bristol were through to the final.
In the other semi-final, Manchester and London were both severely depleted by injuries and late pull-outs as they prepared to play at the King’s School, Worcester. Each team managed to field nine players, and, in a spirit of inter-diocesan generosity, lent each other fielders.
Manchester won the toss, and duly decided to bat. Cowling and Hills opened, and survived early scares before London struck in the sixth over. Cowling played forward to a full delivery from Kendall, and feathered a thin edge through to Downes behind the stumps. Thomas and Hills then began to take the attack to London with some risky hitting, before Thomas was eventually caught by Lee in the covers off Allerton.
Wickets then proved a little hard to come by, before a bizarre moment brought about the third wicket. A full ball from Cama took the edge of Wickham’s bat and lodged between Downes’s pads. Eventually, Downes realised what had happened, grabbed the ball and appealed, and Wickham was on his way.
After that, wickets fell quickly, despite a rearguard 16 from Thompson, and Hill carrying his bat for 15. Manchester were all out for 80 in the 26th over.
In reply, London started briskly, and Rose and Moffatt hit quick-fire boundaries. Rose was trying to hit everything, and soon became the victim of his own strategy as he played on to Gatenby for 14.
Cama came in to replace him, and continued the same strategy with Moffatt. Cama reached an unbeaten 35 and Moffatt was not out on 22. London met the target in the 12th over, and advanced to yet another final.
It looks set to be an exciting match. All are welcome to attend.
Bristol 221 for 6 from 35 overs (Murray 96 n.o., Walker 29, Watson 25; Reeve 2 for 35, Lefroy 1 for 33, Hart 1 for 32, Cranston 1 for 41). Lichfield 100 all out from 29.5 overs (Cranston 33, Ackroyd 18; Rylands 1 for 25, Stillwell 3 for 11, Watson 1 for 10, Wilson 3 for 13).
Bristol won by 121 runs.
Manchester 80 all out from 26 overs (Thomas 20, Thompson 16; Lee 2 for 5, Cama 3 for 15). London 81 for 1 from 12 overs (Moffatt 22 n.o., Cama 35 n.o.; Gatenby 1 for 24).
London won by 8 wickets.