THE group stages of the 2018 Church Times Cricket Cup are in full swing, the sunny late-May weather having produced glorious playing conditions.
On Monday, Lichfield faced a ten-man Manchester on a dry and firm pitch at Warrington Cricket Club. Lichfield have dominated their group in past seasons, with a ten-year-long unbeaten record at the group stage. They have regularly reached the Cup Final in Southgate.
Manchester won the toss and elected to field. Lichfield got off to a good start, but they were pegged back by tight bowling and impressive fielding from Manchester. Six bowlers got their names on the score card, and there were four catches. Lichfield’s Lefroy carefully marshalled the tail to make 30, and his side reached 139 all out.
Manchester replied confidently. Cowling and Hills put on 103 for the first wicket: Cowling’s 75 was his highest score in a Church Times Cup game. Hills carried his bat to steer Manchester home with six overs to spare.
Leeds played Chester/Liverpool in Bromily last Friday. Leeds won the toss and elected to bat. Carew started strongly, going on to clock his century, which included 18 fours and two sixes. Bavington showed similar form, reaching 101 during an innings that included five sixes. Earnshaw provided solid support, racing to 32. Razzle was the pick of Chester/Liverpool’s bowlers, taking four wickets.
Leeds ended on 276 from 30 overs.
In reply, Chester put up an impressive fight. Goodwin put on a feisty 33 (five fours and a six), and Page anchored the innings with 66 and Corbett with 31. Briggs performed solidly among Leeds’s bowlers, taking 2 for 25.
Chester reached an impressive 194 from their 30 overs, not enough to secure a victory but enough to emerge with their heads high. It is rare for 450 runs to be scored from 60 overs.
After their first two games were cancelled — their two opponents, Exeter and Salisbury, failed to get a side together — Bristol began their cup campaign on Monday against a combined side from Winchester and Chichester dioceses.
Bristol began in the field and Etherage (12) and Tuck (11) began well before Smith knocked back the former’s off stump. Smith went on to remove Ashraf, and took 2 for 6 from his 5 overs. Kemp (36) sought to rebuild the innings, and played well on both sides of the wicket. However, good fielding and tight bowling from Watson and Rylands meant that, after 24 overs, WinChichester languished at 75 for 4.
Trying to push the run rate on, Kemp was the first to go to a phenomenonal one- handed running catch on the boundary by Walker off the bowling of Walton. Walton then took two more wickets in the same over. Coates came on to clean up the tail, bowling wicked in-swingers to leave WinChichester all out for 83.
Bristol’s response was slow and steady, mainly owing to tight bowling from Davis and Burston. Peterson (14) and Walker (26) were looking firm until Scrivener had the former lbw. Walker was caught off the bowling of Swindells to a wonderful one-handed catch that rivalled his own from earlier. Rylands (21) pushed the score along nicely, and, after a few quick wickets, Murray and Edmondson saw Bristol home in the 28th over.
Exeter were under strength again on Monday, and conceded the points to Oxford.
St Albans hosted a depleted Chelmsford side on Monday. St Albans elected to bat and skipper Gibbs put in an exquisite performance at the crease, reaching 153 not out. He was ably supported by Macey (70), with whom he formed a 140-run partnership. Drew provided some energetic batting, scoring 19 off ten balls. Wallace was the pick of Chelmsford’s bowlers, taking two wickets. St Albans posted 274 for 5 off their 35 overs.
Chelmsford wobbled in reply, losing early wickets, leaving them on 10 for 2. Despite resistance from Tremer (22) and Beales (38), St Albans bowled the visitors out for 99. Burt and Newton shone among the bowlers, taking two wickets each, while Adam and Prior picked up a wicket apiece.
Arch-rivals Southwark played host to London on Monday. For each side it was their first cup game of the season. Southwark won the toss and chose to bat on a fine wicket. They had grounds to question the decision just two balls in, however: Sewell survived an LBW shout off the first ball, and, on the second, cut the ball straight to Kennedy at backward point off Lee. Aagard went soon after, bowled by Kennedy for 4.
Stanier, winner of the Wisden cricket-writing competition (Comment, 18 May), started to turn things around, however, scoring 80, with assistance from Percival, taking Southwark to 133 for 6 in their 35 overs.
London started slowly in reply, but then got into their stride. Cunliffe hit a brisk half-century. Moffatt was stumped by Macauley for 24, and new-player Rimmer made 18. Some excellent late hitting from Lee saw London home as they finished 135 for 2 from just 17.2 overs.
Coventry played Lincoln at Thorpe Arnold on Monday of last week.
Coventry opted to bat first. Moffett and Gandon put on 67 before Moffett was caught. A brief partnership of 16 followed, with Budd scoring 9. Enter the big-hitting Foster (46 including five boundaries), who, together with Gandon, added another 73. Parker came to wicket for the last four overs and the pair added 37, Gandon passing his 50 and finishing 63 not out, having carried his bat and run 159 of his side’s 193 runs.
Lincoln began their innings and lost their first wicket in the second over. While batting doggedly, they were never up with the run rate thanks, in part, to Burton’s and N. Parker’s tidy opening spells. Wickets fell at regular intervals, especially when J. Parker’s mystery bowling was introduced, and new recruit Pimentel came on to bowl. The finish came quickly as Gandon came back on to claim the last wicket. A comfortable win for Coventry.
Lichfield 139 all out off 32.2 overs (Hack 22, Ackroyd 15, Rylands 17, Taylor 17, Lefroy 30; Hollingsbee 2 for 18, Cowling 1 for 23, Cook 1 for 25, Wickham 2 for 21, Emmerson 2 for 27, Thompson 1 for 3). Manchester 141 for 2 off 29 overs (Cowling 75, Hills 31 n.o., Thomas 13, Hollingsbee 4 n.o.; Darlington 2 for 26).
Manchester won by eight wickets.
Leeds 276 off 30 overs (Carew 100, Bavington 101, Earnshaw 32; Razzle 4 wickets). Chester/Liverpool 194 from 30 overs (Goodwin 33, Page 66, Corbett 31; Briggs 2 for 25).
Leeds won by 82 runs.
WinChichester 83 all out off 30 overs (Kemp 36; Smith 2 for 6, Rylands 1 for 23, Watson 1 for 18, Walton 3 for 11, Coates 3 for 4, Smith 2 for 6). Bristol 85 for 4 off 27.3 overs (Walker 26, Rylands 21; Burston 0 for 16, Scrivener 1 for 19, Etherage 1 for 24, Swindells 2 for 15).
Bristol won by six wickets.
St Albans 274 for 5 (Gibbs 153 n.o., Macey 70, Drew 19; Wallace 2 for 63). Chelmsford 99 all out (Tremer 22, Beales 38; Burt 2 for 6, Newton 2 for 44).
St Albans won by 175 runs.
Southwark 133 for 6 (Stanier 80 n.o., Percival 13; Lee 1 for 18, Cama 2 for 25). London 135 for 2 off 17.2 overs (Cunliffe 51, Lee 21; Macauley 1 for 17, Churt 1 for 8).
London won by four wickets.
Coventry 193 for 3 (Gandon 63 n.o., Moffett 24, Foster 46; Radcliffe 0 for 15, Robinson 1 for 41, Knox 1 for 44). Lincoln 135 all out off 33.2 overs (Shenton 20, Knox 24; N. Parker 2 for 26, Burton 2 for 36, Gandon 1 for 16, J. Parker 3 for 34, Pimentel 2 for 16).
Coventry won by 58 runs.
The Rochester/Canterbury team has made a promotional film at its match against St Albans.