THE quarter-finals of the 2018 Church Times Cricket Cup took place on Monday, in near-heatwave conditions.
Manchester vs Lincoln was called off at the last minute, after Lincoln were unable to field a side, handing easy entry to the semi-finals to the Lancastrians.
Down south, Bristol took on Canterbury/Rochester at Falkland Cricket Club in Newbury, who generously hosted the match without charge, just encouraging a donation to the club’s disability charity.
Owing to gridlock on the M25, the start of play was delayed and the overs were reduced to 30 a side. When the match did finally get underway, Bristol won the toss and put Canterbury/Rochester in the field, in scorching daytime heat.
Peterson and Rylands opened the batting and were composed and clinical: blocking the good balls and dispatching anything off line or length. They brought up a 100 partnership in the 15th over, and then sought to accelerate. Rylands was the aggressor, hitting 13 fours and 6 sixes, before losing his bottle on 99, edging Fitter to McDougal at slip.
Peterson (88 n.o.) continued on, with, first, Walker (31) and then Murray (18 n.o.), hitting late boundaries, to take Bristol to 267 for 2.
Canterbury’s reply started well, with Saju hitting three boundaries in Walton’s first over. Nelson was not quite so lucky, however, as Walton had him caught for 4. Captain Saju struck some powerful blows in his innings of 44, although one such shot hit McDougal at the other end and forced him to retire hurt.
Mann hit a quick fire 20, but fell to Bristowe (a Canterbury ordinand currently training at Trinity College, Bristol). This signalled a collapse orchestrated by Bristol’s spinners as Stillwell took 5 for 30 and Watson 3 for 5.
Bristol proceed to the semi-finals. Their performance in this year’s cup make them a team to watch.
Coventry met Lichfield, in a repeat of last year’s quarter-final fixture, at Coleshill, again in glorious sunshine.
Lichfield won the toss and elected to bat. It was not long until Gregory gave a regulation return catch off Burton’s bowling. Cranston and Taylor looked a little out of sorts early on, but, with a good batting wicket, a fast outfield, and a short boundary on one side of the wicket, runs soon began to flow.
Despite some tight bowling, there was nothing in the pitch for the bowlers and several chances were not taken in the field. The partnership developed and put on 271 for the second wicket, until Taylor was bowled in the final over. His 152 was the highest score for Lichfield in a Church Times Cup match, as far as any of the current team can remember. Cranston carried his bat with a dogged 105 not out. Of the Coventry bowlers, Parker picked up a couple of late wickets and Burton was the most economical.
In reply, Coventry’s openers began steadily, before Moffatt was bowled when the score was 35. Coventry were dropping behind the required run rate, until Foster, with some glorious strokes, began to find the boundary with ease, despite a defensive Lichfield field setting.
At this stage, it looked as if Coventry might get the required runs, if the partnership continued. Foster, however, tried to dispatch the first ball of Hart’s spell and fell for a quick-fire 51. Gandon, who at this stage had held the innings together, began to accelerate his scoring, but, as the required run rate crept up towards the 20-an-over mark, Coventry did not have the batting to support him.
Their innings closed on 222 for 4, with Lefroy the most economical of the Lichfield bowlers.
Lichfield proceed to the semi-finals, where they will play Bristol.
Serial cup-holders London played Winchester/Chichester on a blisteringly hot day at Ripley Cricket Club, in Surrey. London won the toss and chose to bat.
WinChi bowled tidily early on and got their reward when Moffatt was bowled by Burston for 17. Kennedy joined Beeby at the crease and built an outstanding second-wicket partnership of 203. Beeby reached his century with three consecutive sixes and Kennedy matched him all the way just reaching his 100 first.
The WinChi bowlers never gave up in the searing heat and there were some fine fielding displays on show, from Kemp and Scrivener especially.
London finished their innings on 255 for 4 from their 35 overs.
WinChi knew that they had a high run-rate to keep up with in reply, and set about it with zeal, hitting 13 from the first two overs.
London tightened up a little and made the breakthrough in the 10th over as Wharton was caught by Knowles off Kendall for 6. Kemp and Scrivener then followed soon after to Allerton and Knowles, and then King went for 26.
WinChi were in some bother at 70 for 5. They never gave up, though, and some good batting from Etheridge and Davis saw them over 100, before they were finally all out for 133 in the 34th over.
London will play Manchester in the semi-finals.
The semi-finals are due to take place on Monday 9 July, or, in case of bad weather, on Thursday 12 July.
Bristol 267 for 2 from 30 overs (Rylands 99, Peterson 88 n.o., Walker 31; Nelson 0 for 24, Mann 0 for 49, Saju 0 for 43, Fitter 1 for 47, Thomas 0 for 21, Williams 0 for 56). Canterbury/Rochester 93 all out from 22 overs (Saju 44, Mann 20; Walton 1 for 28, Smith 0 for 14, Bristowe 1 for 14, Stillwell 5 for 30, Watson 3 for 5). Bristol won by 174 runs.
Lichfield 280 for 3 from 35 overs (Taylor 152, Cranston 105 n.o.; Parker 2 for 41, Burton 1 for 35). Coventry 222 for 4 from 35 overs (Gandon 82 n.o., Foster 51, Kratt 25, Moffatt 22; Lefroy 1 for 20). Lichfield won by 58 runs.
London 255 for 4 (Beeby 108, Kendall 103 n.o.; Etheridge 1 for 39, Davis 1 for 43). Winchester/Chichester 133 all out (King 26, Etheridge 20; Cama 3 for 20, Allerton 2 for 13). London won by 122 runs
Manchester v Lincoln: match conceded by Lincoln.