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The Road To Lord's

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Round Four - Regional Finals

Continuing the Village Cup online pilgrimage, Sunday 5th June turned out to be the worst day the organisers could have picked for regional finals, washing out a good many matches that await replays on the 11th and 12th. Cropston (East Midlands) are among them, while Gregory Davis again top-scored for Cookham Dean (Berkshire) in an unstreamed final against White Waltham that they won by 14 runs to take Group 25.  But by virtue of having played a week early, there was action at...

Ynystawe Cricket Club

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Group 17 - Glamorgan & Gwent
Ynystawe (north-east of Swansea)
South Wales Premier Cricket League, Division Two (currently 1st)

The hosts won the toss and put Pentyrch in to bat after a three-hour rain delay.  With the match reduced to twenty-eight overs a side, Pentyrch lost opener Logan Jones for 10 after a couple of swift boundaries, when his off-stump was uprooted by Matthew Blake.  New man Tegh Sehgal, despite some wild swings early doors, took a few overs to find his feet and the boundary, but settled into a good rhythm after that as he and surviving opener Stuart Roberts built a productive partnership, keeping the run-rate north of seven an over.  Ynystawe made a crucial and necessary breakthrough when the (very unhappy) Seghal was adjudged LBW to Rhys Palmer for 29, and Palmer promptly doubled up in his next over as Roberts went to wallop a full, straight ball out of the park and had his stumps clattered.  Skipper Todd Wilcox - a centurion in the semi-final against Miskin Manor - and Dominic Grossett rebuilt through the middle overs until the latter was bowled for a quickfire 21 by Andrew Beasley, and with the run-rate sinking towards six an over, Gregor McKain holed out in the deep trying to raise it.  Nevertheless, Dominic Gambles came in and provided some late hitting as wickets tumbled around him, scoring 36 and helping to lift Pentyrch up to a competitive 190-9; Rhys Palmer's four-fer was the pick of the bowling for Ynystawe, and quarter-final hero Alex Fletcher finished the innings both wicketless and the most expensive with the ball.

In reply, the hosts lost Nathan Lee sweeping to backward square leg for 1, and Tom Blake followed him back to the pavilion when caught and bowled by McKain for 8.  Those early wickets, coupled with accurate bowling from Pentyrch, piled inevitable pressure on the batsmen, though captain Carl Roberts came out swinging, and together with Matthew Blake managed to lift the run-rate and build the big stand that the chase required.  As that partnership flourished, the wheels started to come off a bit for the Pentyrch attack; after fourteen overs the total stood at 95-2, of which no less than 22 were wides, and it came as a relief for the visitors when Blake was finally caught in the deep on the leg-side for 28.  But Roberts, completing his half-century with a boundary through extra cover, continued to lead Ynystawe from the front, attacking the bowling while partner Thomas Morgan provided measured support until he fell for 16 with three overs remaining.  Recovering their accuracy and control, solid death bowling from Pentyrch set up a grandstand finish of 20 runs required from the last 12 balls, then 13 from the final over.  Gregor McKain, who had the highest economy rate and had been the worst offender for bowling wides, stepped up to deliver the last half a dozen: keeping his cool, a series of fine yorkers and low full tosses resulting in bunted singles or dot balls put the total beyond the hosts by the fifth ball, and the icing on the cake for McKain was dismissing Roberts caught and bowled off the final delivery for 99.  With an 8-run victory, Pentyrch progress to the National rounds as worthy winners and a new focus club.

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Corse & Staunton Cricket Club

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Group 18 - Gloucestershire
Corse (north of Gloucester)
West of England Premier Cricket League (currently 7th)

Founded in 1895, based in their present home since 1952 and taking pride in bringing junior players through the ranks to their first XI, Corse & Staunton enjoyed an excellent 2021 in which they secured a divisional title.  But having lost their league match against Marshfield the day before, with the hosts topping the WEPCL as a result, they could have been forgiven for going into this encounter with a little trepidation.  The setting, at least, was lovely: around ten miles north of Bath, the Marshfield ground has a dry-stone wall running around the boundary and a field of shivering wheat beyond, though there was good cause for shivering on a cloudy June day.  Corse & Staunton batted first and made it to 30-1 before Tim Dannatt was caught after his huge swipe at the ball skyed to backward point.  New man Edward Goolden made 11 before heaving the ball to mid-on, giving a second wicket to Matthew Cox - the Marshfield bowler who, somewhat confusingly, shared a name with the remaining Corse & Staunton opener - leaving C&S 48-2.  Cox the Batsman did sterling work keeping up the run-rate, taking his namesake for a hat-trick of boundaries in the tenth over en route to a run-a-ball half-century, and though Alex Morgan was stumped for 26, Cox continued to find the boundary through the middle overs with some scything shots well-suited to the landscape, until he was eventually caught at mid-on for 69.  There were to be no more big scores in the Corse & Staunton innings, with Jack Hutchings caught at point for 6 and Bertie Wyatt bowled for 2, though the beefy, bearded Julian Jones added 14 with some solid lower-order slogging, and with nine wickets down going into the final over, Matt Brown and Callum King managed to supply a further 11 runs to lift Corse & Staunton up to 195-9 off their allotted thirty-five.

Going to work with the ball, C&S then struck in the first over of the reply, as Marshfield opener Hamish Walker was caught behind for a second-ball duck off Callum King.  Fellow opener Elijah Samuel fell LBW for 15 in the seventh over to King, leaving Marshfield 27-2, while Calum Burnstone slapped a ball to a square leg trap for 13 in the tenth over, and three deliveries later Hugh Jackson was caught at extra cover for 16.  Bertie Wyatt, who'd supplied those latter two wickets for the visitors, picked up a third when Dave Jenkins was caught superbly by Tim Dannatt diving inches from the turf behind the stumps and snaffling a one-hander - as good a grab as you'll see at any level of cricket this week - and Wyatt and Dannatt combined again to remove Cameron Walker for a golden duck.  With the support of Callum Duckett carefully farming the strike, Jeremy Bonds offered some vital resistance, and the partnership kept the asking rate at a run a ball until Duckett was bowled off a bottom edge by Edward Goolden in the twentieth over.  The end came quickly from there: Bonds holing out for 34, Tom Clist bowled for 1 off his third delivery faced, and a magnificent direct hit on the stumps in the following over from one Matthew Cox to run out the other Matthew Cox for 2 - a close decision that vexed at least as many Matthew Coxes as it delighted - handing Corse & Staunton a comfortable and well-deserved 77-run victory, and a place in the national rounds.

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Two more matches I followed by stream in this round:

In Group 3 (North Yorkshire North), Rockliffe Park hosted Folkton & Flixton in a fairly one-sided encounter.  Though the ball did a bit under leaden skies, Folkton & Flixton had very few troubles batting first, with openers Tom Norman and Will Hutchinson making effortless half-centuries as they stuck at the crease scoring at a steadily increasing rate for three quarters of the innings.  Rockliffe Park eventually made the desperately-needed breakthrough on the stroke of thirty overs when Norman top-edged a ball into the deep and was caught for 67, but by then Folkton & Flixton were 166-1 and firmly in the driving seat.  There was no hanging around from new man Connor Stephenson, who found the boundary with ease, supporting Hutchinson until the latter chipped the ball to mid-wicket on 92; number four Harry Walmsey was stumped for a second-ball duck, but the momentum remained with F&F through the back end as Stephenson tucked into the bowling; the number three looked a dead cert for a deserved fifty, but after straight-driving Faisal Roshankhil to the long-on boundary in the thirty-eighth over, the wiry Rockliffe Park pacer hit back with a full-length bullet that evaded Stephenson's wild swipe (intended to deposit the ball somewhere over cow corner) and shattered the stumps to dismiss the batsman for 45.  Yet the boundaries continued to flow at the death, with Elliott Hatton giving Roshankhil and Daniel Douglas some serious leg-side humpty in pushing the score up to 272-4.  In reply, Rockliffe Park lost the early wicket of Sam Bainbridge when Jadon Wilson got some extra bounce off a length and the ball took the shoulder of the bat before flying to first slip, while another went before the ten-over mark when Stuart Pounder was caught behind off the bowling of Charlie Colley.  The hefty Matthew Wheeler proved to be Rockliffe's biggest asset in more ways than one, making 45 off 31 balls, but he too fell to the spin of Colley as he lofted a catch down the ground to the man running round from long-on.  In his next over, Colley's fine day continued as he dismissed Adam Randall caught and bowled for 2, and Gary Lee became the spinner's fourth victim when he was stumped for 8 shortly before the halfway point.  Two wickets in successive overs saw off the Rockliffe Park middle order, and from there the mopping up of the tail was a simple four-over job, with Elliott Hatton - who distinguished himself in previous rounds with incredible figures of 3-3 against Heslerton and 5-3 versus Forge Valley - taking three more wickets for twenty-two runs to claim his place as the third-best bowler of the regional rounds.  A 144-win for Folkton & Flixton, who could prove a force to be reckoned with in this year's competition.

Group 19 (Oxfordshire) gave us another straightforward affair between Langford and Oxford Downs, who batted first.  Losing opener Curtly Slatter for 6 in the seventh over, Oxford Downs were relatively cautious until the middle overs, and attempts to accelerate merely resulted in a further clutch of wickets falling, leaving the visitors 60-4.  Yet the fifth-wicket pair of Luke Maslen and James Ellwood combined well for the visitors until the latter was bowled for 42, and Maslen threw away his wicket two short of a fifty with a simple lob up to the man at cover.  It fell to captain Tom Costley to unleash a late barrage of sixes that took him to 42 and Oxford Downs to 199-6, before the away side set about an admirable spell of miserly bowling in the reply.  It took Langford twelve balls to get off the mark as Oxford Downs tied down the openers, and were rewarded after five overs of solid pressure with the wicket of James West LBW for 1.  Lawrence Brock picked up a second when Harry Stevens sliced the ball to cover for 2, and at 17-2 after ten overs (with a good quarter of those runs coming solely from wides), Langford were in big trouble.  Skipper Jeremy Kirby mistimed a pull that steepled and fell into the keeper's gloves for 4, leaving them 20-3; after a slow rebuild, Costley yorked Jake Romanek for 12, Aaron Court was caught in the deep for 12, and anchor Tom Stevens skyed one in the air that was caught forward of point for 25.  The home team appeared to have a contingent of local fans dedicated to honking on vuvuzelas in support of their heroes, and the collapse brought a merciful silence to the outfield; for the Oxford Downs players, who were eliminated from last year's tournament when a last-ball run-out left the match tied with Langford having lost fewer wickets, it was undoubtedly a welcome feeling to bowl their rivals out for 121 and secure a 78-run victory.

Full list of the teams confirmed to be through and fixtures yet to be played:

Group 1 - Scotland: Meigle
Group 2 - North East: Wolviston
Group 3 - North Yorkshire (North): Folkton & Flixton
Group 4 - North Yorkshire (South): Carlton Towers
Group 5 - West, South Yorks & Humberside: Ackworth
Group 6 - Cumbria & North Lancs: Cleator
Group 7 - South Lancs: Rainford
Group 8 - Cheshire & Clywd: Alvanley
Group 9 - Derbyshire: Rolleston
Group 10 - West Midlands: Milford Hall
Group 11 - East Midlands: Cropston
Group 12 - Warwickshire: Fillongley
Group 13 - Worcestershire: Dumbleton
Group 14 - Herefordshire & Powys: West Malvern
Group 15 - Northamptonshire: Weekley & Warkton
Group 16 - Dyfed: Bronwydd vs Carew or Cresselly
Group 17 - Glamorgan & Gwent: Pentyrch
Group 18 - Gloucestershire: Corse & Staunton
Group 19 - Oxfordshire: Oxford Downs
Group 20 - Dorset & Wiltshire: Goatacre
Group 21 - Buckinghamshire: Stoke Green
Group 22 - Bedfordshire & Hertfordshire: Redbourn
Group 23 - Essex & Suffolk: Horndon On The Hill
Group 24 - Surrey: Valley End
Group 25 - Berkshire: Cookham Dean
Group 26 - Hampshire: Calmore Sports
Group 27 - Somerset & Avon: Congresbury
Group 28 - Devon & Cornwall: Grampound Road
Group 29 - Cambridgeshire & Norfolk: Foxton Granta
Group 30 - East Sussex: Mayfield
Group 31 - West Sussex: Findon
Group 32 - Kent: Leeds & Broomfield
themaclad likes this post
Stayley CC based in Millbrook, Stalybrdge used to live on Huddersfield Road between Millbrook and Carrbrook and could see the ground from my bedroom window, used to play one a side cricket with a lad called Michael Tracey who eventually made the Lancs 2nd XI.
Stayley 2nd's had a player who ifmemory serves me right had a false lower leg, could only field at slip and batted 11, technically got my first wicket by standing behind the bowlers arm as he ran into ball, batsman not overly impressed
Ska'dForLife-WBA likes this post
Have you heard about the news on Mizar 5
People got to shout to stay alive

Most national round fixtures in the Village Cup now confirmed, to be played on 19th June. Bizarrely, having watched Folkton & Flixton wipe the floor with Rockliffe Park in the last round, it seems that Rockliffe Park have been awarded the win by committee and progress from Group 3, so I guess Folkton must have contravened the competition rules somehow. Can't find any detailed info on it.

Scotland & North

Rockliffe Park (North Yorks North) vs Rainford (South Lancs)
Cleator (Cumbria) vs Ackworth (West Yorks)
Meigle (Scotland) vs Carlton Towers (North Yorks South)
Wolviston (North East) vs Alvanley (Cheshire)

North Wales & Midlands

Cropston (East Midlands) vs West Malvern (Herefordshire)
[Dyfed champions] vs Rolleston (Derbyshire)
Weekley & Warkton (Northamptonshire) vs Dumbleton (Worcestershire)
Milford Hall (West Midlands) vs Fillongley (Warwickshire)

South Wales & South West

Grampound Road (Cornwall) vs Corse & Staunton (Gloucestershire)
Calmore Sports Club (Hampshire) vs Oxford Downs (Oxfordshire)
Pentyrch (Glamorgan) vs Congresbury (Somerset)
Cookham Dean (Berkshire) vs Goatacre (Wiltshire)

South East

Leeds & Broomfield (Kent) vs Valley End (Surrey)
Foxton Granta (Cambridgeshire) vs Horndon On The Hill (Essex)
Redbourn (Hertfordshire) vs Mayfield (East Sussex)
Findon (West Sussex) vs Stoke Green (Buckinghamshire)
The Road To Lord's

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Round Five - National 32

Into the major phase of the Village Cup, with most focus clubs going unstreamed this round. Cropston (East Midlands) continued their excellent run, thumping West Malvern by 117 runs to reach Round Six. But Cookham Dean (Berkshire) set a below-par target batting first and lost to two-time champions Goatacre by 5 wickets, while potential dark horses Corse & Staunton were bowled out 27 runs short of the magic number against Grampound Road.

But there was live action on the west coast of Cumbria as 2013 champions Cleator took on West Yorkshire's Ackworth, with the visitors winning the toss and putting the hosts in to bat. Disciplined bowling restricted Cleator's scoring, and was treated with due respect by the Cumbrians; opener Tom Sharpe took fifty deliveries just to reach double figures, but shifted through the gears well after that whilst watching a succession of partners fall, reaching his half-century from a hundred and four balls, then holing out at long-on off the next. Nine wickets down going into the final over, a productive ten runs from the final partnership of Cameron and Owen Bell lifted Cleator up to 165-9 off their forty. In the reply, excellent bowling from the Cumbrians coupled with some cavalier batting had Ackworth 42-4 inside the halfway mark, with only number three Liam Carr offering significant resistance. But a solid fifth-wicket partnership, lit up by a run-a-ball 34 from Lovepreet Singh, carried the Yorkshiremen up to 98-5 and left them requiring a shade less than six an over off the last ten. New man Daniel Malyan-Walker, with Carr's support, then launched an all-out assault on the Cleator attack, supplying a four and a six with mighty leg-side blows off his ninth and tenth balls, then doing the same in reverse off his thirteenth and fourteenth. Those rapid twenty runs broke the back of the chase, and though Carr was dismissed LBW for 43, Malyan-Walker continued his happy hitting and sealed the win for Ackworth with a perfectly-timed straight drive that also completed his own fifty.

Elsewhere, despite being resurrected once in the competition, Rockliffe Park seemed determined to crash out all over again against trans-Pennine opponents and competition newcomers Rainford. Batting first and making 147 all out, the Yorkshiremen had no answer to Rainford skipper John Dotters, who struck a 79-ball century en route to an eventual 105 that took the game completely away from Rockliffe. Mark Potter won it within twenty-six overs for the visitors, smashing a six down the ground to complete an 8-wicket win and set up an enticing meeting with Ackworth in the sixth round.

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Defending champions Calmore Sports and 2021 runners-up Alvanley remain in the running, the latter facing Meigle, still flying the flag for Scotland after knocking out 2020 semi-finalists Carlton Towers. The full fixtures for 3rd July:

Scotland & North

Rainford (South Lancs) vs Ackworth (West Yorks)
Meigle (Scotland) vs Alvanley (Cheshire)

North Wales & Midlands

Cropston (East Midlands) vs Rolleston (Derbyshire)
Dumbleton (Worcestershire) vs Milford Hall (West Midlands)

South Wales & South West

Grampound Road (Cornwall) vs Calmore Sports Club (Hampshire)
Pentyrch (Glamorgan) vs Goatacre (Wiltshire)

South East

Leeds & Broomfield (Kent) vs Foxton Granta (Cambridgeshire)
Redbourn (Hertfordshire) vs Stoke Green (Buckinghamshire)

Nothing unusual happened in this 2nd team game apart from Yorkshire scoring over 800 and F J Bean son of Mr Bean scoring 441
Have you heard about the news on Mizar 5
People got to shout to stay alive

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