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Bexley win thriller at Lord’s
Bexley win thriller at Lord’s

Lord’s hosted a National Club Championship final thriller when Bexley and Nantwich met. The game went all the way to the final ball before the team from Kent claimed a victory by one run.

Although they lost their top run scorer this season, Aiden Griggs, early Shaun Evans got Bexley off to a flyer with his fifty coming up off just 37 deliveries. However, both he and George Haley were dismissed with the score on 92, Haley scoring 21 and Evans 56. Adam Ball followed soon after as Ray Doyle caused them all sorts of problems.

Matt Stiddard hung around for a while, but it was a partnership of 73 between Ben Aldred and Calum Basey that laid the foundations for Bexley to post a competitive score. Doyle returned and removed them both, but not until they had ruined his figures after he had taken 2 for 4 in his first four overs. Basey scored 27, and Aldred a hugely entertaining 68.

Captain Adam Riley played a cameo knock of 18 not out from 13 deliveries as Bexley finished on 241 for 8, Doyle ending with 4 for 49.

In the Cheshire team’s response, Ball removed captain Doyle, caught behind by Aldred, for a golden duck before Marcus Stables joined Chis Simpson and they put on 56 together, enjoying the short boundary on one side. Riley made the breakthrough in the 14th over, trapping Simpson Leg Before Wicket.

Stables went on to make 51 before being run out when Luke Robinson drove straight back at Riley, and he deflected it onto the stumps. Jake Pearson didn’t hang around for long before being bowled by Freddie Foster, but at the halfway stage, at 95 for 4 and with Robinson going well, Nantwich’s target was still very reachable.

Robinson looked to have everything under control until Riley brought Ball back. The batter fancied the short boundary but could only hoist it straight into the air for Anish Patel to hold his nerve to take an excellent catch and Robinson was out for 75.

It was then up to Spencer Byatt to hold the innings together while wickets fell at the other end.

Philip Stockton went for a run that was never there and was sent back but could not beat Aldred’s throw to Evans. Oliver Griffiths then tried to hit Jas Singh over the top, but Evans made a brilliant catch in front of the pavilion.

However, he found a willing ally in Scott Wardley, and they went into the last two overs needing thirteen to win. Ball knocked over Yardley in the fifth ball of the penultimate before finishing with 3 for 37 from his eight overs, despite one going for 17. That left Nantwich needing eight off the final over, although a tie would have seen them champions on a boundaries count.

Byatt turned down a single off the first ball of Evans’ over before scoring two off the second. When he reverse swept the third ball to the short boundary for four, they looked home and hosed but he could not find a gap off the next two balls. He could only hit the final ball straight back to Evans, who ran out Jimmy Warrington leaving Byatt on 59 not out.

Aldred just pipped Evans for man of the match award before Bexley were handed the trophy and celebrate with their supporters.

Pictures supplied by Andy Clay.