Swardeston CEYMS Sharks scampered 1 off the final ball to win the ECB Vitality Norfolk U19 Club T20 Competition for the 2nd time at Barton Turf on Sunday against Ashmanhaugh and Barton Wanderers Spartans.
The final between the Spartans and Sharks was originally due to be played on 26th August on Finals Day at Great Melton but was unfortunately rained off. Both sides went into the final boasting 100% records in the 2018 competition with both sides comfortably winning their semi-finals against Fakenham and Brooke respectively.
The Spartans, lead by Joe Everett won the toss and had no hesitation to bat first on a sunny day at Barton Turf and got off to a good start reaching 36 inside the powerplay before Swardeston first-teamer Joe Flatt dismissed both openers within the space of two overs. Some tight bowling from the Sharks continued to keep the score down before some good middle order hitting from Thomas Harris (38) and Cameron Marrable (20) helped lift the Spartans to 129/7 from their allotted 20 overs. Wickets were shared around amongst the bowlers; Flatt (2), De Coteau-Spring (2), Clarke (1), Harmer (1) and Fox (1).
The Sharks chase got off to a bad start with Cameron Marrable dismissing Chapman with the score on 6. This bought the Sharks skipper Alfie Cooper to the crease, and he along with Will Kidner began their pursuit of the 130 runs required. It was Kidner who seized the initiative depositing anything offline to the boundary on multiple occasions with Cooper happy to take a supporting role. Kidner was dismissed by Joss Brannigan going for one shot too many in the 8th over with the score on 53 and departed for 38 from 30 balls including 5 fours and 1 six. 53/2 was soon 56/3 with Tyler Murphy removed by Mulhall. Cooper now needed to play a captain’s innings if the Sharks were to get close.
He upped the tempo with a straight six into the sightscreen and continued to punish any wayward bowling. But just as the Sharks looked on top, Beth Harmer was dismissed to leave the score on 74/4 with 8 overs remaining. This bought 15-year-old Elliot Fox to the crease to join Cooper who went into top gear, hitting boundaries on regular occasions before having to retire on 52 as per competition rules with the score on 110 with 3 overs remaining. His innings including 7 fours and 1 six from 45 balls.
Some tight bowling from skipper Joe Everett and Cameron Marrable left Swardeston requiring 5 to win off the final over with 5 wickets in hand. Joe Everett was the bowler; 4 runs came off the first 5 deliveries which left the Sharks needing 1 to win off the final delivery with Fox on strike. With a tie meaning a Super Over, the large crowd and onlooking players were very tense. A full delivery was produced and Fox managed to drive the ball past a diving mid-off to ensure the Sharks secured victory by wickets with Fox finishing 20 not out.
The Spartans have now been runners-up two years in a row after losing to the Fakenham Falcons in 2017. The Sharks have now won the competition in 2015 and 2018.
Alfie Cooper was awarded man of the match by Kevin Denmark of the Norfolk Cricket Board for his match-winning 52 not out. He also collected batter of the tournament by scoring the most runs in the competition. Crispin Clarke of the Sharks received bowler of the tournament as leading wicket-taker.
Lewis Denmark, competition organiser was delighted with 2018 competition. “Once again we had 17 teams take part in the 2018 Norfolk U19 Competition which is really positive and to have a final like this makes it even more special. In the four years the competition has been running we have always hoped for a close final and today’s finals will take a lot of beating in terms of entertainment, tension and talent on show. Well done to everyone involved and special thanks to Barton Turf for hosting at short notice.”
By Lewis Denmark
(NCB Competition Organiser)
Photographs courtesy of Dale Clarke.