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Belhus Take Title Back to Essex following Lord's Victory

ECB Indoor National Club Championship

Previous Winners (since 2007)

2016 - Belhus (Essex)
2015 - Sarisbury Athletic (Hants)
2014 - Dearne (Yorks)
2013 - Margam (Wales)
2012 - Whitstable (Kent)
2011 - Canterbury (Kent)
2010 - Godmanchester Town (Hunts)
2009 - Preston Nomads (Sussex)
2008 - Havant (Hants)
2007 - Blaydon (Durham)


Weather

The ECB Indoor National Club Championship Finals took place yesterday at the MCC Cricket Academy at Lord’s and it was Belhus Cricket Club from Essex who came out as champions following a day of high tension and excellent cricket.

The first semi final brought together the South & East Regional winners Belhus CC from Essex and the Midlands Regional winners Haverfordwest CC from Wales. Batting first Haverfordwest were put under early pressure by opening bowler Danny Norris, who enjoyed a wicket maiden in his second over as he had Simon Holliday caught and bowled for 8. Ben Field and Nigel Delaney put together a very useful partnership before Field retired on 25. That brought the Haverfordwest captain Daniel Potter to the crease but was soon bowled by opposing captain Joe Joyce for 3. This was quickly followed by Huw Scriven caught and bowled off the bowling of Marin Guilbert without scoring to leave the Welsh side 53-5. Delaney and Ajay Revu moved the score onto 71 before Revu was caught by Michael Fogg off Scriven’s bowling for 9. The returning Field was then run out at the non-strikers end before Delaney was last man to fall, caught by Daniel Joyce for 20 to give Norris his second wicket leaving Haverfordwest all out for 79.

In reply Belhus confidently started in their chase going at 10 an over as Guilbert and Joe Joyce put on 35 for the first wicket before Guilbert was trapped LBW for 12 off the bowling of Holliday. Joe Joyce soon retired on 27 but Fogg was joined by Daniel Joyce and this pair moved the score to 53 before Fogg was out off the bowling of Potter for 9, caught by Scriven. It was left to Daniel Joyce and Norris to steadily move the score towards their target, which they reached without the loss of further wickets, 80-2 with 13 balls remaining.

Whitley Hall CC from Yorkshire took on Exeter University CC from Devon in the second semi final which proved to be a very close match. The Yorkshire side won the toss and elected to bowl first but after the loss of Ross Powell for 6, run out by James Brown, Michael Harris and captain Alex Hughes both reached 25 to retire to put the students in a strong position. Henry Sensecall was then also run out by Brown for 10 before Max Mannering was caught by James Smith off the bowling of Brown for a duck. Kavan Sinha was then run out by Doug Muzawazi for 3 as Exeter University went from 84-1 to 91-4. Harris and Hughes returned and added a further 16 runs before Hughes was run out off the final ball of the innings, a third run out victim for Brown, at Exeter University finished on 107-5 from their 12 overs. Despite not getting any wickets, Neil Longhurst’s 0-11 from his 3 overs showed excellent control with a swinging ball to keep the target down for the Yorkshire side.

The students had the better of the start of the Whitley Hall reply as they took early wickets. James Smith was run out by Powell for 3 before Dave Handley followed him, out the same way as his was dismissed for 9, run out by Harris. Powell then had Longhurst caught behind by Hughes to leave Whitley Hall struggling at 37-3. Captain Sam Chatterton and Muzawazi rebuilt the innings, both rotating the strike well but Muzawazi in particular was impressive. He retired reaching 25 but last batsman James Brown stayed in as Whitley Hall needed 15 from the final over. Chatterton reached 25 meaning that Muzawazi returned and it was his batting performance in the last over, striking a four and then, requiring 3 to win off the final ball he did just that to help Whitley Hall into the final as they won by 3 wickets. Exeter University’s players were devastated but this match was a fantastic advert for indoor cricket played at a very high level.

With both finalists chasing down targets in their semi finals, the toss for the final was going to be important and it was Belhus that won and asked Whitley Hall to bat first. They saw James Smith stumped by Daniel Joyce off the bowling of Daniel Dreher for 0 and then had Dave Handley run out for 9 to put the Yorkshire side on 23-2. Neil Longhurst and Sam Chatterton then both scored well and both retired to bring semi final hero Doug Muzawazi and James Brown to the wicket. Martin Guilbert took the wicket of danger-man Muzawazi, caught and bowled for 6 and then Guilbert took his second wicket as Brown was stumped by Daniel Joyce for 12. Longhurst and Chatterton returned and both scored well to take the score part 100 before Danny Norris returned to bowl the final over and dismissed both men, first Chatterton was caught by Joe Joyce for 39 before Longhurst was out off the final ball for 42, caught by Dreher, as Whitley Hall finished on 114 all out from their 12 overs.

The Belhus reply could not have started better as both openers Guilbert and Joe Joyce reached 25 to retire, but the first over of Chatterton changed to momentum of the match. Chatterton had new batsmen Michael Fogg and Daniel Joyce bowled for 0 and despite his hat-trick ball going for a wide, the final ball of the sixth over saw Norris run out for 4 as Belhus went from 54-0 to 59-3 in one over. Final batsman Dreher was joined by the returning Joe Joyce and this pair once again swung the direction of the game back in favour of the Essex side. Dreher rotated the strike well and it was the impressive Joyce who moved Belhus closer to their target, hitting five 4’s in the process, and it was fitting that it was Joyce that hit the winning single, finishing on an unbeaten 53, as Belhus won the ECB Indoor National Club Championship title by 3 wickets and 3 balls to spare.