Minehead’s Colin Hirons XI Crowned West England Regional Winners
|Author: Steve Hayes||Published: 13th September 2012 09:52|
On September 3rd Minehead played host to the West and Wales regional finals of the Last Man Stands Cricket league.
This was just one of the 9 regional finals happening around the country on the day. The format was a straight knockout competition with the Winner progressing to represent the region in the National finals and the chance to win £2,000.
In the first quarter final The Culbone A Division Champions from West Somerset the Barnyard Sixers (pictured left) took on the Sheffield Warriors from Wiltshire. Choosing to field first the Sixers kept their opposition to 133-7, Nev Weir 4-13 off his four overs. In reply the Sixers wobbled losing two early wickets, but Nick Jones eased the pressure with a well-made 51* and saw them home to the win with a spot in the Semis to take on the Taunton champions the Taunton Academy staff.
The Colin Hirons XI began their quest for a finals spot with a tough fixture against the Bristol Champions the Association. Batting first the Bristol team scored a mammoth 154-2 off their 20 overs, dispatching the bowling to all parts of the ground. In reply the Hirons XI batters made some useful contributions but lost wickets at crucial times. With one delivery remaining they required 2 runs for victory, however could only muster a quick single taking the match to a bowl off. Electing to bowl first the Association missed their first 2 attempts, opening the door for young legspinner Charlie Payne to hit, this was followed by Ian Buchanan. With the score at 2-0 Matt Sully produced another straight delivery to send the team into the semis to take on Wiltshire champions the SK Stallions following their 7 wicket quarter final victory over West Somerset Wildcards the Gunndog Superkings.
In semi-final 1 the Barnyard Sixers elected to bat against the Taunton Academy Staff in what was billed to be a tightly fought contest. The Sixers posted 143-7 thanks to Taylor Bullers 42 off 35 balls. Legspinner Simon Lowe bowled superbly with flight and guile to pick up 5-19, but his team were unable to prevent the powerful hitting of the Sixers reaching the boundary with regularity. In reply the Academy would be relying on their keeper batsmen Brendan Craggs (top 20 in the country) along with James Mason to get them on the way to victory, however when both were dismissed with the score on 42, the Sixers tightened the screw and bowled them out for 51 with Mike Barrow 2-15.
The Second Semi Final produced another tight game as the Colin Hirons XI could only muster 117 all out against a tight SK Stallions bowling display. Their reply never continued the momentum as some tight fielding and again Charlie Payne with 3-20 restricted the Stallions to 107-7 off 20 sending the Hirons XI into an all West Somerset Final.
In front of a large crowd The Barnyard Sixers elected to bat and got off to the worst possible start losing Jack Rich and Jordan Buller in the first over. Taylor Buller (38) and skipper Jos Bennett put together a partnership but at 7 wickets down it was left to last man standing James Weetch to bat on his own and get the score to a defendable total. With some big hitting he brought the total up to 127 before being dismissed. The Hirons XI got off to a good start, but lost crucial wickets at regular intervals. Fortunately they have Josh Barrett (58*) the 130th ranked batsmen out of 26,367 in the World in their locker and he along with Colin Hirons (29*) brought the score within 2 to win off the last over. Mike Barrow bowling for the Sixers took the game to the last 2 balls, but Hirons dispatched the penultimate ball over the boundary for six, and sending his team into the National Finals in Neston on September 22nd.
It was a fantastic day of exciting cricket, and showcased what Last Man Stands Cricket is all about. Congratulations to all 18 teams and 290 players that have participated in the three Somerset leagues this year.