THE ECB Indoor National Club Championship will have a new champion in 2016 after the Regional Finals saw all four winning teams progressing to the National Finals for the first time. Belhus CC from Essex, Exeter University CC from Devon, Welsh side Haverfordwest CC and Yorkshire’s Whitley Hall CC will do battle at the MCC Cricket Academy at Lord’s on Sunday 13th March.
Belhus CC squeezed past Havant CC from Hampshire in their London & East Regional Semi Final match at Kent CCC in Canterbury, set 108 to win they reached their target off the final ball to win by just one wicket. In the final they took on local side Canterbury Christ Church University CC, who had a comfortable Semi Final win against Surrey’s AZ Woking CC. In the Final the university side were dismissed for 87 before Belhus went onto to pass this score with four balls and three wickets to spare.
Exeter University CC went one better than their academic rivals in Canterbury as they continue their journey to Lord’s thanks to two wins at the South & West Regional Final at Somerset CCC in Taunton. They first eased past Isle of Wight champions Newport CC with a comfortable 45 run win before coming through a close Final against Burbage & Easton Royal CC from Wiltshire. Set 88 to win, Burbage & Easton Royal were in control at 77-2 with three overs remaining but two run outs in the 10th over followed by two wickets in two balls in the penultimate over saw the Wiltshire side slip to 82 all out to see Exeter University home by 5 runs. Earlier in the day Burbage & Easton Royal had a close win as they beat Cornwall’s St Austell by 1 wicket off the final ball.
Edgbaston played host to the Midlands Regional Final and it was Welsh side Haverfordwest CC that made two big scores to help them through to Lord’s. In their Semi Final they thrashed Cutnall Green CC of Worcestershire by 86 runs and in the final they played against Elstow CC from Bedfordshire who won their Semi Final against Huntingdonshire’s Ramsey CC by two wickets. In the final Haverfordwest scored an imposing 155 but Elstow kept up with the required run rate being 74-1 at the halfway point but the loss of three quick wickets knocked their chase and they ended 18 runs short in their chase.
Whitley Hall CC are the final side to reach Lord’s after they won the Northern Regional Final at Derbyshire CCC. The Yorkshire side beat Durham side South Shields CC in the Semi Final, dismissing their opposition for 80 before reaching their target without losing a wicket. In the Final they faced Grasshoppers CC from Shropshire, who themselves beat 2015 National Finalists Cherry Willingham CC from Lincolnshire in the Semi Final. In that Final, Whitley Hall were set 148 to win and left it late but chased down the target with two balls to spare.
The schedule for the National Finals at the MCC Cricket Academy at Lord’s on Sunday 13th March is:
11:00 Semi Final 1 – Haverfordwest v Belhus
12:45 Semi Final 2 – Whitley Hall v Exeter University
Entry to watch the National Finals is free so please go along and support your team.