Just as in the Rose Bowl Test match, the weather tried its hardest to derail the regional finals of the Persimmon Village Cup last weekend. After a wash-out a week earlier when only three of the 32 matches returned a positive outcome – in Lincolnshire, Durham and Scotland of all places – all results are now in.
The most dramatic finish of the round came in Dorset. Goatacre were deep in trouble at 96-9 in reply to the home team Cattistock’s 124-8. But a last-wicket partnership of 32 between Sam Parish and club captain Craig Gibbons saw them home in style. Gibbons, an ever-present No.11, hit the winning runs with a six and a four off the first two balls of the last over.
In Sussex, Rottingdean (279-5) continued on their giant-killing path. After disposing of 2007 finalists Findon in the semis, it was 2009 winners Glynde & Beddingham (112) who were well beaten this time, meaning Glynde are yet to make it through to the national rounds since winning at Lord’s two years ago.
Finalists from last year, Shipton-under-Wychwood (145-4) had better luck in Oxfordshire. They beat Challow & Childrey (141) by six wickets to extend an extraordinary 16-year winning streak at home. They travel to Wiltshire to play Goatacre in the next round.
The innings of the round belonged to Josh Tolley. He made 150 in 128 balls to help Woodhouses (285-4) beat Great Eccleston (118) in Lancashire. Tolley’s third fifty came in 27 balls.
No centurions in Scotland though and not just regarding the players. Scotland’s regional final, in which 1985 champions Freuchie (90-1) beat Meigle (89) meant that no Scottish side passed 100 in the four regional matches north of the border. Fifty-nine wickets fell in all, at a cost of 8.9 runs each.
Two groups were decided by a bowl-out with scorecards reading like football results. In Northumberland Bomarsund Welfare beat Warkworth 3-2 and in Durham Bates Cottages beat Wolviston 2-0.
And before we look ahead to the national rounds, it’s a sad farewell to the young Grasshoppers of Elmstead (Essex) and Longstanton (Cambridgeshire), both of whom lost their regional finals and bow out of the competition.
David Currie is the publishing assistant of The Cricketer