Hunters t20 Blast – YCC Vs WHG Match Report

For the second year in a row York were involved in a thrilling Hunters T20 Blast Final at North Marine but despite a courageous fight back by Tom Brooks and Chris Booth after the defending champions had looked down and out, it was Woodhouse Grange who collected the trophy winning by just five runs.
After watching his side stumble towards the end of a nervy chase against Harrogate in their semi-final, upon winning the toss ‘Grange skipper James Finch opted  to bat first in the final. Openers Andrew Bilton and Tom Young made a positive start the latter making the most of the early fielding restrictions finding the boundary six times in the first seven overs. Young contributed 39 to an opening stand of 52which was broken when he ran down the wicket to Daniel Woods but was deceived in the flight presenting Tom Brooks with the first of two stumpings on a busy afternoon for the York ‘keeper. Tom Spearman was the hero of the closing overs on the same stage 12 months earlier, but the concession of four consecutive boundaries in the young leg-spinners only over meant Charlie Elliot who had not bowled in the semi-final, and was nursing an ankle injury, was called into action. Any discomfort seemed forgotten as he struck to remove Chris Bilton caught by Brooks off his opening delivery then four balls later had James Finch caught by Jonathan Moxon at mid off for nought. With the score at 74 for three Woods brought Oliver Batchelor on for his first bowl of the season, a move which proved inspired when the skipper held a firmly struck catch at point to dismiss Andrew Bilton for 43.  Woods himself picked up the wickets of Richard Walton caught by Spearman and Simon Tennant, stumped by Brooks, the spinner finishing with three wickets just as he had done earlier against Acomb. Guy Darwin picked up the wicket of Sam Tennant who did well to reach the high wide ball he edged to Brooks, and despite not conceding a boundary from the final seven overs York needed to score the highest total of the day to lift the trophy, Woodhouse Grange finishing on 142-7.
The reply got off to a disastrous start when Charlie Elliot, top scorer in the semi-final was bowled behind his legs by spinner Josh Jackson in the opening over with just a single on the board. Things improved somewhat thanks largely to Duncan Snell who struck five fours and a six during the opening six over power-play. Oliver Batchelor contributed 13 to a second wicket stand worth 46 but was the first of three wickets to fall in the space of nine balls when bowled by Chris Suddaby. James Finch brought himself on to bowl and the impact was immediate, Snell, having got to 31, drove a low return catch back to the ‘Grange skipper and when two balls later Nick James was caught close in on the leg side by Andrew Bilton  47-1 had become 48-4 in the space of five minutes. With the rate required approaching eight runs an over there was little opportunity for Chris Booth, who had witnessed the departures of both Snell and James, and the newly arrived Tom Brooks to take stock. As the overs ticked by the pair refused to panic and some deft stroke play particularly from Brooks prevented the runs to balls ratio getting out of hand. The eventual outcome of the match hinged on the 18th over bowled by Simon Tennant, which began with York needing 24. Brooks dispatched the first ball to the west stand for six and then scored back to back twos and it appeared the trophy was destined to return to Clifton Park but it was not to be, attempting to find the boundary that would have almost certainly sealed the win he was stumped. The stand worth 81 from 70 balls and an innings for 46 from 33 balls drew warm applause but they provided little consolation as he trudged back to the pavilion.  Thirteen were need from the final over and once Chris Booth had been caught at deep mid-wicket for 33 the experienced Steve Burdett held his nerve to deny Guy Darwin the possibility of finding the boundaries required.