York CC Vs Castleford CC – T20 Playoff.

York eased into the semi-finals of the Hunters T20 Blast with a resounding 90 runs victory over Castleford at the end of an action packed day at Clifton Park. The home sides early victory over Sheriff Hutton Bridge and Castleford’s subsequent defeat of the same opposition meant the two faced off for a place at the North Marine Road showpiece in early July.
Daniel Woods won the toss and again chose to bat first, this time in conditions more suited to cricket with blue skies and plenty of sunshine for both the players and spectators to enjoy. Charlie Elliot was again given licence at the top of the order and wasted little time striking four fours and a six, 47 coming from the first four overs. The barrage only ended when Elliot picked out David Wainwright at mid-on off Liam Hyde having scored 27 off just 13 balls. Duncan Snell and Oliver Batchelor continued to heap pressure on the visiting bowlers and by the end of the six over power play the total had reached a commanding 76-1.  Batchelor (12) sent a straight forward return catch to Wainwright in the Castleford skipper’s opening over but neither he nor fellow spinner Eddie Morrison were able to excerpt any real pressure on the batsman. Snell was joined at the crease by Nick James and together they advanced the score by 65 through the next eight overs. The prolific opener reached yet another half-century this one coming from only 38 balls but was far from done, whilst James contributed 28 off 23 before being bowled by Connor Hyde in the 15th over. Tom Spearman went the same way for just nine which gave the ever inventive Tom Brooks the opportunity for a couple of audacious scooped boundaries in the final over.  But nothing could detract from Snell who brought up a 60 ball century, with his 14th boundary, off the penultimate ball of the innings. Despite numerous centuries across the other competitions it was the left-handers first T20 hundred, and the first time a York batsman had reached three figures in the shortest format of the game since Oliver Hairs smashed an unbeaten 150 off 65 balls against Harrogate in 2012, it left the visitors needing to score at more than 10 runs an over from the start to chase down the host’s total of 206-4.
Charlie Elliot picked up where he had left of in the days opening match with wickets in each of his first three overs conceding just 10 runs in total as Castleford slumped to 22-3. Amir Ditta rode his luck and after being dropped on 9 striking a couple of boundaries before he was fourth out, bowled by Tom Spearman in the leg-spinners opening over. The visitors’ plight rested on the shoulders of the diminutive Wainwright but two further wickets before the total had reached 100  left the ‘Cas skipper with too much to do. His last act of defiance was a six off Spearman but the very next ball he picked out Oliver Leedham at deep square leg and as he departed for 35 with the score on 100 what little chance the visitors had went with him. That wicket, Spearman’s third of the afternoon was the first of three in four balls for the young spinner clearly relishing the stage. Not forgetting of course it was he who bowled the crucial over at the end of the previous year’s final which saw York snatch the trophy out of the grasp of Yorkshire Academy. On this occasion the climax was more predictable Daniel Woods rounding of the afternoon with the final wicket to finish with 2-21 as the visitors were dismissed for 116. Tom Spearman’s effort puts him in an exclusive club  alongside Harrogate’s Tom Geeson-Brown as the only two bowlers to have taken five wickets in a Hunters T20 Blast match, ironically both finishing with identical figures of 5-30.