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28 October 2014

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Berkshire Cricket

Sameer Patel and Tim Dellor
Sameer Patel and Tim Dellor

Berkshire defeat Northumberland

An unforgettable day for everyone involved in Berkshire cricket ended in emotional scenes of triumph.

Berkshire manager Gordon Child
Berkshire manager Gordon Child

From the first ball of the day, when Nick Denning went up for what looked a close LBW shout, to the moment Bjorn Mordt pulled the ball to the boundary for the winning runs, Berkshire were in control of their first ever Lord's final.

Berkshire's captain Julian Wood won the toss, and bearing in mind the history of one-day finals at Lord's in the twilight days of summer, took the sensible decision to bowl. Northumberland never recovered from this early set-back.

James Morris sprays the champagne
James Morris sprays the champagne

A short boundary and flat wicket guaranteed a high scoring encounter, and the Royal County were confident after bowling out the visitors for 237. Steve Naylor took four wickets, though admitted afterwards "my bowling was nothing special, but the boys backed me up with some good catching". Carl Crowe bowled a miserly ten overs for just 35 runs. The Finchampstead opening bowler Nick Denning, supported by a vocal contingent from his club, claimed two victims. Berkshire's fielders demonstrated safe hands throughout, taking wickets at crucial times during the innings, just as batsmen were looking to get established.

The many ex-Berkshire players in the sizeable crowd of nearly one thousand new the team would need a good start in reply if they were to reach the required 238 for victory. Tom Fray and Jon Perkins put on 87 for the first wicket, before the former was caught behind for 21.

The Berkshire flag flies on the pavillion
The Berkshire flag flies

Bjorn Mordt, who earlier impressed with the gloves once again, strode to the crease at an important time, and while lacking some fluency to begin with, steadied the ship. Meanwhile Perkins was in destructive mood at the other end, and was peppering the advertising hoardings with elegant cuts, pulls and lofted drives. His fifty came off 46 balls, and he went on to make 73 before being caught at wide mid-off, to the dismay of his travelling supporters, who were just eyeing up the possibility of a three figure score.

Sameer Patel
Sameer Patel

The Captain Julian Wood wasted no time in trying to emulate Perkins. He took just a couple of balls more to blast his way to a half century. Meanwhile Mordt worked his way more carefully to the same landmark. With 31 required the captain was caught at deep square leg, giving Paul Pritchard a chance to roll back the years and guide the Royal County to victory. He and Mordt both played expansive cameos to finish the game at a canter, with eight overs and seven wickets in hand. 

The scoreboard before the game started
The scoreboard before the game started

As Lord's finals go this was a convincing victory. Jon Perkins was given the man of the match award for his batting performance, setting the tone for the rest of the Berkshire innings. After a season diving in and out the dressing room to avoid rain, driving miles on the motorway to distant away fixtures, and frustratingly missing out in the championship, winning the one-day final at Lord's was the best possible finish to the season.

Sameer Patel and Tim Dellor
Sameer Patel and Tim Dellor

The champagne corks were popping in the tavern after the game, and at last Berkshire, after their 100 year history had won a limited overs final at Lord's. Roll on 2005. 

last updated: 07/09/04
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