Worcester stroll to cuppers triumph

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Having won the
Football Premier League and Football Cuppers, Worcester won their third major trophy of 2008, breezing
past Queen’s in cricket Cuppers final.


A match that was the warm-up act for
Varsity Twenty20 was not quite the contest it promised: Queen’s were set for a
mammoth score before being reigned in, and a ruthless Worcester top order sped
to the target with four overs remaining.

 

Put in to bat by Worcester captain Healy, Queen’s openers James Kelly and
Nick Woods got off to a solid start (putting on 26 for the first wicket in five
overs), before Kelly had his middle stump sent cartwheeling for three.  

Alex Bromsgrove,
slayer of St.
John’s
in
the semi-final, joined Woods at the crease.


Three fours in one over from Andrew
Shakespeare signalled his intent early on. The two batsman looked increasingly
confident, and Healy’s decision to insert the underdogs looked hubristic.


With
the score on 64/1, the introduction of Thomas Bryan was a masterstroke of
captaincy. In his first over, the seamer removed Woods’ off stump for 27.

 

Queens’ were panicked.
It could have been much worse: Worcester dropped two catches in quick succession. New
batsman Jonty Strachan was dropped at mid-on off Kunal Desai, before Bromsgrove
was put down on 37 at the same position.


The batsmen took advantage, Bromsgrove
keeping the rate at five runs per over. But for the third time, Worcester lost a wicket just as they looked set to break
away: Strachan was bowled for 9 leaving the score at 92/3.

 

Hemingway joined
Bromsgrove at the crease. They brought up Queen’s’ hundred in the twenty-first
over. With only three wickets lost, 220 or even 240 looked possible. But Desai
was doing a good job of stemming the flow of runs: he finished with 6-0-24-0, Bryan with the even more impressive 8-2-21-2.

 

Frustrated by the
slowing rate of scoring, Bromsgrove was caught behind for 54. At 114/4 off 27
overs, Queen’s could still have hoped to get close to 200. They did not make it
easy for themselves; Hemingway was run out for 8 after a number of risky
singles.


Just when Queen’s needed to up the rate, they were being hemmed in by
tight bowling and sharp fielding from Worcester. When Ecland clipped Bryan through mid on for four, it was more of a
relief than a statement of intent.

 

Accumulation, rather
than acceleration, marked the last few overs. Thomas Carpenter slashed at one
coming across him and was caught behind for 3, leaving his team on 132/6. Another
run out soon followed, before Chris Ecland became the third batsman of the
innings to fail to make his ground, coming back for a risky second. 142/8
became 142/9 soon later: Alfie Enoch was bowled off his first ball.


Richard
Bosworth hit a big one bounce four to long on off Gibson, he repeated the same
shot next ball and was caught. 92/2 had become 154 all out. Worcester were heavily indebted to their change bowlers:
not just Desai and Bryan but Gibson (7.3-0-21-2) and Martin (6-0-19-2) had
bowled immaculately.

 

Defending 154 against
a batting order as accomplished as Worcester’s was never going to be easy. Queen’s had to
bowl them out, a task they simply did not have the firepower to achieve.


Robin
Thompson and Tom Smith started confidently: hitting Alfie Enoch (3-0-26-0) out
of the attack. Jonty Strachan and Nick Woods proved more effective in holding
back the onslaught, but did not look like removing either of the openers.

 

It was not until the
introduction of James Kelly that the batsmen started to look at all
uncomfortable. Kelly, who bowls left arm seam from around the wicket, created a
difficult angle for the right-handed batsmen.


Many LBW appeals were made, none
were given, but the scoring rate dropped. Smith, who had brought up his fifty
with an effortless clip for six over deep mid-wicket, soon fell to Kelly. He
drove the ball straight to Woods at cover, falling for 52. But Worcester were 82/1 off 16 overs and still looking
dominant.

 

Queen’s did well not
to make it easy: eight overs bowled in succession by Kelly and the equally
impressive Woods (7.5-0-26-0) cost only ten runs, as Thompson and Bryan proved
a less dynamic partnership than Thompson and Smith.


Once Kelly (8-1-23-1) was
out of the attack, though, Worcester resumed their assault. Thompson regained his momentum with some
fantastic shots off new bowler Bosworth, and soon later brought up his 50.

 

Despite being
overwhelming favourites at this stage, Worcester did present Queen’s with chances to get back
into the game. But Bryan was dropped in consecutive overs: by wicket-keeper Banyard off
Bosworth, and then by Carpenter at slip off Strachan. After these let offs, it
was only a matter of time for Worcester to claim the trophy.

 

And in the thirty
fifth over, Thompson drove through cover for four, winning Cuppers for Worcester. He finished on 70*, Bryan on 28*. They had reached the target without
metaphorically, if not literally, breaking a sweat.

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