50 Lancashire 26th August 2012 Semi Final by pE0vo1


									                            Hampshire 50+ v Lancashire 50+
                         Sunday 26 August 2012 – Blackpool CC
                          ECB 50+ Championship – Semi-Final

Lancashire 194-8 off 40 overs
Hampshire 137 all out off 34.3 overs
Lancashire won by 57 runs

The Seniors headed North in eager anticipation but with a certain amount of trepidation to
take on Lancashire in their first ever ECB 50+ semi-final. The venue – Blackpool CC, a
ground steeped in history, a bastion of Lancashire League Cricket which has also hosted
many a Lancashire County Cricket fixture and where the legendary Harold Larwood was
once the professional. Hopefully there would be no Bodyline controversy today! As we
entered the lion’s den into the unknown we thought of the recently departed Neil
Armstrong...”one small step for Hampshire..........”

Our resident meteorologist Colin Day, who had been monitoring numerous websites all
week, had spotted a window in the weather for Sunday – blazing sunshine between the
wind and rain – all would be well. Those of us who travelled up on Sunday were met by
heavy downpours as we reached the North West – surely we had not come all this way in
vain. On arrival we were met with a soggy ground and umpires and captains deep in
conference. The teams were desperate to play – the umpires, quite rightly, had their
reservations. Ultimately it was decided to start at 2.15pm with innings restricted to 40
overs per side and Lancashire batting first.

Yours truly took up his position in the giant score box last renovated in 1954 – no Health
& Safety considerations in this part of the world. Provision was still in place for North v
South – what did this bode? The Lancastrian scorer Nick Chamberlain was a devout
Everton fan – we enjoyed a very convivial afternoon taking a trip down memory lane.
(I once played for Everton Youth Nr Lymington c1959!!) A numerate young lad called
Ezra operated the scoreboard – he has a bright future.

Back to the cricket – the Lancashire openers started positively against Keith Harsham &
John Robinson before Harsham struck in the 9th over having Bullock (20) caught behind
by Neill Sutherland. The Lancashire big guns made steady progress reaching 90 without
further loss by the 19th over – the Seniors fielders found conditions testing in certain parts
of the outfield. Eventually Colin Day made the breakthrough having Dearden (30) caught
by skipper Ian Britton. Barry Goodman bowled the prolific Punchard (12) and when Day
trapped both opener Bennett (44) and Woodward (0) leg before, Hampshire were in
business with Lancashire on 120-5 after 28 overs. Robinson then took the wicket of
Whittle (9) well caught by Chris Wheeler. The Lancashire middle order of Bartholomew
(43) and skipper Whiston (11) put on 42 for the 7th wicket before both falling to Kevin
Poulter in the final over. The innings ended with Lancashire’s giant West Indian opening
bowler, Walcott (no relation he later stated) smashing KP for a magnificent straight six.

The Seniors were content going in to tea having restricted their opponents to 194-8.
The world famous Blackpool illuminations are due to be switched on this week but
unfortunately the reply from the Hampshire top order did not light up Blackpool CC.
Walcott steamed in, having Tony Oxley (5) caught in his first over and Wheeler (6)
caught behind in his second. When Day (2) was adjudged leg before to Whittle the
Seniors were rocking at 26-3 and hopes of a final appearance fading fast. Resistance from
skipper Britton (14) ended when he was bowled by Dearden. Andrew O’Kelly (4) skied a
catch to the ‘keeper, Harsham (5) & Robinson (11) fell to fine catches before Goodman
(9) looked a tad unfortunate to be given leg before - the Seniors were in disarray at 106-8.
Meanwhile Dave Griffiths, in his best innings of the summer, was batting steadily and
reached a well earned half century. When Griffiths (50) did open his shoulders he was
well caught on the boundary by Bullock. The same fielder then accounted for Poulter (19)
with a quite spectacular diving catch in the deep – fitting to win any semi-final as the
Seniors were dismissed for 137 and Lancashire advanced to a final against either
Warwickshire or Derby.

After a few commiseration beers in the bar, wishing our opponents well in the final, we
then met up at an Italian restaurant in a quieter part of town, for an end of term meal – the
centre of Blackpool seemed to resemble the Wild West with a strong police presence to
cover all eventualities!!

The gathering included our travelling support, most especially respected Chairman John
Rickard & Geoff Prouton plus other wives, partners & siblings all there to sample the
Blackpool experience. We reflected on what might have been, disappointed with our
batting performance which on another day may have taken us much closer to our target.
Nevertheless, we were all agreed that we should be proud of our achievements this season
and that there was nothing to fear at this stage of the competition. A strong team ethos has
been evident this campaign with much credit going to Messrs Britton & Oxley.
Prospective recruits are nearing the magic age and there is no reason why Hampshire
Seniors cricket should not become still stronger – the benchmark has been set and the
future looks good.

Dick Batchelor – Scorer

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