Bradfield Waifs 203 beat Stowe Templars 181 by 22 Runs
So to the pressure cooker of a semi-final away to Bradfield Waifs, with the opportunity of making the final of the Cricketer Cup for only the second time in the Old Stoics history.
Bradfield's left-handed opener Charles Russell immediately looked to take full advantage of the initial fielding restrictions, launching Rowling for a big six over long on in taking 14 off his opening over. His risky approach
proved successful and whilst his opening partner was trapped LBW by Rowling without threatening the scorers, he soon brought up his fifty as Bradfield hurried to 90-1 off the 15 over powerplay. However, the introduction of
Lester Smart brought immediate rewards as he first had their number 3 trapped LBW before running through their middle order as he picked up 5 wickets for just 30 runs as he reeled his 10 overs straight off. At the other end, first Harry Wolrige-Gordon and then Rory Lyon ensured the pressure was maintained at both ends with W-G picking up the vital wicket of Russell, stumped off a wide. Lyon's offspin proved difficult to get away in what was the prove a harbinger of what was to follow come Bradfield's turn to bowl. He completed his 10 overs, conceding just 27 runs as well as a wicket thanks to a diving effort by Ben Howgego at midwicket. In the end Bradfield were all out for 203 in the 49th over with Wilson's one-handed dive at point off Harry W-G spectacularly ending their innings, leaving
ex-Hants pro Will Kendall stranded on 49 not out.
So Stowe were set a target of 4 runs an over for a place in the final. Having seen the benefit of looking to attack the hard new ball on a wicket that was keeping a fraction low, Wilson was sent in as a pinch-hitter alongside Ash Pearson at the top of the order. However, the orders seemed to have got lost in the post as Wilson found himself on 7 runs after 9 overs and having seen his partner Pearson depart, lobbed a simple catch to mid-on after the ball appeared to stop on him. Ben Howgego came in at three and immediately looked in pristine touch, clipping a couple of boundaries off his legs and with Wilson at the other end the duo were easily maintaining the required run rate.
The introduction of spin from both ends tied down the batsman and immediately saw Wilson depart miscuing one to midwicket. Then Bradfield got the crucial wicket of Howgego, given out LBW, with Birkby soon joining him back in the hutch, unable to repeat his heroics of the previous round. When Lyon was then run-out after a mix-up between him and Archie Leon, the game was in danger of sliding away fast from the Templars. Cossins and Leon ensured the slide was halted but struggled to accumulate as many singles against the spinners as they would like as the run-rate began to slide up towards 7 an over. Leon then fell miss-timing a pull when the opening seamer was reintroduced leaving the lower order to immediately have to come in and find boundaries with the run rate now climbing towards double figures. Wolrige-Gordon fell chopping on as he looked to hit Bradfield's young seamer out the park, Russell White came and went out stumped as he charged the off-spinner, Smart was run-out by metres coming back for a suicidal second before Rowling fell caught at mid-on with 20 still required.