Cestrians bowl out in semi-final

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The National T20 Cup turned into the national bowl out cup as the finals day at the Kia Oval ended in a lottery, with both semi-finals and the final itself being abandoned as the rains hit London.

For Chester-le-Street, it proved a bitter blow as they ended up on the wrong end of a 3-2 semi-final scoreline, more suited to a football match than to one of the most prestigious competitions in the club calendar.

A delayed start to the first semi-final, between holders Wimbledon and Banbury, meant that game was reduced to a seven over thrash, but with Banbury reduced to 27-5 after 6.2 overs the rains returned and didn’t let up for the rest of the day.

The teams then retired to the Oval indoor cricket centre to conduct a bowl out in front of the TV cameras, with five players from each team bowling two balls at unprotected stumps.

Wimbledon only managed three hits out of their ten deliveries, but Banbury fared even worse with just a single strike and were eliminated.

With the Oval ground staff, trying frantically to defeat the elements, the decision was taken at around 3pm that the second semi would also go to a bowl out with the Cestrians opting to bowl first when winning the toss.

Skipper Quentin Hughes lifted spirits by striking with his first ball, but then followed a succession of misses which were only relieved when Andrew Bell rattled the stumps from the ninth ball.

Ormskirk then showed few nerves as they made three strikes in their first five deliveries to end the contest prematurely and progress to the final.

Some three hours later, with pools swamping the Oval outfield, it was bowl out time again with Wimbledon maintaining their hold on the trophy with a 5-1 success over the Liverpool outfit.

The whole process took almost eight hours to complete, during which there was about 45 minutes of actual action, and many were left wondering whether a reserve day would have been a better option for such an event.