Chester-le-Street’s national T20 dream will have to wait for another year after they crashed at the first hurdle on the ECB National T20 Club Cup Finals Day 2012 held at Edgbaston.
Liverpool side Northern won the semi-final by a margin of 11 runs, but the closeness of the final scores was not really representative of a match in which the Cestrians failed to show their true form with ball or bat and in the cold light of day had to accept they were soundly beaten.
The Mersey men got the best possible start after winning the toss, opening pair Mark Walling and Stephen Lucas putting on a match defining opening stand of 108 at better than a run-a-ball. When Walling was out he had scored 52 from just 37 balls faced, with 5 fours and 2 sixes, a performance that eventually earned him the man-of-the-match award.
Cestrians skipper Quentin Hughes claimed that first crucial wicket, and when he then cleaned up the new batsman first ball Chester’s spirits were lifted and they managed to rein in their opponents to a 20 over score of 157-4, with Lucas making 61 from 59 balls.
Hughes ended with the best figures in Street’s attack, his 2-26 sadly unable to be matched by any other bowler in a generally slipshod performance with the ball which saw seven bowlers having to be used to try and stem the flow of runs, something that eventually proved costly with 12 wides and 2 no balls providing the opposition with far too many gifts.
But Chester were then handed an unexpected route back into the game when they began the run chase as a succession of dropped catches by the Northern fieldsmen meant that the scores of the two sides at the eight over stage were almost identical. The loss of John Coxon in the tenth over was therefore a body blow, as he had looked capable of getting his team back in with a shout after hitting 32 from 29 balls including four boundaries.
From that stage the two run ‘worms’ went their separate ways with Chester steadily falling behind the clock before the loss of three wickets in three balls with the score on 113 ended all realistic chance of success. The last of those three was Gary Scott who made 31 from 28 balls but never really threatened to take the game away from Northern, and it was only some late lusty blows from Alan Mustard (18 from 8 balls) that managed to narrow the margin of eventual defeat.
In the second semi-final Wimbledon turned in the best team performance of the day to easily overcome Nottingham based Cuckney and claim their place in the final, which then turned into a one sided affair with Northern well and truly wombled after being bowled out for just 91 and losing by seven wickets to the Londoners.