Eppleton Cricket Club’s hopes of cup glory are dashed

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EPPLETON’S hopes of cup glory were dashed by Great Ayton in yesterday’s Sir Hedworth Williamson Cup Final at Whitburn.

With the pitch damp at the start, Durham Senior League outfit Eppleton inserted their North Yorkshire opponents and with early life found by Sura Malinga and Liam Mallaburn progress was initially slow.

Malinga struck a couple of blows to put Ayton on the back foot, but then Pakistani professional Lal Kumar was joined by Steve Pennock and the pair began to exert their influence on the game, taking the score from 26-2 to 142-2 before Pennock was caught on the boundary for 46 after five fours and a six.

With the pitch easing rapidly as it dried out, Kumar took over the show, helping Ayton pile on 131 in the last 10 overs to total 226-4. Kumar reached his century with a flurry of boundaries, before eventually falling for a brilliant 109 which included six fours and no fewer than six sixes. Malinga ended with the best return for Eppleton with 2-38.

Eppleton then suffered an early setback when star batsman Kyle Davis was bowled by Ian West, and they struggled to get up with the required rate after that despite some brief cameos from several players.

Graham Hoban looked as though he could make a difference with 33.

But when he fell there was a steady procession of wickets as batsmen threw caution to the wind in trying to get back in the game.

The innings eventually drew to a close with Eppleton on 187-8, Guy Dunn giving their supporters something to cheer with a breezy 26, but Pennock (5-49) had reaped the late rewards as the bat was flung and some superb outfield catches were taken, while West proved the most economical bowler on either side as he finished with 2-26.

At the presentation ceremony the judges had a hard decision to make between Kumar and Pennock as to who would be man of the match, and they plumped for the century maker given his match dominating innings that set up the 39-run victory.