Sandridge win Herts Village Trophy

SANDRIDGE Cricket Club bagged this year’s first piece of summer silverware with a dramatic, final-over victory against Potton End in the Hertfordshire Village Trophy at Woollams.

In a cricket season blighted by rain, it was no surprise to any of the four clubs competing on a well-attended Finals Day to see yet more dreary, wet weather forecast across the county for the first weekend of August.

However, as Potton End, Thorley, Codicote and Sandridge assembled in bright sunshine at Old Albanian’s prestigious St Albans ground to do battle on Sunday, it became apparent that the weather gods had finally decided to give England’s national summer sport a break.

Earlier in the day, Potton had dispatched Codicote in the first semi-final, first with some savage ball-striking on their way to a total of over 170, and then a convincing display that saw Codicote dismissed for under 60.

In the second preliminary, Sandridge, facing Thorley, the team who knocked them out of the competition at the semi-final stage last year, made it to 122-4 batting first.

A rather sluggish start to the innings was converted to perhaps a par total, first by Paul Rothery (59 not out) with some superb trademark cover drives; then by Lenny Peters (23) and captain Pete Camm (21), the former launching two monstrous sixes over the rope.

In reply, Thorley, despite a solid innings by opener Cruwys (19), never quite looked like chasing down the target of 123, falling first from 35-2 to 53-6, and from there to 91 all out.

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Sandridge lost the toss for the final, and after a 10-minute break found themselves back in the field, looking to limit Potton End to a gettable score.

With Pickard (five) out lbw to John Murphy in the first over, the big-hitting P Rayburn came to the crease, looking first to restore stability to the Potton innings.

The second-wicket pair had moved the score on the 26 when number two Lee was caught by Ian Merryfield off the bowling of David Camm.

A big six by Rayburn (24) was followed soon after by his downfall, Rothery holding a vital catch in the deep off the bowling of Peters.

With the score at 52-3, Gurney and Ginger continued to attack, both scoring singles and fours, and moving the score on to 83 before Ginger (nine) was bowled by Lawrence White.

A bullet of a throw from third man by David Gower to wicketkeeper Kevin Murphy saw the impressive Gurney (34) run out, and after some late hitting by Hawkridge (22) and Hartman (12), the Potton innings closed on 121-5.

Potton’s bowling attack proved a stern test in the second innings, and the Sandridge batsmen were never allowed to accelerate far ahead of the required run-rate. Merryfield and Rothery (17) had compiled 25 runs before the latter was adjudged lbw to Rayburn early in the fourth over.

Peters joined Merryfield in the middle, and the two continued to score steadily, mixing dot-balls, singles and fours for several overs, until Peters (16) was run out, the score at 72-2.

Skipper Pete Camm (five) came to the crease at a crucial time, but couldn’t quite get going on the slow pitch and was caught off the bowling of Gurney attempting a lofted straight drive.

Merryfield hit one glorious six, and with John Murphy nudging singles, the score moved on to 113.

Merryfield (58) was controversially given out obstructing a fielder (113-4), but his Man of the Match contribution had moved Sandridge to the brink of a famous victory.

Nguyen cut his first ball for four which left four to win off the last six balls.

Two singles from the first two balls meant two needed from four but a middled drive straight to a fielder and a cut and miss brought the equation down to two from two.

With tension all round John Murphy held his nerve and lofted a two-bounce four over the bowler’s head to win the match and cue mass celebrations amongst his team mates.