As the regional portion of the competition drew to a close, a place in the national rounds awaited the teams that emerged victorious. With the Lord’s final getting closer and closer, there were some fantastic contenders for the GM performance of the round.
In the final of the Derbyshire group South Wingfield’s Liam Mitchell was unbeaten on 92 (65 balls) including a partnership of 123 with captain Alex Mace (79), as they posted 247 against Glapwell Colliery. This proved to be a strong enough total, with Dan Connolly taking 5-28 as they bowled them out for 109.
Over in Group 23 (Essex and Suffolk) the impressive Horndon on the Hill continued their good run. Bowling Bentley out for 94 inside 30 overs, and then chasing it down without losing a wicket. Tom Stone scored the lion’s share of the runs with 76 off 61 balls, ably assisted by Jack Walsh (17 off 57) in the pre-2015 England Jonathan Trott role.
On the whole however, it doesn’t seem to have a been a batsmen’s weekend, with bowlers taking advantage of the nerves associated with batting in a final. Michael Desmond was one such exponent, taking 5-23 for Astwood Bank as they ended Exhall and Wixford’s involvement in this year’s tournament, bowling them out for 99 and then chasing it down for the loss of one wicket.
A good-quality final in the Bucks group saw Bledlow Village post 243 for 7 and keep tabs on Stoke Green with the ball to bowl them out for 202. Marcus Goodchild played a large part in the latter, taking 5-24 for Bledlow and booking their place in the National Rounds.
With a weekend of strong performances, it was going to take something to grab our attention to select a winner. This came from up in North Yorkshire (North) and reigning champions Sessay. Not only did Nick Thorne hit five sixes as he scored 97 off 86, but he also managed to put one of them through the window of a Range Rover – with photographic evidence. His 97 helped Sessay to the imposing total of 289, which was enough to see them through against Folkton & Flixton, who were bowled out for 149. When I next watch Sessay my 2002 Mitsubishi Spacestar will be parked well away from the hitting zone – that’s an insurance write off.
As winner of the performance of the round Will receives a specially engraved Gunn & Moore cricket bat customised to show his performance. Additionally, all the round winners will be invited to our factory in Nottingham, when not only will they see for themselves the GM bat making process, but also the 2017 Performance of the Season will be named with the winner receiving a Gunn & Moore kitbag, including bat, pads, gloves and helmet.