With the weather affecting the majority of first-round fixtures, May 6 saw the Village Cup start for most sides. The opening round pitted some heavyweights against each other, and the number of hundreds scored across a sun-kissed bank holiday weekend was nothing short of remarkable. Below is a round-up of some of the more interesting/run-filled/action-packed clashes of the round.
Worlington motor past Bentley – Essex & Suffolk
Worlington v Bentley
A 55-run win for Worlington didn’t tell the whole story in their tie against Bentley. Playing at home, on what is in some corners a small ground, Worlington posted 327 for 4 from their 40 overs. The damage was chiefly done by opening pair Jimmy Watson and Graham Ford, who put on a club-record stand of 308 with Watson finishing on 189 and Ford 111. Watson was following up from the 86 he hit in the league the previous day. His 189, which one would be hard-pressed to beat, was enough to earn him the Performance of the Round award, as chosen by Village Cup sponsor Gunn & Moore. Worlington host Stradbroke in the next round.
Horndon-on-the-Hill v Belhus
When these two met last year at Belhus’ ground, the result was a match aggregate which had never been seen in the Village Cup. Horndon-on-the-Hill knocked off Belhus’ 323 for 6 just two down. The 648 runs scored on the day surpassed the previous record aggregate by 26 runs. This year the teams met in reverse and, while the volume of runs was not quite in the same parish, the winning margin of five runs suggests it would have been a cracking game to watch. Belhus were victors this year, surely repairing some of the hurt associated with failing to defend 323! They succesfully defended 197 this year, Horndon ending stranded on 192 for 7. Belhus travel to Village Cup new-comers Chappel.
Kirb your enthusiasm – Oxfordshire
Langford v Horley
A high-scoring game saw Langford chase down Horley’s imposing 262 for 1 with 10 balls to spare. Dave Taylor had scored 129 not out for Horley after putting on 200 with his opening partner Nick Tarrant. He was run-out for 87 by Jeremy Kirby. Such an imperious total will have felt better still when Langford had reached 53 for 4. Kirby came in at No.6 and the game change irreparably for Horley. Kirby had already overtaken his captain Tom Stevens – who had watched his team fall around him after opening the batting – when the skipper departed for 40. Kirby was on 55 with the score at 130 for 5. Kirby continued to slay the bowlers, with Nick Tarrant again on the receiving end of Kirby’s exploits – his seven overs going for 64 runs. Kirby finished on 138 not out from 83 balls including 13 fours and six sixes. Their four-wicket win sees them travel to hot-shots Aston Rowant in round 2.
Run-fest in Bucks
Bledlow Village v Mursley
Last year’s semi-finalists Bledlow ensured themselves a spot in future Village Cup annuals with a 299-run victory over Mursley. Bledlow posted 413 for 4 from their 40 overs. Four batsmen passed fifty with Matt Bolton finishing on 130 not out. Mursley mustered 114 in reply. Bledlow face Dinton in round 2, who dismissed Aston Clinton for 43 after posting 270.
Jugs all round with four centurions in Worcestershire tie
Cookley v Hagley
Matt McCann and Paul Thomas were the first to celebrate three figures while batting for Cookley on their home ground. The pair scored 119 and 109 not out respectively on the way to helping their side post a daunting 270 for 7. Their efforts were all in vain by the end of Hagley’s innings however, with Michael Stead and Paul Morgan throwing the counter-punches on their way to scores of 112 and 106.
Hampshire titans battle it out in early rounds
Sparsholt v Liphook & Ripsley
These two sides met at the regional final stage last year, having brushed all opposition aside. To meet again in the first round was always going to be interesting and the two evenly matched teams again produced a thrilling tie. Like last year, Liphook & Ripsley were victorious, this time by a margin of just seven runs, defending their 186. They visit Hursley Park in round 2.
Last man stands – S Lancs
Sedgwick v Daisy Hill
Daisy Hill’s 231 proved too much for Sedgwick on the day but thoughts must go out to Sedgwick’s No.6 Chris Evans. Coming in at 15 for 4 in the 10th over, he departed in the 36th having scored 105. This included a stand of 103 with his partner at No.11 who scored just 10, though he was the only person other than Evans to reach double figures. They fell valiantly for 167 and a 64-run defeat.