No longer chas­ing Uni­corns: Berks knocked out of Tro­phy

The Wokingham Paper - - SPORT - By DAVE WRIGHT

BERK­SHIRE’S hopes of re­tain­ing the Uni­corns Tro­phy ended when they lost to Devon by 22 runs in a highly-en­ter­tain­ing quar­ter-fi­nal tie at Sid­mouth last Sun­day.

They were dis­missed for 251 as they replied to the hosts’ 273-8.

The hold­ers made a dream start af­ter their hosts had elected to bat first on an over­cast morn­ing at the sea­side venue with Tom Nu­gent tak­ing two wick­ets with his first three balls, and the Hen­ley pace­man struck again with the to­tal on 28.

How­ever, Ben Green and Matt Thomp­son led a spir­ited recovery, tak­ing the to­tal to 126 in the 28th over be­fore the former was bowled by Euan Woods for 66.

Just af­ter Thomp­son had reached his half-cen­tury he, too, fell to Woods, this time to a catch by Chris Pe­ploe. Thomp­son made 53 leav­ing Devon 167- 5 with 38 overs gone.

This brought to­gether an­other two of the Bess fam­ily Josh and Zak, both re­lated to new Eng­land star Do­minic who had helped Devon to beat Berk­shire when they met in the same com­pe­ti­tion at Ex­mouth two years ago. The pair added 58 in seven overs, a stand that ended when Josh fell to a catch by Ollie Birts to give Nu­gent his fourth wicket of the match.

Zak con­tin­ued to pun­ish the Berk­shire at­tack, fre­quently find­ing the bound­ary as he smashed 73 not out off 45 balls with five 6s and five 4s.

Ali Raja bowled Gary Chap­pell for 10 and Nu­gent had Scott Bar­low caught be­hind by keeper Jack Davies to give him ex­cel­lent match fig­ures of 5-52 off 10 overs. Woods fin­ished with 2-47 from 10 and Raja 1-46 from seven.

It was the first time Davies had donned the gloves for the team with usual keeper Ste­wart Davison will­ingly tak­ing over the 12th-man du­ties at a time of his ca­reer when Finch­ley’s di­rec­tor of cricket is look­ing to con­cen­trate more on coach­ing.

Open­ing with Hen­ley team-mate Davies, Rish­ton at­tacked the Devon bowling from the start, rac­ing to his half-cen­tury inside the open­ing 10 overs, but he was then trapped lbw by Josh Bess, his 50 con­tain­ing 10 bound­aries.

Davies de­parted for 32 be­fore Richard Mor­ris went for a sec­ond-ball duck, leav­ing the to­tal on 106-3 in the 18th over.

Dan Lin­coln struck two sixes, but didn’t last much longer, be­ing caught by wick­et­keeper Thomp­son for 16, mak­ing it 128-4. When Woods (34) was also snapped up by Thomp­son, Berk­shire had lost half their side for 149 by the end of the 28th over.

Skip­per James Mor­ris and Pe­ploe worked hard to re­build and it was look­ing promis­ing when they needed 62 runs to win with 10 overs re­main­ing.

But then Pe­ploe edged Jack Popham to Thomp­son when on 20, mak­ing it 214-6, and 12 runs later Mor­ris fol­lowed him back to the pavil­ion hav­ing made 51 off 72 de­liv­er­ies.

Joe Thomas scored 17, but he, Nu­gent (8) and Ali Raja (run out be­fore fac­ing a ball) were all dis­missed in the 48th over, leav­ing the visi­tors short of their tar­get on 251.

This Sun­day Berk­shire com­plete their eight T20 group games with a dou­ble header against Here­ford­shire at East­nor. The Group 2 ta­ble top­pers are two points bet­ter off than their hosts and Buck­ing­hamshire and, as they boast a su­pe­rior net run rate, even one win should be enough to see them through to the semi-fi­nals at Worm­s­ley in Au­gust.

BERK­SHIRE bat­ting: Rish­ton 50, Davies 32, Woods 34, R. Mor­ris 0, Lin­coln 16, J. Mor­ris 51, Pe­ploe 20, Thomas 17, Nu­gent 8, Birts 1no, Raja 0. Ex­tras 22.

Bowling: Nu­gent 5-52, Rish­ton 0-29, Birts 0-46, Pe­ploe 0-50, Woods 2-47, Raja 1-46.

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