After the disappointment of defeats for the 1's and 2's, leaving relegation out of our hands for both sides, the Under 19's and the Women's XI both won their respective T20 Finals on Sunday to bring smiles back to the faces of the Richmond faithful.
Our young Women's XI convincingly beat Reigate Priory to win the Surrey Cricket League's Elite T20 Final - a great performance.
Meanwhile the Mens Under 19's beat both Winchmore Hill and hosts, North Middlesex, to become the T20 Champions of Middlesex. Manager Shan Shori picks up the story:
The Sunday of the August Bank Holiday weekend saw Richmond U19's competing in the finals day of the Middlesex U19 T20 Trophy, a competition that began in early June with 36 teams across the county entering the fray. The last four teams standing were Winchmore Hill, Stanmore, Richmond and the hosts, North Middlesex.
With blue skies above, Ally Pally looking on magisterially in the background, the pitch prepared, the umpires ready to officiate and the DJ poised to launch many a tantalising tune, the first semi-final between North Middlesex and Stanmore began at 10.30 am in slightly humid conditions in front of an expectant and eager audience. In a competitive encounter, the fortunes of both teams ebbed and flowed before the hosts eventually prevailed.
By the time the second semi-final between Richmond and Winchmore Hill began at 1.30 pm, the crowd had swelled with the arrival of two further sets of supporters and the bar and BBQ were in full swing. Richmond won the toss and skipper, Dru Shori, invited Winchmore Hill to bat. We had anticipated an early onslaught from the Winch but after the first 5 overs, the score was a slightly disconcerting 59 for 1. The introduction of James Nelson had a dramatic effect with three of the top five batsmen succumbing to the guile of his left arm off-spin. With the assistance of two silky sharp stumpings from Tanmay Thanawalla, James finished with figures of 4-0-16-3. A couple of very decent death overs from Ayaan Desai (2-0-9-1) also helped restrict Winchmore Hill to a total of 149 for the loss of 8 wickets from their 20 overs.
With Richmond needing to go at seven and a half runs per over, all eight batsmen that batted reached double figures with the team meeting the target by scoring 152 for the loss of 6 wickets from 17.4 overs. The highlights of the Richmond innings were a scintillating 33 off 13 balls from Tanmay Thanawalla and an important knock from Eddie Bruce with the second highest score of 24. Winchmore Hill stuck to their task throughout, which meant that critical contributions were also required from Nikhil Malik (17 from 12 balls), Kartik Jain (12 not out) and Alex Zotov (15 not out) to see the team through to the final.
After a convivial tea and with the mercury dropping by a couple of degrees, the scene was now set for the final and for finest from the North and South-West of the county to do battle. Shortly after winning the toss at 4.30 pm in calm and temperate conditions, North Middlesex decided to bat first, a decision they would soon rue as Hurricane Kartik ripped through the top order leaving devastation in his path and finishing with barely credible figures of 4-0-17-5, including a memorable hat-trick! If that was not enough, James continued with where he left off in the semi-final by picking up a couple of key wickets. However, North Middlesex once again showed their resilience, rallying to post a total of 122 for the loss of 8 wickets from 20 overs. In the face of consistently good bowling, Richmond eclipsed the target by reaching 124 for the loss of 3 wickets from 16.5 overs with very calm, composed and capable contributions from Dru (38 from 34 balls) and Tanmay (42 not out from 38 balls).
We last reached the finals day three years ago but this was the first time the club has won the trophy. We played 9 matches to be crowned Middlesex champions with Kartik (13 wickets), James (12 wickets) and Will Knowles (7 wickets) taking the most wickets and with batting honours going to Dru (259 runs), Tanmay (174 runs) and Eddie (117 runs). Dru was the highest scorer throughout the country in all of this year's ECB T20 U19 competitions and led a talented squad which also featured Kyle Seth, Josh Dudley, David Doughty, Toby Dowding, Sandy Mitchell, Vansh Jani, Charlie Nelson, Zac McGuire, Ashwin Bose and Oscar Yeadon. The team was managed by Shan who received fantastic support and commitment throughout the campaign from Andy Dowding, George Doughty and Barry Dudley.
Thank you to Middlesex Cricket and North Middlesex CC for putting on a fantastic finals day which would not have been possible without the officials, ground team, catering team, supporters and the DJ.
Sadly the Under 17's narrowly missed out on the Middlesex title losing by just 5 runs to Sunbury on Monday. The rules of the competition do not allow for any fielding restrictions so having lost the toss and set a target of 154 for victory, we were also up against it as Sunbury posted everyone on the boundary for much of our innings. I am pleased to say that our players behaved throughout with great dignity, something that cannot be said of some of the opposition. Nevertheless congratulations to Sunbury on their win.