A MASTERFUL century by Neil Sparham and a disciplined bowling performance helped Codnor CC beat Mickleover in an incredibly tense cup final that went right down to the wire at Elvaston CC.
Lee Colledge lost the toss, but was surprisingly asked to take first knock and Jonathan Woolley and Chris Beach opened.
Mickleover openers Preston and Rana bowled tight lines and they drew first blood with Rana bowling Woolley for 4.
Brown soon followed Woolley as he edged one to the slip fielders. Colledge started well for the next wicket, but he also fell cheaply for 14 as he was bowled by Mickleover spinner Johnston, leaving the Codnor score on 66-3.
A partnership was needed and Beach and Neil Sparham began to provide one as they punished every bad ball. Sparham was the more expansive and he quickly reached his half-century.
Beach was more than happy to take the singles and get Sparham back on strike.
Sparham began upping his own run rate even more, which at one point resulted in all but one of the Mickleover fielders being on the boundary.
Beach was eventually bowled by Singh for a well made 67, but with incoming batsman Vincent’s help in getting him on strike, Sparham carried on piling on the runs and he eventually reached his maiden century for Codnor.
He only added three more runs before being caught but it was an innings which brought the man of the match award.
A few hits from Parry and Leo, and the Codnor score ended up on 229-6.
Mickleover didnt didn’t get off to the best of starts, with opener Selby falling to an edge from an Ant Parry delivery.
This wicket seemed to force the batsman into a corner, and by first drinks at 15 overs, the score was only a touch over 40.
However, Johnston and Holloway grew in confidence and built the run rate back up.
By the time the second drinks break came, Mickleover were in the groove.
A bowling change proved the turning point. Darron Brown was brought on and he removed both Holloway, with a fine catch at deep mid-wicket by Beach and Johnston who was clean bowled.
With the run rate at around a run a ball, the Mickleover middle order partnership of Hodgkinson and McKay batted sensibly, being content to knock the ball around the field.
Colledge brought himself on to bowl and the change worked. A superb diving catch at cover by Woolley dismissed Hodgkinson for 29. Tight bowling, and the inability of the tailenders to match Hogkinson’s prowess in guiding the ball around meant that it slowly climbed.
Two more wickets were taken, Singh caught behind, bowled Colledge and Hearne run out by Timmy Leo, but the key wicket of McKay still proved elusive.
Leo was brought on with Mickleover needing nearly 30 runs off four overs but his first two balls were hit for ten.
He recovered well to take the wicket of Razaq in the same over. The final over came with Mickleover needing 14 to win with one wicket left. McKay hit a couple of twos, but the next ball he tried to hit it out the ground, and only succeeded in deflecting it yards away and he was run out.
The presentation was made with Lee Colledge lifting the trophy high to massive cheers from his teammates.