The weather forecast had been promising heavy rain on Wednesday but only a few showers earlier in the day materialised, and by 6pm the clouds were clearing ready for this 20-over clash on the Sporty’s top postage stamp. Shirley batted first, and Humphrey kept us waiting only till the third over for the first and second wickets, when the hosts slipped to 13-2. Lowe bowled their number four in the next, and with boundaries a rarity – only three in the first eight overs – it was advantage Blades during the early exchanges. Farmer took a fine catch in the deep to give Humphrey his third wicket, and when Lowe LBWed a second scalp, Shirley were only a below-par 57-5 at the halfway point. From there though, the hosts turned up the rate and started to find the fence. Richardson’s direct hit run out from an acute angle was a Champagne Moment contender in the 15th, but the game was edging towards Shirley. Their innings closed with a big straight six, their score having recovered from early inertia to reach 126 for 6; still a gettable total at the Sporty.
Blades set their stall out early, reaching 23 off the first three overs, but that was for the loss of Whitear who was juggled and dropped before being caught next ball. Much as Shirley had done though, Blades were doing it in ones and twos without troubling the fence and after 10 overs, they matched their hosts’ total of 57 but for just the single loss. But whilst Shirley had upped their rate in the second half and slowed the wickets, Blades did the opposite. Farmer hit a magnificent 25 for his retirement and Hamer knocked 15, but it was a lack of boundaries that kept the run rate behind just behind that required. A few wickets fell and despite Humphrey’s 14 and Hurst’s unbeaten 13, Blades saw their target beginning to slip beyond their grasp. Needing a hefty 21 for victory from the last over, the first ball went for four raising a few hopes that a historic finish might be on the cards, but that total did indeed evade the Blades who finished 13 runs short on 114 for 5.
RESULT: Shirley WIN by 4 wickets
Champagne moment contenders:
Richardson’s direct hit run out
Humphrey’s two wickets in one over
Farmer’s dived attempted c&b