CRICKET: Sleaford CC are crowned Winkworth Cup champions

Champions Sleaford CC.
Champions Sleaford CC.

Sleaford claimed their first Winkworth Cup victory in its new T20 format after a great victory against Woodhall Spa in the final at London Road.

Earlier in the day, Sleaford played Bourne in the first semi-final. After winning the toss, skipper Shaun Morris elected to bat on an overcast morning. Matt Mountain and Tom Shorthouse opened the innings for Sleaford.

Shorthouse set off like a train smashing the opening attack for Bourne to all parts of the ground. A few batting partners came and went for the sheep but Shorthouse carried on to pass 50 with ease. At 82-3, he was joined by skipper Morris who decided to hit the accelerator.

A great partnership of 60 followed with a few maximums being hit. Tom finally fell for a 60 ball 90 at 150-5. Some late order scrambling got them up to 153-8, a competitive score against a decent Bourne attack.

The Bourne innings started with Pete Morgan of Bourne finding the boundary three times in the first over off Morris, but it was Cameron Hall who got the hosts going, clean bowling Jack Berry for 0. Morris brought Mason Mansfield into the attack straight away and was rewarded, having the dangerous Morgan caught by Shorthouse running in from long-off.

Then there was two balls that probably changed the whole complexion of the run chase. The first ball Sam Evison looked to clear mid-off. Morris misjudged the flight of the ball so had to pull off a one handed screamer going backwards – a brilliant catch.

The next ball and catch were even better. The dangerous Carl Wilson tried to play the ball on the leg side but got a leading edge. Morris at mid-off ran backwards at full throttle and caught it at full stretch.

Some tight bowling from spinners Youles and Shorthouse sent the run rate north. Kidd and Dixon from Bourne threated with a few maximums but it was never going to be enough as Bourne were dismissed for 119 in the 19th over.

In the other semi-final, Louth reduced Woodhall for 117-9 from their 20 overs. The reply went to the wire but it was Woodhall who managed to defend the total, having seemingly been dead and buried half way through the chase.

So the final for the 2016 Winkworth Cup was between Sleaford and Woodhall Spa. Morris won the toss and again decided to bat.

In usual fashion, Shorthouse set off like a train smashing nine fours and a six for 48 (20 balls) before he was adjudged LBW off the bowling of Connor Parsons. Matt Mountain was joined by Oli Bean who then put on 21 before Bean was bowled for 10. That bought Andy Hibberd to the crease.

With the run rate still at 10 an over, the two left handers carried on the positive intent and put on 48 in five overs before Mountain found short fine leg for 34. Morris came and went for two before Hibberd registered his half century with two fours and four sixes.

With a bit of scrambling in the later stages and the odd boundary from the lower order and Hibberd, 184-7 was the final score with which the hosts were very pleased. Hibberd finished on 65 not out off 41 balls.

In reply, Sleaford fot an early breakthrough with Morris bowling Jack Timby for a duck. Jack Luffman and Joe Irving looked to threaten for some boundaries but it was the introduction of spin that swung the game in the favour of Sleaford.

Firstly, Angus Youles had Luffman trapped in front for eight and then bowled Anderson for a duck. Shorthouse had Tom Dixon caught at long-off by Mason Mansfield and Youles had Ross Dixon caught behind on the second attempt by Oli Bean for a first ball duck.

Irving continued to find the rope but eventually found Kurt Colyn at deep wicket off the bowling of Shorthouse for 35. At 48-6, Sleaford were well on top.

Wickets continued to fall as Youles dismissed Timby and Harris. Woodhall staged a mini revival with Parsons (41) going on the charge whilst being supported by Matt Haslam (11). Parsons eventually skied a Morris slower ball and was caught at cover by Matt Mountain.

Morris then completed the victory for Sleaford by having Haslam leg before wicket.

Woodhall Spa 127 all out meant Sleaford were crowed Winkworth Cup champions for 2016.

Tom Shorthouse was presented with the man of the match trophy for his knock of 48 (20 balls) and 2-19, whilst Shaun Morris collected the Winkworth trophy from ECB Premier League president Michael Brown.