We’re champions – loss irrelevant for Thriplow

DESPITE losing to second place rivals Camden II, Thriplow gained the bonus points they needed to take the CCA Senior League Two title. Knowing Thriplow needed only three points, Camden were considering a declaration if they had to bat first, but had to ab

DESPITE losing to second place rivals Camden II, Thriplow gained the bonus points they needed to take the CCA Senior League Two title.

Knowing Thriplow needed only three points, Camden were considering a declaration if they had to bat first, but had to abandon this plan when a detailed examination of the league rules showed this was outlawed.

However, this all became irrelevant when they won the toss anyway and put Thriplow into bat.

Thomas and Nutt immediately took advantage of the damp track and made life difficult for Dickon Turner and Martin Craze, as they set off in pursuit of the 120 runs which would give Thriplow the points they needed.

Following one pulled boundary in five overs Turner (4) was the first to fall to a sharp bat-pad catch at short leg off Nutt.

Paul Staley then spent a largely fruitless seven overs attempting to lay a bat on Thomas, who was cutting the ball both ways.

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After smashing one enormous straight six off one that was finally pitched up, Staley's innings was ended when he was caught behind for 12.

Matt Ayre looked very comfortable against the pace men and stroked the ball on both sides of the wicket.

However the introduction of young leg spinner Dixon left him all at sea and he was caught at slip for nine.

This left Thriplow 45-3 off 16 overs and Camden sensed an upset could be on the cards.

However, the last Thriplow title win was secured by a 10 wicket victory led by the Craze brothers and with Andy now joining Martin, Thriplow hoped for a repeat performance.

Andy was quickly into his stride, Dixon holding no fears for him as he treated the bowler to a master class in footwork, judging the length to perfection and punishing anything short or over- pitched.

Martin also started to find the middle of his bat and the run rate grew.

Finally with the score on 119, Wells bowled a leg side full toss which Andy Craze gleefully smote high over the square leg boundary to reach his own 50 and give Thriplow the three points they needed for the title.

The focus now was on setting a competitive total, and Martin had just reached a well-earned half century when he failed to clear mid-off and was dismissed for 53.

Andy Craze (74) also fell, skying one for the bowler to catch and the last few overs saw a flurry of runs and wickets, Chris Viner (12 not out) and Cameron Selkirk (15) making the only significant contributions.

Thriplow finished on 190-9, a better score than had seemed likely after their early troubles but one that would need a good bowling performance on a track that was becoming easier all the time.

Nigel and Andy Morris opened up and when O'Grady was bowled by Nigel for 10, Thriplow had got the early breakthrough they wanted.

However Shields and Sutton settled in and, apart from a sharp chance that Neild failed to get two hands to at mid-on, they pushed the score on.

Despite rotating the bowling it was not until the 19th over that Shields fell, gloving Turner to Andy Craze for 44.

Sutton was then bowled by Chris Viner to leave the home side 115-3 and Thriplow with a sniff of victory.

But Handscomb and Brown repeated the steadiness shown earlier and although the runs were restricted, particularly by Viner, who bowled an excellent spell of 9-0-25-1, the rate was not sufficiently challenging.

Handscomb made 53 not out and Brown 36 not out as Camden reached their target in the 43rd over to gain some revenge for conceding the title earlier in the day.

For Thriplow it was a disappointing way to finish but they could reflect on some excellent performances earlier in the season which had demonstrated their true class.

The title wining margin over Camden was only actually three points though so the Craze brothers' partnership had been decisive.

The news got better for the club as it filtered through that the second team had recovered from an early collapse chasing 177 and turned 45-6 into an agonising 175 all out, young Richie Turner just failing to hit the required winning boundary off the final ball.

The defeat seemed to have thrown away their own title wining plans until news came through that rivals Abington II had been rained off and hence the maximum 10 points achieved in defeat left Thriplow II Junior League 3SA champions by the even closer margin of one point.

The recovery runs scored by Duncan Walker (55), Martin Dabnor (35) and John Collins (25 not out) were vital to secure the full batting return, as were the five wickets taken by Ally King.

With the juniors also having had an excellent season, Thriplow can retire for the winter in good shape with a Senior League and Junior League championship shield to add to the clubhouse wall.

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