To set the scene, it’s 8.30pm on a fine summer’s evening at Hursley Park cricket ground and the sun is setting behind the trees. St Cross are batting second chasing Hambledon’s modest score of 100, and are on course for victory. It’s the 17th over and they have just hit a boundary to leave just 11 runs needed for victory off the final 21 deliveries. The odds are heavily stacked against Hambledon. With 3 overs to go and only 9 runs required, skipper Rory Prentice makes his last bowling change of the day bringing on Jack Dyer. He makes an immediate impact with a fine maiden. Two overs to go, 9 runs needed for victory and the odds still on St Cross. Hambledon paceman JJ Brown follows up with another good over yielding a wicket for just four runs. Final over and St Cross need 5 runs to level the scores and win the match on fewer wickets lost. Jack Dyer continues, but starts the over with a wide to raise the tension further. Four to win off six. Three quick singles leaves the match hinging on the last ball. St Cross need a single, Hambledon need a wicket or a dot ball. Rory brings the field in, Jack Dyer bowls, the swinging bat fails to connect, the batsmen run but wicketkeeper Eddie Lewis is too quick and runs out the approaching batsman. Jubilation consumes the Hambledon players, coaches and parents. The Dons have won the Cup.
Earlier in the evening fine bowling and catching by St Cross had restricted Hambledon to 100 for 8 off their 20 overs. The batting highlights were Rory Prentice’s 33 not out, and a last wicket partnership of 29 by Jack Dyer and Hew Richards to bring up the 100 off the last ball, which was a great boost for the team at the interval. Hambledon’s bowling was equally tight (only 5 wides/no balls) with Giles Dibden taking 2 wickets, and Rory Prentice and JJ Brown one each. Rory Prentice was named ‘player of the match’, and he also lifted the cup at the post match presentation.
A fantastic match and occasion, with Hambledon’s strength in depth, team spirit and determination seeing them through to the next National round on 26th July.