COUNTIES CRICKET National Trophy opening round-up

Berkshire were indebted to the Lewis brother, Rhodri and Rhys, for helping them to start their defence of the National Counties Trophy with a hard-earned two wickets victory over Devon in their opening Group Three match at Wargrave.

Rhys made his maiden half-century for Berkshire opening the innings and Rhodri, the elder sibling, helped Berkshire to reach their target of 197 with almost four overs to spare.

Rhys Lewis and Charlie Dunnett (31) appeared to have put Berkshire on course for a more comfortable victory when they shared a fourth wicket partnership of 74.

But Lewis and Berkshire skipper Dan Lincoln fell in the space of three balls from Jamie Stephens who then had Dunnett LBW.

Rhodri Lewis, playing his first county match of the season following his recovery from a hamstring injury, calmed Berkshire’s nerves by making 39 not out with rookie Yash Lakhani keeping him company while the last 22 runs were scored.

Devon’s 196 for eight was built on Calum Haggett’s unbeaten 75 with Somerset academy batter Fin Hill (32) joining him in a sixth wicket partnership of 65.

Tom Hinley impressed with ball and bat as Oxfordshire beat Buckinghamshire by three wickets in the other Group Three match at Wormsley.

Hinley, making his competition debut, took five for 48 with his left-arm spin which pegged back Buckinghamshire after Billy Mead, Alex Woodland and Ross Richardson had made half centuries.

Jamie Harrison led Oxfordshire’s chase with 92 from 119 balls before he was bowled by former Berkshire off-spinner Max Uttley who took three for 48 on his Buckinghamshire debut.

Dylan Driscoll and Jonny Cater followed but Hinley, fresh from playing for the Challengers side against Leicestershire, made an unbeaten 29 from 20 balls and clinched victory with a ball to spare.

Northumberland were shot out for 60, their lowest total in the competition, by Lincolnshire who romped to a 166 runs victory at Jesmond in Group One.

Former Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and Surrey left-arm paceman Mark Footitt undermined Northumberland with three for 20 and Tom Currie (three for 14) snuffed out any possibility of a fightback.

The defeat was hard on Northumberland seamer Seb Allison who took six for 40, the county’s third best in the Trophy.

Lincolnshire’s 226 was based around a third wicket partnership of 110 between Tom Keast (68) and Jordan Cook (51).

Cumbria, beaten by Berkshire in the last four finals, began their attempt to reach a fifth with a four wickets victory over Bedfordshire at Keswick.

Former Hampshire opener Oli Soames made a half century in Bedfordshire’s 193 for nine with Lancashire pair Harry Singh (three for 44) and Steven Croft (two for 34) in the wickets.

Freddie Fallows made 60 from 38 balls and dominated an opening partnership of 77 with Sam Dutton before left-arm spinner Archie Houghton disrupted Cumbria’s progress by taking three wickets, including Singh and Croft.

Cumbria captain Michael Slack repaired the damage and saw his side home with more than five overs to spare with a patient unbeaten 56.

Nils Priestley returned Staffordshire’s best figures in the competition – six for 37 – to secure a 116 runs victory over Suffolk at Mildenhall.

Priestley’s haul with his left-arm spin made him the first Staffordshire bowler to take six wickets in an innings in the Trophy and dislodged his team-mate Michael Hill- who took five for 10 against Berkshire in 2014 – from the record books.

Staffordshire piled up 286 for three with captain James Kettleborough making 100 from 108 balls – an innings that included just four boundaries – with excellent support from the in-form Zen Malik (63) and Hill (82 not out).

Suffolk never got to grips with a challenging chase with Darren Ironside (67) and Alex Maynard (32) the only batters to top 20.

Norfolk were the first winners of the day as they beat Herefordshire by nine wickets at Sprowston where brothers Callum and Ethan Metcalf combined.

Callum took five for 18 – his competition-best figures and the third best for Norfolk – to help dismiss Herefordshire for an inadequate 157.

Ethan then made 65 – also his Trophy best – and shared an opening partnership with Sam Arthurton (67 not out) which got Norfolk to within 28 of their target. Norfolk cantered home with 18 overs to spare.

Competition-bests from opener Dylan Church (80) and Josh Kelly (83) helped Wiltshire to a three wicket win over Hertfordshire at Marlborough College in Group Four.

Church shared an opening stand of 52 with Jack Mynott then a fourth wicket partnership of 82 with Kelly which got Wiltshire to within 28 of their target.

Hertfordshire looked set to post a more substantial total than their 279 for nine but Dominic Chatfield, David Burnell and former Glamorgan batter Callum Taylor all fell shortly after they had completed half centuries.

Seamer Will Naish was the pick of the home attack with four wickets which helped to deny Hertfordshire late momentum.

Sam Perry’s first Trophy century set Cheshire on course for a 102 runs victory over Dorset at Dorchester.

Perry’s 112 from 133 balls dominated Cheshire’s 294 for with extras – which included 23 wides – being next highest scorer with 40.

Brothers Joe and Alex Eckland made half centuries and shared a third wicket partnership of 113 but the innings unravelled quickly after they were parted.



National Counties Trophy

Group One

Keswick: Bedfordshire 193-9 (Oli Soames 54), Cumbria 199-6 (Freddie Fallows 60, Michael Slack 56 not out). Cumbria won by four wickets.

Jesmond: Lincolnshire 226 (Tom Keast 68, Jordan Cook 51, Seb Allison 6-40), Northumberland 60. Lincolnshire won by 162 runs.

Group Two

Sprowston: Herefordshire 157 (Callum Metcalf 5-18), Norfolk 160-1 (Sam Arthurton 67 not out, Ethan Metcalf 65). Norfolk won by nine wickets.

Mildenhall: Staffordshire 286-3 (James Kettleborough 100, Michael Hill 82 not out, Zen Malik 63, Suffolk 170 (Darren Ironside 67, Nils Priestley 6-37). Staffordshire won by 116 runs.

Group Three

Wargrave: Devon 196-8 (Calum Haggett 75 not out), Berkshire 199-8 (Rhys Lewis 55, Jamie Stephens 4-29). Berkshire won by two wickets.

Wormsley: Buckinghamshire 253-9 (Billy Mead 63, Alex Woodland 54, Ross Richardson 54), Oxfordshire 254-7 (Jamie Harrison 92). Oxfordshire won by three wickets.

Group Four

Wimborne: Cheshire 294 (Sam Perry 112), Dorset 192 (Joe Eckland 58, Alex Eckland 53). Cheshire won by 102 runs.

Marlborough College: Hertfordshire 279-9 (Callum Taylor 53, David Burnell 52, Dominic Chatfield 50, Will Naish 4-56), Wiltshire 283-7 (Josh Kelly 83, Dylan Church 80). Wiltshire won by three wickets

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