Indoor 6-a-side cricket

No seventh heaven at lord’s

After being undefeated in their six qualifying matches, Exeter’s men’s cricket squad eventually succumbed to a powerful UWIC side in the final of the BUCS indoor six-a-side competition held at Lord’s on Wednesday 1st February, the culmination of a day of closely contested games.

Exeter began in a group with Newcastle and Sheffield.  Against Newcastle Exeter finished on 134-3 off the twelve overs, thanks to Matt Laidman’s 44 off 26 balls, Chris Webb’s 25 off 19 and Bradley Lane’s late flourish (24 off 15).  Newcastle chased well, led by captain Ullyett’s 41 off 22, and equalled the 134 target off the last ball but with 5 wickets down. Under the official rules Exeter should have been winners on wickets lost, but, bizarrely, the tournament organizer had decided that equal scores would count as a tie in the pool stages.

As Newcastle then overcame Sheffield, Exeter were left needing to beat Sheffield on a better run rate that Newcastle’s to qualify for the final.  Exeter made 121-3, a slightly disappointing total despite the contributions of Webb (32 from 23), captain Joe Barrs (31 from 18) and Lane again (26 from 18). To qualify, they had to restrict Sheffield to 114 or less.  With large and vociferous support from the viewing gallery, Sheffield mounted a chase despite the restrictive bowling of Barrs and Alec Barkett. The run-out of Williams (41 off 20) in the tight final over bowled by Barrs (2-17) saw Sheffield all out on 111, leaving Exeter qualifying by a margin of three runs.

UWIC had qualified comfortably and looked the strongest team so far, so Exeter’s task in the final was formidable.  Choosing to bat first, Exeter again finished on 121 (for 4 wickets), a total on the margins of defensibility.  With both Webb and Barrs run out when set, the total owed most to Laidman’s 41 off 25 and Barkett’s 14 off 10 at the end.  UWIC got off to a racing start with 20 off a disastrous first over, which left Exeter always coming from behind as they tried to work themselves back into the game. After a crucial wicket each for Barkett and Will Clapp, Lane put Exeter back in contention by summoning up the most economical over of the day, conceding only a no-ball.  Even so, Miles (34 off 22) and man-of-the-tournament Harris (23 off 13) took UWIC to 119 as the final over was bowled by Barrs.  After two dot-balls, a three saw UWIC home on 122-3 with three balls spare.

If UWIC were worthy winners on the day, Exeter were deserved runners-up, improving on their semi-final exit in 2011.  A team in which Barrs, Barkett and Webb had contributed experience and solidity and the freshers Laidman and Lane had shown much promise left St John’s Wood with considerable credit as well as a harvest of BUCS points.

Date: 3 February 2012