Shenley Village have become Hertfordshire County’s first side ever to win the ECB’s Vitality U15 T20 National Club Competition, and the team, only the second ever in the tournament’s 44 years to win the event at U13 and U15.
1,451 clubs entered this year, the final four being Burnopfield, (Durham) who played Taunton Dean, (Somerset) in one semi-final, (won by the latter who chased down 126 for the loss of 3 wickets in 17 overs), and Walmley, (Warwickshire) who played Shenley Village.
Given the amount of rain, which finally stopped at 7:30am, the 10/12 groundsmen at hosts Rugby School did an incredible job to get both grounds fit for a 10:30am start Monday. Both tracks were quite damp but as the ECB had no reserve days, the toss, (which thankfully Shenley won), went ahead at 10am as planned.
Shenley struck early to remove Walmley’s, dangerous, (Bunbury), opener Sachin Dubb for 4. Their other Bunbury player, (Jason Clarke), made 22 as Shenley bowled tightly and fielded brilliantly, (3 run-outs), to restrict Walmley to 82 for 9 off 20 overs, the pick of the bowlers being Zahid Nasser who took 2 for 4 off 2 overs. 19 runs from Graydon Orchard, a superbly patient, (given the conditions), 27 from Ben Beesley and a belligerent 24 from Will Poynton at the death saw Shenley home by 6 wickets with just two balls to spare.
Taunton Dean won the toss in the final and put Shenley into bat. Graydon Orchard with 28 off 24 balls, Ben Beesley with 21, Oliver White with 40 off 32 balls and Tobias Elliott with 49 off 29 balls meant Shenley posted a very demanding 160 on a drying wicket but still, quite wet outfield.
Toby Elliott followed-up his batting with an equally hostile 3 overs for only 9 runs, but it was Oliver White’s 4 for 15 off his 4 overs that effectively ended the final as a contest, Shenley bowling Taunton Dean out for exactly 100 in 18 overs.
64 parents, grandparents and boys all went back to the White Horse in Shenley which is a testimony to the amazing tight bond that has grown amongst the boys and their parents since this adventure started in back in 2012, during which these boys made 7 Hertfordshire County Cup Finals Days in a row, winning 5!