5:35pm Monday 2nd June 2014
By Kevin Hutchinson
NERVELESS York Cricket Club emerged victorious from a thrilling encounter against Chester-le-Street to book their place in the regional final of the Royal London Club Championship.
The tie ebbed and flowed with the result uncertain right up until the penultimate over of the tie at Ropery Lane, where the Clifton Parkers prevailed by eight runs.
York chose to bat first and it was largely thanks to a third wicket partnership of 122 between Simon Lambert and Alex Collins that they were able to post a competitive total.
Lambert and opening partner Liam McKendry made a cautious start against the new ball but when McKendry miscued a Liam Simpson delivery to point and the same bowler bowled Ryan McKendry in his next over the visitors were 30-2 in the 12th over.
Lambert and Collins stayed together for the next 24 overs during which time Lambert reached his half-century from 80 balls to afford York the initiative.
The home side chose to go with spin for the middle part of the innings and with the field spread to protect the boundaries the batsmen were able to take advantage of the gaps to accumulate runs without taking any risks.
With both batsmen looking increasingly at ease seamer Andrew Bell was brought back, a move which paid an instant dividend when Lambert edged behind to wicket-keeper Chris Youldon, the left hander finishing top scorer with 68.
Collins reached his 50 off 85 balls but a second wicket for Bell and a run-out pegged back York to 161-5 going into the last six overs.
Tom Pringle, with 19 from 16 balls, and Daniel Woods, with 17 from ten, helped to boost the total. Collins remained unbeaten on 62 as York closed on 210-7 from 45 overs.
Chester-le-Street began confidently. Simon Birtwisle and Chris Martin, with the help of some wayward bowling, put on 47 for the first wicket, but both fell in the space of four balls.
Birtwisle hit a low return catch to bowler Glen Richmond and Nick Kay knocked back Martin’s middle stump.
Skipper John Coxon failed to make his ground beaten by Ryan McKendry’s direct hit as the hosts slumped to 72-3.
Andrew Smith and Quentin Hughes steadied things with a partnership of 46 and with York’s bowlers contributing 24 wides in 28 overs the hosts were emerging as favourites.
The introduction of Ryan McKendry proved the turning point, the spinner having Hughes caught behind in his first over.
Pringle struck twice in the next and at 119-6 the visitors looked back on top.
The pendulum swung to the hosts as Smith and Callum Thorp added 41 before Thorp, having hit two sixes, failed to clear Collins at long-on off McKendry.
Unbeaten on 53, Smith remained the chief threat with 30 needed of the last five overs.
An excellent throw from Chris Burn and smart work by McKendry ran out Smith but when 13 came from the 42nd over reducing the target to 15 from 18 and two wickets, the tie was in the balance.
Sam Beales held his nerve taking a well judged catch on the boundary right in front of a large section of partisan home supporter to dismiss Bell, giving McKendry his third wicket.
Then, in the penultimate over of the innings, skipper Woods trapped David Foster (20) lbw to finally seal victory and clinch a home tie against Hetton Lyons in the regional final on Sunday, June 22.
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