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York's National Club Championship glory bid has been ‘years in the making’
York skipper Dan Woods rescues his side with the bat and then takes 6-14 to skittle Bamford Fieldhouse
YORK Cricket Club are on the threshold of their greatest achievement in almost four decades after reaching the final of the ECB National Club Championship.
A 69-run victory over Bamford Fieldhouse in the semi-final at Clifton Park on Sunday booked the club a final date with Wanstead & Snaresbrook at Derbyshire’s County Ground on Sunday, September 16.
It is 37 years since York last reached the final of the prestigious knockout competition, when one of their most celebrated sides beat Blackpool to lift the then DH Robins Cup in 1975.
Long-serving vice-captain and secretary Nick Kay declared: “It is massive for the club. This has been years in the making.
“A few of us have been here for 20 years and it’s been a lot of hard work. It has fulfilled a few ambitions, but it all means nothing if we go to the final and lose. That would be horrible.”
He added: “We are there on merit. We’ve beaten all the top sides to get there – from the North East, the North West, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire.
“We’ve proved we are good enough to be there. We’ve played some good cricket.”
To reach the final, York had to overcome a Lancashire-based side featuring former England Test duo Chris Schofield and Warren Hegg.
But skipper Dan Woods produced a man of the match-winning display in taking 6-14 from 5.3 overs to clinch a comfortable victory.
The hosts having won the toss, York openers Duncan Snell and Liam McKendry found the early overs tough against Melbourne Austin and Martin Smith. After battling their way to 21, Snell was bowled by Smith.
Number three Oliver Hairs forced a change, his aggressive strokeplay leading to the removal of Austin from the attack after he conceded 23 runs from two overs. Peter Roberts fared no better, going for 22 in his first over.
Hairs and McKendry added 84 in 12 overs and, at 105-1 off 21 overs, momentum was with the batting side.
However, Schofield, who was playing first-class cricket with Surrey until this season, ripped through York’s middle order to take 5-22.
McKendry was stumped for 33 and Schofield got an lbw decision against Alex Collins to claim his second victim in the space of four balls.
Hairs was adjudged lbw in his next over and another lbw against Ryan McKendry reduced York to 124-5. Schofield’s fifth wicket was an excellent low return catch to dismiss Simon Lambert.
Kay and Steven Crossley managed to negotiate his final two overs, but Smith then enduced a low drive by Kay to mid on.
York went 15 overs without a boundary until Tom Pringle’s towering straight six off Smith.
Crossley was the victim of a low diving catch by Roberts at cover before Woods and Pringle combined to add 26, 17 of those coming from the final over of the innings to give the hosts a final total of 196-8.
Bamford began cautiously and only two runs had come from the first four overs when Snell had Roberts caught behind, but ex-Gloucestershire player Grant Hodnett and Schofield crashed 27 off the next three overs.
Kay then came on to claim both batsmen in four balls with his mix of seam and swing, but heavy rain halted play for more than an hour and a half with the score on 29-3.
The revised target was 189 from 39 overs and Michael Stevens and Hegg were held in check as Kay and Snell proved miserly, conceding 20 and 22 respectively from their eight-over spells.
Woods then entered the attack to devastating effect. The off-spinner picked up two wickets in his first over, those of Stevens and Smith.
At 74-5 much much rested on the experienced Hegg, but he was trapped lbw by Woods having made 27 from 65 balls and his side were all out for 120 in the 34th over.
Yesterday, York went top of the Yorkshire League by four points as they beat Doncaster by six wickets and former leaders Harrogate saw their game against Castleford washed out.
Don’t miss The Press tomorrow for a full report.