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Big-hitting Oli Hairs finds his groove in York Cricket Club cup victory
BIG-hitting batsman Oli Hairs admitted he didn’t find the middle of the bat early on in his swashbuckling 68 not out that helped York Cricket Club to lift the Kingfisher Beer Cup at Derbyshire’s County Ground.
The Scotland player smashed his innings off just 45 balls – a knock that included ten fours and one six – as the Clifton Parkers dispatched Wanstead & Snaresbrook on Sunday to win their first national knockout trophy in 37 years.
Hairs came in with the score at 62-1 and immediately got off the mark with a boundary but declared it took him a few deliveries to find his feet. When he was in the groove, however, he was unstoppable – scoring his runs in just 52 minutes as York became the best club side in the country.
“I couldn’t have done it without the start that we had – and the runs that we limited them to,” said Hairs of the efforts of openers Duncan Snell and Liam McKendry and his colleagues in the field, the pick of whom was Tom Pringle (4-22) as York restricted Wanstead to just 162 from their 45 overs.
“Tom Pringle was amazing and the start Duncan and Liam got off to was just unreal. It was brilliant. There were a couple (of shots early on) that I didn’t middle. I probably should have been out but you ride your luck sometimes.
“I had a little look to see what the pitch was like and then calmed down a bit. You need to make sure you have got wickets in hand and to keep the run rate under control.”
On recording a half-century at a first-class ground, Hairs added: “I didn’t realise it only came off 45 balls.
“The whole journey has been amazing. We just need to do the Twenty20 now.
“For the club, this has been up there for the things we should try to win and go further in.
“The amount it means to the lads is unreal.
“The wicket looked quite green and didn’t do too much but I was watching the county game earlier in the week and thought we were going to be on that one and I wasn’t looking forward to that at all. They had obviously prepared a pitch for a result.
“The time and effort we have put in, and the group of lads who have done it, it’s absolutely unbelievable.”
Secretary, and vice-captain, Nick Kay added that the victory was 15 years in the making.
“It’s a competition that we have always aspired to – to get the legendary status that our 1975 side has around the club,” he said.
“We have lost out twice in quarter-finals, which was disappointing, but you learn from those experiences.
“I think in the quarters and semi-finals this time, that is what saw us through. Having tasted defeat so many times you want it that bit more.
“Wanstead are a good side and they did well to get to the final but, looking round our dressing room, I thought that we really wanted it.
“Form the moment we got on the bus, the intensity of our fielding and drills was right there. Everything came together.”