Agonising Cricket defeat allows UoN to retain Varsity Championship

With the 2014 Varsity Series level at 7-7, and with Clifton's cricket pitch basking in sunlight, the stage was set for one final fixture on Friday 06 June - where winner took all!

UoN won the toss and elected to bat first. The decision looked sensible as opening pair Hall and Merritt found early joy down the leg side, knocking out 16 in the first 2 overs. There was no panic from a confident NTU side as Carl High restricted UoN to just a single in the 3rd before Cal Storey claimed first blood in the 4th, clean bowling a helpless Hall.

Halls replacement at the crease Edwards donned a gung-ho approach, hitting 25 of his first 10 balls, though he was lucky to be dropped by NTU's Sharpe with what should have been an easy catch in the 8th over. However, Sharpe's moment to forget was quickly forgotten. In the next over, he took Edward's off-stump before drawing a hit from Merritt that was taken comfortably on the boundary by Dan Wood. UoN's middle order then failed to make any significant inroads as Pringle, Clark, Rawlinson and a stubborn Fleming all lost their wickets softly.

With UoN now 109-7 and only the tail-enders left to bat, the job for NTU's bowlers should have been simple. But a late stir from Patel and Percival notched the score up to 138. The last laugh of the innings went to NTU's Carl High though. Having boastfully claimed he was on for a hat-trick before bowling the final over, he delivered exactly that with the last 3 balls. Percival, Patel and Bold (for a golden duck) were all dismissed in succession by High, to leave UoN 138 all out after 20 overs.

A target of 139 and perfect conditions for batting gave NTU confidence going into the 2nd innings, but the hosts made a painfully slow start. Opening batsman Ben Payne was dismissed after just six balls, though exactly what for baffled the entire NTU team. And with three runs from the next two overs, NTU's figures of 7-1 did not make good reading. Up stepped Ben Shepperson, with Ikram and subsequently Tom West as batting partners, Shepperson smashed his way through the UoN attack. four sixes, including three in one over against UoNs Patel, bought Shepperson his half century off 43 balls. When he was finally taken lbw by Rawlinson for 54, NTU's platform was built.

Tension in the crowd started to build heading into the final five overs though, with Sharpe and big Dave Lamb at the crease, NTU's run rate started to slow as the UoN bowlers frustrated them. The NTU men endeavoured constantly with Lamb sending the ball out the ground on two separate occasions, to keep NTU in touch. The drastic improvement in UoN's economy had NTU worried for the first time and as the balls ticked by it was obvious this one was going to the wire.

Finally, with one ball left to bowl, NTU were four behind. A boundary was enough for a five wicket win and the Varsity Championship. Agonisingly for NTU though, Lamb could only manage the single and a jubilant following from UoN raced onto the pitch to celebrate their retention of the Varsity Crown.

NTU Coach Paul Maynard-Mason said "It was always going to be a tight game, right from ball one, they were two even teams, it could have gone either way. We held our nerve well, but it's always the case in T20 cricket that you can get that last ball situation were something special wins it. Unfortunately we just couldn't manage that today."

Final Score:

UoN 138 all out. NTU 135-5. UoN win by three runs.
University of Nottingham; 138 All Out. (After 20 overs)
Nottingham Trent University; 135-5. (After 20 overs)

(Original match content sourced from Adam Hemingway. Please email us for further information on the series.)

Agonising Cricket defeat allows UoN to retain Varsity Championship

Published on 11 June 2014
  • Category: Sport

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