After looking in control for most of tonight’s McCain Cup final at Flixton, Staxton B ended up relying on two of their younger players to see them to a three-wicket win against Ebberston B.
Chasing 113 to win Staxton only needed 30 runs to win from the final six overs, but they slumped to 101-7 and with two overs remaining it looked as if Ebberston may pull off a shock win in the final of the cup for AndyHire Evening League division C sides.
But teenage bowlers Kingsley Gray, 11no, and Josh Grover, 5no, had other ideas, the former hitting two cracking fours, one straight drive over the top and a delicate square cut to put them within touching distance of victory.
Grover then struck a powerful four through the covers past the Ebberston fielders to wrap up the win and spark the celebrations in the sizeable contingent of Staxton fans.
Ebberston’s chances were not helped by the early run-out of veteran batsman Ady Turnbull for seven, number three batsman Joe Tyson for a duck and fellow opener Alex Machen for seven.
Scott Woodhead’s explosive 20 looked to be getting Ebberston back on track as he teamed up with fellow all-rounder Eddie Swiers.
But Woodhead was adjudged to be lbw off Dove to make it 54-5 and despite a defiant 42, including five fours and a six, by Swiers, Ebberston lost wickets at regular intervals thanks to tight Staxton bowling and excellent ground-fielding.
Dove took 2-38 from his four overs, while spinners Ryan Hargreaves, 2-20, and Gray, 2-17, tied the Ebberston batsmen down to 112-8 with some canny bowling.
Dan Blanchard’s rapid 22 gave Staxton a flying start, with Jonny Aldcroft scoring the same before Andy Dove, 28, and Hargreaves, 14, also played some attacking shots to put Staxton in the box seat.
Keen bowling from Machen, 3-12 in three overs, and Swiers, 2-28, swung the game back in Ebberston’s favours in the closing overs, but Gray and Grover kept their cool to secure the win.
Staxton stalwart, and Evening League vice-president Edwin Cooper handed the trophy and £150 cash prize to Staxton skipper Andy Dove, while Ebberston skipper Joe Tyson collected the runners-up shield and £50 prize.