Bexley Rangers do it again!
Sunday afternoon 8th September 2019 was like ground hog day. Was it only one year ago that our U19’s won that thrilling final against Canterbury? This year’s final was to prove even more of a thriller.
Having beaten Chestfield CC in the morning semi-final, Bexley progressed to the final. Batting first Chestfield scored 148-7. In reply the Rangers comfortably passed the target with 4.5 overs to spare. 50 for Shaun Evans, 49 not out for Harry Turner and 30 not out for Sam Barton made easy work of the Chestfield score.
Bromley CC provided the opposition for the final, a very mature side with a true under 19 XI. Bexley on the other hand, with Archie Hobbs-Moore and Rohan Moon injured, had only Sam and Shaun as genuine U19’s. To be honest, it was a very young Bexley side and there was an air of “men against boys” to some extent. Winning the toss, Bexley elected to field. Bromley got off to a flyer scoring freely all around the ground (set with a very large boundary and slick outfield). Despite an early wicket, Bromley raced along to 70 odd in the powerplay. They continued to accumulate runs at a good rate. It would be fair to say that in patches, the Bexley fielding was not always as good as expected and gaps in the field were punished by the Bromley batsmen. It was tough going for all of our bowlers going at 6 to 8 an over. To their credit they stuck to the task and wickets began to fall but two 50’s in the Bromley innings helped them on to 189-7 off their twenty overs.
The Rangers like a run chase but on this occasion 189 looked a daunting target. Nothing to lose then. What happened next was a joy to watch. Shaun opened with James Willis, who could only look on in awe, as did the Bexley supporters, as Shaun produced a masterclass in powerplay batting scoring a 15 ball 50 which included six 4’sand 4 huge 6’s. Bromley were so pleased to see the back of him and comments could be overheard - “that’s all they’ve got”. How wrong they were. James then hit three 4’s in succession and at the end of the powerplay Bexley had already scored 80 plus. Harry Turner initially struggled to get their spinners away but soon despatched a series of boundary 4’s (7 in total) and Sam Barton, replacing James, then set about the Bromley bowlers. However, a slight panic when having hit a boundary, Sam collapsed to the floor. Hamstring torn was the immediate thought but luckily only cramp. This put a stop to any quick singles. Harry (40) batted well and Sam (33 including 5x4 and one big 6) kept the scoreboard ticking over at 8 an over. Still on target at 156-3 overs were slipping away. With the genuine big hitters now gone, Callum Deppe and Ollie Smith had to keep the momentum going. Ollie was run out for one and Seb Naylor marched out with still 30 odd runs required off just under 5 overs. Callum reached 9 running some good two’s with Seb but balls were running out fast. Marcus Ritson joined Seb and between them they pushed every run hard, sometimes taking the risk but believing they could do it. Last over, 8 still required, was it to be a bridge too far. Bromley had not been that shrewd with their field settings and choice of bowlers. It was left to probably their least successful bowler to deliver the last over. An early wide helped and between them, Seb and Marcus hit the gaps, ran a couple of twos and with one ball to go the scores were level. Last ball, clipped towards their backward square leg, saw the pair of them run for their lives………….and made it. 190 for 5, a superb run chase and another victory for Bexley Rangers. As said at the beginning, this match eclipsed last year’s final and was possibly one of the most nail-biting, enthralling and exciting games to watch. Champions again. Congratulations to all of them on the day but not forgetting others who played in the qualifying rounds; a massive effort by all involved. Thanks also to Andy Furze for his undying passion for U19’s cricket and Fred White for scoring. The full scorecards are posted on play-cricket.