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Sussex win first David Townley Memorial Twenty20 Cup Trophy

21st September 2015

Sussex Sharks edged out Lancashire Lions in a thrilling final to become the first winners of the BCEW David Townley Memorial Twenty20 Cup.

A sunny day at North London Cricket Club started in dramatic fashion as the semi-final draw saw National League winners Warwickshire Bears up against National League runners-up Lancashire Lions, which meant London Metro would face Sussex Sharks in the other semi.

Warwickshire Bears v Lancashire Lions

The Bears were sent in to bat and lost their captain Justin Hollingsworth, who was caught for just four early on. Luke Sugg battled hard for his 57 but nobody else added a significant score as Warwickshire were only able to reach 133 after their 20 overs. This score was worth more than it would usually be as the outfield was very wet and there were long boundaries so there was still a chance for the midlanders.

In response, Usman and Wasim Afridi batted well together until Usman was run out with the score on 60. Mohammed Salim Patel was then bowled but Wasim Afridi and George Ferguson combined well to see their team home with 13 balls to spare with Wasim finishing on around 60.

London Metro v Sussex Sharks

Over on pitch two with more normal-sized boundaries, Metro started badly with Mo Ghalib dismissed very early as his side staggered to 90/5. Despite Sharks getting their teeth into the middle order with Ian Morris and Marcus Kippling claiming two wickets each a strong finish helped the Londoners reach a competitive looking 155/6 with Rory Field, Matt Page and Adam Benjamin all scoring 32. This included a 55-run sixth-wicket partnership that may have made those watching think they had gone back in time 10 years as former England stars Adam Benjamin and Bryn Reynolds dragged Metro’s innings back from the brink of disaster.
That was as good as it got for Metro though as Sussex’s opening pair batted brilliantly with Joe Harrison (63 not out) and Si Ledwith (69 not out) blasting their way to the final after just 13.5 overs.

In the third-place play-off, Warwickshire beat Metro by 19 runs with Luke Sugg and Mo Ghalib each passing 50 and Aiden Reilly scoring his first-ever half century.

Lancashire Lions v Sussex Sharks

After being sent in to bat Lancashire started fast but lost both Afridi’s relatively early, with Usman falling for 41 with the score moving to 65/3. Sussex held every catching chance during the innings with Joe Harrison and Dan Field both claiming two wickets and two catches. From 83/3 after 10 overs it looked like Lancashire would make a big score but Sussex chipped away with all of the bowlers contributing well.

A superb 63 from George Ferguson made sure the innings stayed together as Lions eventually reached 149/7. As the match briefly paused between innings it looked fairly level and some pondered the significance of Dan Field and Joe Harrison combining to concede just eight runs from the final two overs.

Sussex’s reply started steadily before Si Ledwith was sent back to the pavilion for 11 and Ian Morris was excellently caught by Amjad Khan for eight to bring Dan Field to the crease. Harrison and Field worked together to build up first the score and then the scoring rate as Lions started to feel the pressure in the field. As it started to look like the game was heading in Sussex’s favour, Harrison fell for 48 and shortly after Jimmy Millard was removed. This left Field and Andy Dalby-Welsh together for the final couple of overs requiring around a run a ball for victory.

Dan played some powerful shots and took some sharp singles which eventually made the difference as he saw his side to a six-wicket win with just one ball to spare. Sheraz Chohan and Arslan Sabir both bowled excellently for a Lions side who should be very proud of the way they performed on the day and whose only slight regret is likely to be that a few too many no balls at the end of the innings were probably the difference between the sides.

Ian Morris was named low sighted player of the day (the award was for the best Total or low partial) and Joe Harrison narrowly edged out Dan Field and George Ferguson to be named partially -sighted player of the day.

David Townley’s two sons, Dafydd and Gareth, were present as the end-of-season awards were handed out at the end of the day – a report on which will follow – and it was an emotional moment as the Sussex Sharks side, which included a number of DT's close friends ,lifted the BCEW David Townley Memorial Twenty20 Cup.