Thursday, 24 June 2021

Nugent and Brock impress as Berks secure place in MCCA Trophy final

BERKSHIRE’S youngsters are continuing to exceed all expectations.

BERKSHIRE’S youngsters are continuing to exceed all expectations.

Having discarded most of the old guard last year, they rebuilt this year with the emphasis on youngsters and the fresh talent once again underlined their potential by winning through to the final of the MCCA Trophy.

Henley’s Tom Nugent, who celebrated his 19th birthday last Thursday, and 22-year-old Euan Brock, who played for Henley last season, took three wickets apiece as NORTHUMBERLAND were bowled out for 224.

Then 18-year-old Harry Stephens cracked 69 runs to set up a five-wicket win in Sunday’s semi-final played at Finchampstead.

Berkshire will now meet Shropshire in the final at Sir Paul Getty’s cricket ground at Wormsley in Stokenchurch on August 28.

It is also a tremendous achievement for 28-year-old James Morris in his first season as skipper. Morris said: “I am absolutely delighted, as are the other players to reach the final. It is our first season together with mainly a new bunch of boys and to reach the final is an unbelievably good achievement.”

Northumberland, having won the toss and electing to bat on what looked a good wicket for runs, got off to a flying start with 66 runs coming in the first 10 overs and Karl Turner bringing up his half century off just 33 balls. But he was dismissed for 52 with the total on 66 in the 12th over. Ten runs later Nugent claimed his first wicket of the game, but the visitors continued to push the score along at a good pace and reached 120-2 after 24 overs.

At this point, Brock was introduced to the attack and the left-arm spinner started with a double-wicket maiden and Stephens claimed a wicket in the next over, and Northumberland had lost three wickets without adding a run.

Morris added: “A strength of ours is recognising situations and how to react according to those, and once we had got their opener (Turner) out, the game started to change. We have been great at that all season.”

The last four Northumberland wickets did produce just over 100 runs but Berkshire were pleased to have limited them to 224.

The hosts suffered an early blow when Henley opener David Barnes was caught at slip to the last ball of the first over but Richard Morris joined Stephens and they quickly set about laying the foundation of a solid Berkshire innings.

They lifted the total to 113 before Morris was trapped lbw for 49.

Stephens’ innings for 69 came to end with the total on 147 and Brock (18) followed shortly afterwards.

Shelvin Gumbs and Morris ended any hopes of Northumberland getting back in the game with a fifth-wicket partnership of 66 before the former was out for 30. Morris remained unbeaten on 36 and Logan on six as Berkshire reached their target in the 48th over.

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