BERKSHIRE produced a sensational run chase to reach 262-4 inside 38 overs to inflict a six-wicket
BERKSHIRE produced a sensational run chase to reach 262-4 inside 38 overs to inflict a six-wicket defeat on Staffordshire in their Unicorns Trophy Group 4 game at Stone on Sunday.
Skipper James Morris hit the winning boundary in the final over to remain 36 not out, while Henley’s Stewart Davison finished unbeaten after a knock of 46, made off just 24 balls.
This thrilling win was Berkshire’s second in three games and boosts their chances of reaching the quarter-finals.
Following morning rain, the game on Sunday did not start until 1.15pm and reduced to 38 overs a side.
Minor counties champions Staffs, electing to bat first, posted a formidable 259-5 with Michael Hill blasting an 75 not out off 62 balls, Alex Mellor 57 off 49 and Matt Coxon an unbeaten 36.
There was a first-wicket partnership of 101 but the hosts then lost four wickets while adding only 20 runs.
The fifth wicket went down at 161 before Hill and Coxon added 98 in the final 12 overs and, at this stage of the proceedings, Staffs looked favourites to win the game.
Harry Stephens was the most successful of the seven bowlers used by Berkshire, taking 3-34 off eight overs, while fellow spinner Euan Brock had 2-41 off eight.
Brock also took a fine catch at mid-on to dismiss Mellor off the bowling of Stephens.
It was vital that Berkshire got off to a solid start when they went in to bat, and they did just that thanks to Michael Roberts and Waqas Hussain, who put on 43 before the former was out for 23.
Hussain and Richard Morris lifted the total to 133, when the vice-captain was trapped lbw for 133 and nine runs later, in the 26th over, Hussain was caught at the wicket for 61.
It was now a case of trying to rebuild the innings and Berkshire’s run rate crept up into nine an over, even topping 10 at one stage.
With 105 needed of the last 10 overs, Harry Stephens and James Morris started to put their foot on the accelerator with Staffs bowler Paul Byrne conceding 44 runs off four overs.
Stephens was dismissed for a brisk 29, having faced just 22 deliveries, leaving the visitors 186-4 in the 31st over.
Skipper Morris was joined by Davison and the pair charged into the bowling, while also producing some fast running between the wickets.
With 37 runs needed off the last four overs, Davison, in particular, opened his broad shoulders to produce some lusty blows. Morris sealed a memorable win off the first ball of the final over, taking the total to 262-4.
Berkshire’s final group game is against Oxfordshire at Henley’s Brakspear Ground on May 17.