KPMG showed why they remain favourites to retain the Lord’s Taverners John Bright Trophy with a comprehensive nine-wicket win against the Phoenix Group last Thursday.
Unlike their narrow last ball victory in last summer’s corporate cricket final against the same opponents, the accountants were always in control.
After restricting Phoenix to a modest 135/4, victory came with 15 balls to spare after openers Phil Evans and Greg Easter shared in a 107 opening stand thanks to some wayward bowling.
All told, the innings featured 39 extras with 15 wides costing 30 runs as each wide rates a two-run penalty and no extra ball in the format of the trophy sponsored by Williams de Broë.
Stand-out performances in the game for KPMG were skipper Simon Griffiths taking 1-11, preventing any end of innings batting mayhem and the outstanding wicketkeeping of Phil Evans standing up. And for Phoenix, Darren Kok’s mastery of the KPMG attack with a classy 35 retired and the accurate medium-pace bowling of skipper Mike Hoyes impressed.
Phoenix’s problems in fact began before the game.
As team manager Nick Watkins reported: “The first bad omen occurred earlier in the day when Chris Acaster, our star batsman, decided that for once he’d be early for something and caught the train down to London in time to watch Wimbledon - the next day!.
Hopefully Acaster, who averaged 175 in last year’s trophy, might be around for his company’s semi-final match.
On Wednesday at Britannic Park, Moseley, Mainstay Group kept their hopes of a semi-final place alive with a fine all-round display against Shakespeare Putsman.
Victory would have come far earlier but for two outstanding bowling feats: left-arm spinner Michael Young taking 2-2 in an over and pace bowler James Fell conceding a mere three runs in his two eight-ball overs.
In the trophy’s other game last week, Bigwood yet again were in cliffhanging losing form. Batting first, they accumulated a highly respectable 175 for six after a stunning display of attacking cricket from opener Mike Comley (35 retired), who wisely spent one ball playing himself in before sending the second delivery he faced over the long-off boundary for the first of his three sixes.
Savills were in trouble, needing 30 of the last two overs after their reply lost its way through two stumpings by Bigwood managing director Rory Daly, who also engineered a run out, booting the ball football style to the bowler’s end.
Neil Starkie (19*), with two successive sixes, kept Savills in the hunt but with one needed off the final ball of the match he hit the ball to gully.
But predictably, Bigwood displayed their flair for cricketing largesse, dropping the catch that would have given them a tie, and the game was lost.
Week 9 Results
Tues June 21 Bigwood 175/6 in 16 overs (M Comley 35 rtd, I Read 26, M Kenkre 16*, J Forrest 15,) Savills 176/6 in 16 overs (H Griffith 35 rtd, A Bull 35, D Farrow 21. M Kendrick 2-18). Savills won by 4 wkts
Wed June 22 Shakespeare Putsman 157/4 (J Fell 35 rtd, M Young 34, A Percival 18*, D Horne 2-14, S Price 2-13, C Manton 1-14) Mainstay Group 158/6 in 14.3 overs (P Johns 38 rtd, B Spray 35 rtd, D Horne 28).Mainstay Group won by 6 wkts
Thurs June 23 Phoenix Group 135/4 in 16 overs (J Jeffrey 35 rtd, D Kok 35 rtd, S Griffiths 1-11, S Matharu 1-15) KPMG 137/1 in 14.1 overs (G Easter 36 rtd, P Evans 35 rtd, N Lucas 1-18). KMPG beat Phoenix Group by 9wks