‘Gutted’ Staffordshire lose out to Berkshire in Unicorns Championship final thriller
Underdogs Staffordshire fell just short of victory in a thrilling Unicorns Championship final as Berkshire claimed a fourth straight title.
Kadeer Ali’s men put in a gusty display on the final day of action in Banbury as the reigning champions required just 73 to retain the crown in the low-scoring Minor Counties final.
On what Ali described a bowlers’ wicket, Brewood’s Tim Maxfield took a fine seven-wicket haul to put the favourites in real danger at 40-6 and 87-9.
But Berkshire opener and wicketkeeper Jack Davies was the hero after carrying his bat for 42 from 103 balls to just see his side, who are now unbeaten in five Minor Counties seasons, home by one wicket.
Eastern Division winners Staffs had been dismissed for 110 in their second innings.
After narrowly losing out in Oxfordshire, West Bromwich Dartmouth’s Ali had mixed emotions of pride and disappointment.
He said: “It was an incredible day. We were gutted, it could’ve gone either way at the end but we couldn’t get it over the line.
“It was disappointing but I’m also proud of the lads for fighting all the way to the end.
“We thought 150 would have been a really good target, so we felt in the game with 100, and we had a perfect start going 17-3 after five or six overs.
“Tim has been outstanding all year. I used him a lot more than in previous years. He bowled 20 overs on the bounce but unfortunately we couldn’t get over the line for him.”