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Five-star Himley are the 100-ball county champs

Himley Cricket Club can reflect on 2023 as one of the most successful seasons in its 140-year history, after its under-19s side became 100-ball county champions for the first time – adding to a quartet of promotions for its four senior teams.

Himley Under-19s celebrate their success after becoming 100-ball county champions for the first time
Himley Under-19s celebrate their success after becoming 100-ball county champions for the first time

Just days after the firsts secured a memorable return to the Birmingham Premier League and the seconds, thirds and fourths also confirming their elevations up the Worcestershire Leagues, Himley’s under-19s made it a five-star season by overcoming illustrious north Staffordshire opponents Porthill Park off the last ball of the Hundred final.

Captained by Ben Southern, the under-19s shone under the lights at Meakins CC in Stoke-on-Trent, in a north versus south encounter that went right down to the wire, in front of hundreds of onlookers at the Dave Kettle Memorial Ground.

Winning the toss and electing to bowl, Himley Rockets performed admirably with the ball to restrict Porthill Patriots to 128 all out after an ominous base was set for a much bigger score.

Arthur Smallman, Aarav Jillela, Mat Boroughs, Ali Latif and man-of-the-match Ben Hopkins were among the wickets to stifle the Porthill batters.

In reply, the game ebbed and flowed and looked to be heading Himley’s way when skipper Southern bludgeoned 51 not out off just 31 balls after dangerman Elliot Small departed for 17. With momentum swinging the way of Porthill, it needed Dan Thomas’ calm head (25 off 27) to guide the Rockets towards their target, which would eventually be reached off the very last ball of the innings in a nail-biting climax under the floodlights.

Will Elsmore and Jillela scrambled a single to cue wild celebrations among the travelling supporters from South Staffordshire – and another trophy in the Himley cabinet to round off a season like no other.

The victory caps off a memorable journey for the under-19s, featuring wins over Beacon, West Bromwich Dartmouth and Wolverhampton en route to the final.

Himley Rockets under-19s coach Mark Southern said: “What a win! I am proud of every single player to have represented the club.

“I hope they all remember that winning feeling at the end for many years to come, as it’s a reminder of what they are capable of.

“The older lads helped the younger ones along the way, who showed maturity beyond their years to make telling contributions when we really needed it.”

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