What a win –what a game!
East Grinstead won the Gray-Nicolls T20 Cup by beating holders Roffey in a thrilling high quality Cup Final that included some final-ball drama, at Hove on a sunny late summer Sunday afternoon. The contest was finally decided on fewest wickets lost after both teams posted 144 runs in the allotted 20 overs.
East Grinstead, batting first, scored 144-6 compared to Roffey’s 144-8.
Roffey were up with the chase that reached the dramatic climax when Alex Collins hit a four off the last ball to level the scores, although he and his teammates originally thought he had hit a six to win the game. That was after needing eleven to win from the last over, an over that was also to include a free hit, but East Grinstead held their nerve as the final shot came within a bats length of crossing the rope for the winning runs.
The East Grinstead’s innings ably anchored by Will Adkin scoring 45 after he won the toss and elected to bat. It started well enough when Leo Cammish and Archie Turner 17 in ten balls got the innings off to a confident start with a first wicket partnership of 30 before the accurate run out of Turner curtailed their progress. Cammish was next to go for 21 with the score on 49 off 32 balls and with Will Adkin joining Ollie Graham the stage was set for at least 150. However Adkin and new man Ian Sturmer who replaced Graham out for 17, were pinned back by the persistent quality of the Roffey attack. At halfway East Grinstead had reached 73 for 3, but with Luke Barnard claiming 2-19 and with Will Adkin becoming a victim of another excellent run-out on at 127, the scoring rate was down to just over a run a ball and it would need a dash from the Hatchett brothers to push the score up to 144. The last over added 17 priceless runs and when the last delivery faced by Brad Hatchett was superbly dispatched into the stand for a welcome bonus six little did anyone know just how important that ball was to become.
In reply, the Roffey innings mirrored the East Grinstead effort. The first wicket fell with the score at 30 when Theo Rivers 11 was skittled by Brad Hatchett. By 34 balls the reply had reached 56, when in stepped Ollie Graham to claimed two quick wickets when he removed the dangerous Rohit Jagota for 5, followed next ball when he clean bowled Usman Khan for a first ball duck. When the fourth wicket fell with the score on 97 Roffey were well up with the required rate there appeared to be only one winner. However, this was the wicket of Paul Harrison, caught Turner bowled Graham, who had scored a brilliant 66, putting on a quick 41 with skipper Matt Davies to keep Roffey ahead of the clock. The game had changed again, turning on the accuracy and flight of Ollie Graham who now removed Jibran Khan 14 with the score on 114 in his penultimate over in a run chase that was always going to be a tight affair, especially when strike bowler Lewis Hatchett, bowling at Hove for the first time since he retired as a Sussex player, caught and bowled George Fleming with the score on 129 with the last ball of the 18th over, Ian Sturmer then stepped in with the key wickets numbers seven and eight, Davies on 26 quickly followed by Chris Webb for 1 leaving Roffey suddenly needing 11 off the final over to scrape over the line.
But Roffey didn’t get over the line and had they done, there would have been more than a few complaints from East Grinstead as Roffey were mistakenly awarded a six instead of a four during the seventeenth over of the run chase. Well done to Will and all the team, but especially to the Man of the Match Ollie Graham whose 4-22 effectively turned the game back in EG’s favour in a high quality cup final that had everything in terms of great cricket, total commitment and nerve wracking excitement topped by the right result at the end of the day.
A thoroughly deserved victory over the Premiership team of the year who have already matched the record of East Grinstead last year by winning the League and reaching the semi finals of the Royal London National Cup. Roffey however have one more chance to complete their season with a victory, -in the final of the Vitality Club T20 Competition next Sunday. We wish them all the best and please go and win it to confirm the strength in depth of Sussex Cricket.