Participants: Sherborne Pilgrims, Old Harrovians, Old Cheltonians, St Edward’s Martyrs

Pilgrims 166(C Carline 36*).St. Edward’s Martyrs 160 (AP Pusinelli 1-16).Won by six runs

We stepped into unchartered territory by featuring in not only a match, but a tournament, inside the London tube network with a T20 tournament held at Harrow.

In the semi-finals, we came up against unfamiliar opponents in the St. Edward’s Martyrs, with skipper for the day Charlie Carline winning the toss and assertively electing to bat.

Donning yellow-blue pyjamas, youngsters Eliot Whiting and James Caldwell strode out to the middle to face the new pink ball, and took the game immediately to their opponent.

Whiting (20), an accustomed opener, displayed some trademark ‘biffs’ through the ring, and he was aided by the more conventional stroke play of Caldwell (24). The pairing took the Pilgrims to 35 from the first five overs, but Whiting played around a straight one to get the Martyrs into the game. 

One wicket often brings two, and opener partner Caldwell then fell in the same fashion, with number three batsman George Mann (3) unable to build an innings. Alex Rydon (13) and Bing Stanley (12) counter-attacked, but unfortunately couldn’t quite get settled to put us in the ascendency. That task was left to the lower-middle order.

Tom Gibbs (20) used his long levers effectively, building a solid partnership with Carline (36*). The pair rotated the strike well, with Carline not needing to be asked twice to punish anything a touch loose. 

Gibbs was the third man to be castled, but his dismissal saw the arrival of enforcer Ed Bonnell (18*) at the crease, and some late hitting from the ’10 vintage duo saw us finish on 166/6 in uneasy conditions.

It’s a rarity for us to take to the field with a shortage of seam options, with Alastair Pusinelli the sole recognised ‘quick’ in the side. He shared the new ball with debutant Tom Perkins (4-0-1-21), who settled into the game superbly and picked up the early breakthrough, bowling the opening batsman with his charming left arm orthodox. 

The majority of the bowlers were guilty of bowling too many extras, but once rhythm was found, as a collective they were very tough to get away. The extras took the pressure off the batsman, making wickets hard to come by, but the game really came into life after Bell (3-0-1-26) forced the second opener to hole out to Caldwell. 

This brought the St. Edward’s pinch-hitter to the crease, and with two early boundaries in his first few deliveries, we knew we had a game on their hands. The number four hit five sixes, and looked to be taking his side to victory after being dropped twice in the deep. 

With the game intensifying, and the Pilgrims staring at a defeat, Carline rolled the dice and brought on Stanley (1-0-1-11) who forced the batsman to sky one, with Pusinelli holding on out on the fence. 

Consistent bowling was now required for usto eye up victory, and Pusinelli (4-0-1-16) returned to the attack to claim the wicket he deserved, with the left-hand bat strangling one down the leg-side and stunningly taken by Rydon.

Carline had the honours of the final over, and a nervy no-ball made things a lot hairier than they should have been. A couple of late boundaries meant the Martyrs got within six of the Sherborne score, but the boys in yellow held their nerve.

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Pilgrims 128 (C Carline 56*).Old Cheltonians 129 (T Perkins 3-34)
Lost by two wickets

On to the final. Whilst striding over to the main pitch, complete with big screen, we caught wind that the Old Cheltonians had just bludgeoned the Old Harrovians for 260-odd with a Hampshire county cricketer making a ton. This was going to be a step up. Again Carline won the toss, and again he elected to bat. 

There was a change in the batting lineup this time around, with the fireworks of Stanley (4) supporting Whiting (8) at the top of the order. Early wickets fell however, as the Pilgrims struggled to recover. Some tight bowling reduced Sherborne to 23-4 and then 53-7, and it was going to take something special to get back into the clash.

Carline (56*) played a true captain’s innings, stealing quick singles and sweeping the slow bowlers effectively. He was running out of partners, however, with Caldwell (12) the only offering of support until number 10 Bell (21). The tailender bludgeoned a six off a free-hit to give Sherborne something to cheer about, with Carline providing some late frustration for the Cheltonian bowlers, taking his side to a slightly competitive 128/9.

The class of the opposition was clear to see from early on in their innings, as they looked to make a positive start. Sherborne bowled far fewer extras this time around, but the Cheltenham batsman were well poised, manipulating decent deliveries into boundaries. Sherborne didn’t cover themselves in glory with their catching once again, poles apart from Cheltenham who took all seven of theirs. 

The breakthrough came from the on-loan Stanley, who produced a laser throw direct hit from the edge of the ring, to give the Pilgrims a glimmer of hope. This glimmer would soon grow into ray, with Bell (4-0-2-22) relishing the chance to bowl at the new batsman, bowling the number three and then having the next man caught by that man Stanley.

At 80/4, Cheltenham still had the clear advantage, but a typical ‘Sherby squeeze’ made the opposition fluster. Perkins (4-0-3-34) came back into the attack and continued his form, claiming the set opener bowled, and then having the next two batsmen stumped and bowled respectively. 

For the first time, the OCs were under pressure, but a few strokes from Cheltenham’s Hampshire man Oliver Soames brought the scores level. Not to be defeated, Ed Bonnell claimed an LBW to finally earn his first wicket of the day due to a number of dropped catches. With Cheltenham only having ten men, only two further wickets were required, but to epitomise our up-and-down day, a wide ball gave the victory and tournament to the opposition.