The Cricketer Village Cup Final at Lord’s 2019

James Coyne reports

Tom Greaves led Reed to their third The Cricketer Village Cup triumph at Lord’s, but their celebrations were dampened by a serious eye injury sustained by Houghton Main opening batsman Ian Simon.

Simon was not wearing a helmet when he hooked a short ball into his eye. He was rushed to hospital for tests, and underwent an operation to drain blood from the area. He had broken his cheekbone in several places. Fortunately he remained conscious, and was asking for updates on the score from hospital.

With their opening batsman retiring hurt, Houghton Main managed just 160 for 8, and the team from the former colliery near Barnsley were unable to defend the modest target on a pacey Lord’s pitch on a warm September day, losing by seven wickets.

Reed join Troon and St Fagan’s in lifting the Village Cup three times, having done so in 2012 and 2017. Only Woodhouse Grange (four) have won it more times than the Hertfordshire club.

Houghton Main did well to get as many as 160 from their 40 overs, given that they had two separate instances of losing two wickets in three balls.

Tom Greaves, the Reed captain, knows Lord’s better than most club cricketers, having led his side to two Village Cup titles, and he did not hesitate in choosing to bowl first.

Threatening opening spells from Jack Tidey and Toby Fynn encouraged Greaves to bowl his two opening bowlers for their full eight overs off the reel.

The match took a worrying turn in the 13th over when Fynn, who had pitched the ball up to that point, sent down a short of a length delivery which rose unexpectedly, and Simon deflected it into his eye. Medical staff, along with Houghton Main’s No.4 batsman and neurosurgeon Dr Yousaf Rehman, who had just been dismissed, rushed onto the pitch to attend to Simon. There was a 20-minute break in play while he was stretchered off and taken to St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington, accompanied by his family. He was set to remain in hospital for at least five days.

Reed’s plans were to take pace off the ball after that point anyway, and it took a while for the Houghton Main batsmen to get back into their stride.

Imran Khan, their Afghan player, injected the innings with urgency with some big leg-side hitting, surviving a couple of skied chances which just evaded the infield until he was eventually caught by Greaves running round at long on for 37.

Biswick Kapala’s swift 33 came to an end when he struck Sean Tidey’s medium-pace to Marcus Martin stationed on the deep cover boundary, who did well to cling on.

No.5 batsman Callum Honeyman was left to play the anchor role with 40 from 64 balls as the South Yorkshire side set their opponents 161 to win.

But Reed, who had chased 207 and 196 to win their two previous knockout games, were accustomed to chasing down good scores.

Khan struck what seemed a crucial blow when he had Richard Wharton, who struck 86 not out for Reed in the 2017 final – lbw to the third ball of the innings.

Sean Tidey tucked into the brisk Zimbabwe-born Kapala with a meaty six into the Grand Stand, but he nicked behind next ball to make it 16 for 2 in the second over.

However, Houghton Main were a bowler down without Simon, and Reed could call on two experienced customers in the right-handed Greaves and the left-handed Rob Lankester, who launched the repair job with a third-wicket partnership of 121. 

Michael Bates put down a tough caught and bowled chance off Lankester when he was 32.

The free-flowing Greaves went to his fifty off 42 balls, and the stylish Lankester followed suit soon after. The partnership was finally broken when Lankester was superbly caught behind standing up by wicketkeeper Simon Ward for 59.

It was the last throw of the dice for Houghton Main if they were to win back the trophy they won in 2006, but Greaves, who finished unbeaten on a belligerent 67 off 61 balls, eased Reed over the line to seal a hat-trick of wins as captain.

It completed a euphoric weekend for Reed, who celebrated promotion to the Premier Division of the Saracens Hertfordshire League on Saturday after winning their play-off against Luton Town & Indians

September 18, 2019 9:02 am

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