Praise the Lord! Jack helps Wanstead become National Club Championship winners for the first time in their history
PUBLISHED: 18:30 17 September 2017
National Club Championship final: Wanstead 159 a/o beat Ormskirk 147 a/o by 12 runs
A sensational spell of bowling from Jack Lord laid the foundations for Wanstead to fight back and win the 2017 National Club Championship final by 12 runs against Ormskirk in dramatic fashion.
The Herons could only score 159 after being put into bat first and it never seemed like enough at Essex’s County Ground stadium.
But a fine opening spell from Lord gave Wanstead a chance and superb efforts with the ball and in the field saw Joe Ellis-Grewal’s team pile the pressure on their Lancashire rivals.
In the end, it proved too much, as the Herons dismissed their opponents for 147 to spark wild scenes and earn the club their first ever National title.
Ormskirk captain Matt Glayzer won the toss and choose to field first at the County Ground with the sun threatening to break through at Chelmsford.
Initially it seemed a poor decision with Wanstead making a very solid start thanks to openers Arfan Akram and Hassan Chowdhury.
Just as the pair were approaching a fifty stand for the first wicket, the latter was caught by Tom Hartley off the bowling of Scott Lees for 25.
The talented Feroze Khushi joined Arfan Akram at the crease next and the duo looked to keep the Herons on track for a strong total.
But Ormskirk, the Liverpool and District Cricket Premier League 2017 champions, were asking several questions of the pair.
And eventually Nicky Caunce got his man, as he pinned Khushi in front for just four to leave Wanstead in a spot of bother on 59-2.
Having made a promising start, Ellis-Grewal’s team now needed to make sure they didn’t give away any more wickets.
Arfan Akram was still going along nicely and moved into the thirties with Essex staffer Kishen Velani providing good support.
Jamie Barnes managed to dismiss the opener for 38 off 43 balls, however, and it sparked something of a Wanstead collapse.
The pace of Josh Bohannon proved too much for the likes of Velani and Adnan Akram and suddenly the Essex club were reeling on 93-5.
Captain Ellis-Grewal and Tom Cummins looked to produce a response, but the latter fell lbw to the spin of the excellent Hartley.
With Wanstead only just past the hundred mark, the Herons skipper dug in alongside Aron Nijjar.
Despite some impressive bowling from the likes of Hartley and Barnes, the score kept on ticking along for the Herons.
Every run was being cheered by the Wanstead faithful with a number of other local cricketers present at Essex’s home venue.
Portsmouth footballer Christian Burgess, who last played for the Overton Drive side in 2013, was also present to support his old team.
But just as Ellis-Grewal and Nijjar seemed to be building some momentum, the latter was caught for 11 by wicket-keeper Gary Knight off the first ball of Lees’ returning spell.
The decision to bring back the opening Ormskirk bowler was an inspired one by captain Glayzer and the celebrations of the Lancashire club showed the importance of the scalp.
Young wicket-keeper Jon Das was the next Herons man to come to the crease and with less than 15 overs remaining, it was vitally important Wanstead used up all of the deliveries available to them.
Skipper Ellis-Grewal was playing with patience and stood up well to Bohannon, but then came a crucial moment.
The Wanstead captain looked to pinch a single at the end of the 36th over, but Caunce was alert and accurately chucked the ball towards the stumps, which resulted in the end of Ellis-Grewal for 25.
Das and Lord managed to get the Herons past the 150-mark, but the Essex outfit were soon dismissed for just 159 with 20 balls still left in their innings.
It was a disappointing final total for Wanstead and they finished with a terrible mix-up between Das and number 11 Mo Fayyaz Khan.
Nevertheless, having defended a low score in the semi-final win at East Grinstead, the 2012 National Club Championship runners-up knew they had enough bowling firepower to cause Ormskirk problems.
Ellis-Grewal gave the ball to the experienced Fayyaz Khan from the off and he produced a couple of tight overs to set the tone of the chase.
Lord shared the new ball with Fayyaz Khan and it was the teenager who got the breakthrough for Herons and how they needed it.
The youngster had Andy Baybutt pinned in front lbw for just four to spark some big celebrations from the positive Essex side.
Words were shared between Ormskirk batsmen Baybutt and some of the Wanstead players following his dismissal, while the Herons faithful were in even better voice following the early scalp.
Lord was full of adrenaline now after making the breakthrough and bowling brilliantly at the County Ground.
And therefore it was no surprise when he claimed his second scalp, as Josh Bohannon left a ball which swung back and clipped his off stump.
Ormskirk were suddenly on the back foot and not even an over-throw for four plus a wide and no-ball in quick succession could offer them sufficient respite.
With 10 overs completed they were only on 23-2, but crucially opening batsmen Mikey Jones remained at the crease having faced 31 balls for his 13.
George Lavelle came in at four for Ormskirk and appeared to turn the momentum back in favour of the Lancashire club.
He hit the first ball of Ellis-Grewal’s spell for four and picked up another boundary, as he moved onto 12 in no time.
A big six - the only maximum of the contest - off the otherwise excellent Lord took Ormskirk onto 43-2 and the pendulum looked to have swung again.
But Lord wouldn’t stay out of the game and he saw the back of Lavelle as the Lancashire second XI player was out lbw for 18.
Lord wasn’t finished there either, as with his next ball he clipped the off stump of Knight to send him back having spent less than 60 seconds out in the middle.
Wanstead celebrated and the tireless Lord was all of a sudden on a hat-trick. He wasn’t able to get another wicket, but finished with superb figures of 4-33.
The opening spell of the young bowler had given the Herons hope and a huge chance of making history at Chelmsford.
Ormskirk, however, were determined to ensure their lengthy journey down from Lancashire was not so they could finish as runners-up.
Jones found an able support in the form of experienced former captain Ian Robinson and he quickly settled in at the County Ground.
The sun was now shining and with Ormskirk up with the run-rate, they looked to be moving towards a position of relative control.
Ellis-Grewal introduced Velani into the attack alongside Nijjar and the duo tried to halt the sudden increase in the flow of runs.
With Robinson looking good and moving onto 15, he then fell to the spin of Nijjar with the Ormskirk batsmen finding substitute fielder Jayden Rising.
It was another important scalp for Wanstead and with the Lancashire club on 68-5; the final was truly in the balance.
Captain Glayzer was the next man in and a couple of fours in the 27th over appeared to have the Lancashire side on top again.
Ormskirk soon got up to the hundred mark and a boundary for Jones took him onto 40 and gave him the top score of the match.
The challenge for the Durham second team player was to remain at the crease and see his side home.
Unfortunately for Jones and Ormskirk, Nijjar had other ideas and enticed an edge from the opener, which Das snaffled impressively behind the stumps.
As often was the case in this final, just as it appeared one team were getting on top, back came their opponent.
Wanstead were managing to restrict the flow of runs, but due to their low total with 10 overs left, Ormskirk only required 44 runs to win.
It wasn’t a particularly fearful amount to chase, although with four wickets in hand, the tension could be felt all around Chelmsford.
A big appeal from Ellis-Grewal failed to convince the umpire that Glayzer was out lbw for 18 and so he crucially remained at the crease.
But the Wanstead captain did get in on the act with the last ball of his spell, as Hartley was caught for eight by Lord.
It meant Herons skipper Ellis-Grewal finished with figures of 1-26 from his nine overs and Ormskirk were now 121-7.
Wanstead’s bowling attack were doing a sterling job of keeping it tight and Velani was the next to finish - his spell ending with 0-39.
With five overs remaining at the home of the 2017 County Championship Division One champions, Ormskirk needed 29 runs to win.
Ellis-Grewal turned to the evergreen Fayyaz Khan next, with the 50-year-old handed the task of trying to help Wanstead finish as National winners.
Good fielding from the Herons added to the frustration of Ormskirk, as the run rate soon went above six an over.
An edge from Glayzer then looked to be racing away to the boundary off the bowling of Nijjar, but fine fielding from Adnan Akram saw the Lancashire club only pick up three runs and you sensed every run saved was massive at this point.
Ormskirk still needed more than six an over, but an excellent shot by Caunce gave them a much-needed boundary in the 43rd over of the contest.
Fayyaz Khan managed to hold his nerve, though, and bowled skipper Glayzer for 34 off 67 balls to turn the tide again.
At the end of his eighth over, Ormskirk were 146-8 and needing 14 from 12 deliveries at the gloomy County Ground.
From the first delivery of Nijjar’s last over, smart fielding by Ellis-Grewal and an unfortunate slip by Lees saw the bowler ran out for a duck.
Wanstead now only need one more wicket, while Ormskirk still required 14 runs to win and could not afford another slip up.
Nijjar produced a wonderful final over and ended with figures of 2-24, which meant 13 runs were required off the last six deliveries of the match.
Fayyaz Khan was the man tasked with bowling the last over with Ormskirk and their travelling support hoping Caunce could be their hero.
He was unbeaten on 16 and facing when the last over of the match eventually got underway just before 5pm.
The first delivery was a swing and a miss by Caunce, with the tension rising at the County Ground and nerves present for all of the players involved.
Caunce did manage to connect with Fayyaz Khan’s next ball, but could only edge into the hands of Arfan Akram and he held onto the chance to crown Wanstead the 2017 National champions!
It sparked jubilant scenes as the Essex club won the tournament for the first time in their history having lost to York in the 2012 final.
After scoring only 159, Ormskirk looked favourites at the halfway stage, but a terrific effort with both the ball and in the field earned Herons glory.
Wanstead can now look back on a phenomenal 2017 campaign which has ended with them as National Club Championship winners and firmly secured their place in club cricket history.
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