Garboldisham Foxes line up for the Norfolk u19s t20 Finals Day, Manor Park County Ground, Horsford, Sunday 6 September 2015
And so to Finals Day at Horsford where Barton Spartans (Ashmanhaugh), Swardeston Sharks, Fakenham Falcons and Garboldisham Foxes would do battle. In the first semi-final at 10.15am, Ashmanhaugh struggled to get a decent total on the board and were easily beaten by Swardeston. Going in to the second semi at 1.00pm, Garboldisham were probably the underdogs but Captain Henry Phoenix and the Foxes were right to be confident that they could go all the way – they’d come out of a high scoring final group game against Brooke where they’d clocked up a giddy 246 runs and they’d finished their group unbeaten including a victory against Swardeston (who qualified for Finals Day as highest runners-up).
Henry won the toss, and with some dampness still on the ground but with the sun starting to shine, elected to field first. Once Kieran Pask had found his line, he was well into his stride and he claimed the first and second Fakenham scalps with the Falcons on 25 for 2 after five overs. Tom Davey took the third wicket off his second ball to bring up 48 for 3 after eight. Any short balls were jumped on by Fakenham and hit to the boundary with ease, but with Callum Olpin joining the bowling attack the run rate was slowed and the fourth Fakenham wicket fell as Callum got one through the gate – and after 13 overs the Falcons were 85 for 4. Once Callum had bowled his maximum four overs, and with Henry and Philip Carr’s overs proving expensive, the Foxes bowling attack suddenly looked painfully exposed and the captain had to call on part-time bowler Lewis Taylor to help contain the flood of Fakenham runs in the latter stages of the innings. Lewis picked up five wickets but by then the damage had been done and Fakenham finished on 155 for 8.
On paper we knew that Garboldisham could bat deep and that Fakenham’s total was chaseable. However, the Falcons bowled a good full length which the Garby batsmen found difficult to get away and they were soon in trouble as Matt Plater, Henry and then Kieran Pask all found themselves dismissed with the score on 26 for 3 after six overs. A flurry of runs from Matt Long pushed the Foxes score up to 53 for 3 after eight (Fakenhan had been on 48 for 3 at the same stage) but any hope was suddenly dashed as Matt was caught in the deep. Lewis Taylor joined Kristian Williman at the wicket and they nurdled the ball around picking up useful singles plus a glorious six that Lewis effortlessly guided on its way over the square leg boundary. But in the next over Lewis found himself bowled as he tried to play a ball just a little too late. Callum, Tom Daley and Dan Taylor’s wickets then fell in quick succession and the game was clearly up for Garby with the last few overs being batted out by Sam Baker, Philip Carr and Kristian who was still struggling to find the boundary and was eventually caught. The Foxes ended 42 runs short on 114 for 9.
It was a disappointing end for the Foxes who were beaten by the better team on the day – Fakenham looked much sharper in the field, bowled a better length and capitalised on Garby’s mistakes. Fakenham went on to lose to Swardeston in the final. Garboldisham can gain some comfort in the fact that they beat Swardeston in the group stages (where they’d set at total of 120 for Swardeston to chase but Swardeston were bowled out for 95!). Commiserations to Henry and the team who fought a fantastic campaign to reach Finals Day.