|Accrington Cricket Club|
Accrington won the Lancashire Evening Telegraph Lancashire League Second XI Cup for the first time since 1979 by defeating holders Church at Thorneyholme Road by 82 runs on a glorious summer afternoon.
A good sized crowd, who paid a total of nearly £500 to watch this local derby, saw an opening stand of 87 between the experienced opening pair of Martin Whittle and Mark Stevenson after the home side had won the toss and elected to bat.
Both Church opening bowlers, captain Ken Fergusson and Steve George, found movement through the air, but the Accrington openers kept the scoreboard ticking. Martin Whittle enjoyed a couple of early lives off George, but played the best shot of the early stages with a cracking square cut for four off the same bowler.
Andrew Bentley finally dismissed Whittle for 40 and the runs dried up with Stefan Heins being run out for 1 and Richard Burrows, playing his first match since returning from Iceland, being stumped by Alan Rawcliffe for 3. Simon Hargreaves induced a desperation shot from Adam Greenwood, who departed for a duck, to leave the home side at 110 - 4. Sajed Sadiq was trapped leg before by Ken Fergusson, who returned excellent figures of 2 - 13 from 10 overs, half of which were maidens.
Throughout the tumbling wickets, Mark Stevenson batted on, scoring runs all round the wicket to earn a £65 collection for a deserved half century. The former First team captain, who is soon to emigrate to Australia, finally fell to a catch by Ben Lloyd off the bowling of Steve George for an excellent 78. His innings included seven boundaries from 139 balls in 155 minutes.
A late flurry from Asim Hussain (17) and Steve Juliff, who was dismissed by a fine diving catch by Alan Gilrane off Simon Hargreaves, took Accrington to 173 - 9 from their allotted 50 overs.
The Church reply got off to a slow start against the bowling of Steve Juliff and Stefan Heins. After 9 overs, the cup holders were 14 for the loss of Dave Gilrane, trapped lbw by Heins without scoring. Alan Gilrane replaced his brother at the crease and along with opener Andrew Bentley, took the score to 28 before left arm seam bowler Kamran Khan dismissed both batsmen. Gilrane's 15 proved to be his sides top score. Ben Lloyd, son of David, made 10 before becoming Khan's third scalp, caught by Adam Greenwood, who atoned for his batting failure by snapping up three catches in the field. Asim Hussain accounted for former Accrington junior David Bury for 6 and Kamran Khan ended his 10 over stint by dismissing Alan Rawcliffe for 14, to end with figures of 4 - 20.
Hussain dismissed the highly experienced pair of Ken Fergusson and Nick Westwell to record figures of 3 - 12, but it was left to skipper Lenny Dewhurst to have the last word, dismissing Simon Hargreaves and then bowling Steve George to clinch Accrington's first cup win since the days of Brian Rutter's captaincy.