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After the disappointment of last year when the annual Inter Province Cricket Match was cancelled due to a waterlogged pitch, all eyes were on the weather chart hoping that we would have fine weather for this year’s event. We need not have worried as we were in the middle of the hottest spell of weather for years when the big day arrived.
It was the last opportunity for Kent to retain the trophy for Roger Croucher, RW Provincial Grand Master of Kent, before he retires at the end of the year, but sadly it was not to be.
The big day finally arrived on Saturday 20th July at St John’s School, Leatherhead. The day kicked off with Surrey supplying bacon rolls before the first match had even started. As spectators arrived the feeling of ‘build it and they will come’ prevailed. Everyone was able to take advantage of the views around the ground as well as the fine food and drink supplied throughout the day.
Now to the cricket itself. The Mark Province of Sussex joined us for the first time making it a more exciting four
team tournament. The previous winners, Kent played Sussex in the first match and won by 36 runs. Surrey took on Middlesex in the second match and won a fairly close contest by 10 runs. In the third place play off, Middlesex beat Sussex with just over an over to spare.
|Match 1 - Kent v Sussex:
|• Kent: 109 for 4
• Sussex 73 for 3
|Match 2 - Surrey v Middlesex:
|• Surrey 90 for 3 |
• Middlesex 80
|Match 3 - Sussex v Middlesex
(for 3rd/4th place):
|• Sussex 67 for 5
• Middlesex 70
for 2 (in 8.2 Overs)
|Match 4 - Surrey v Kent
(for 1st/2nd place):
|• Surrey: 80 for 4
• Kent: 72 for 4
1st place - Surrey
2nd place - Kent
3rd place - Middlesex
4th place - Sussex
This left Kent and Surrey to battle out the superb final match. After a somewhat cloudy day, the sun finally came out for that match. It was quite relaxed but very focused in the Surrey and Kent dressing rooms as the players discussed tactics and prepared for the final. Surrey batted first and scored a very respectable 80. It was a little short of an ideal score and one which the Kent team felt confident that they could improve on. The Kent team attacked with real purpose in a game which really could have gone either way and the final result was due in no small part to the tactics of Stafford Robinson, the Surrey Team Captain, every one of his players fielded superbly to restrict Kent to a score of 72, just 8 runs short of the Surrey total. There was a loud cheer from the Surrey supporters as the last ball was bowled and ‘We Are the Champions’ was played on the PA system. It was a closely contested and hard fought match befitting of a final between the two best teams. Tony Wright, Provincial Scorer, supplied the following match statistics which are included in the box on the left.
Before presenting the trophy to the Surrey Provincial Grand Master the RW PGM Roger Croucher said it was a really close run final but congratulated the Surrey Team on a great all round performance to deny Kent a record number of wins, but there was always next year.
The Tom Auld Trophy, given to the nominated 'Player of the Tournament' was presented to Francis Briley, Kent wicket keeper and opening batsmen who batted well and took a superb catch in a fine display of keeping wicket.
Finally, it must be said that everyone who took part and attended enjoyed a great day. The RW Provincial Grand Master of Surrey thanked St John’s School for allowing the use of their wonderful facilities. He also thanked all those who had given up so much of their time to ensure that the event was such a success, he continued “What a fantastic day, and what a result. It was absolutely brilliant and to make £3,500 for Charity on top of such an enjoyable day what an excellent result. “
Thanks go to all those who attended and made it such a special day. We can now look forward to competing for the trophy again at next year’s event which will be hosted by the Mark Province of Sussex.