Berkshire add National Counties Trophy to bulging trophy cabinet

Words and photo: Dave Wright

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Berkshire CCC added to their bulging trophy cabinet by winning the National Counties Trophy for the sixth time with a record-breaking 151 runs victory over Cumbria in last Thursday's final at Wormsley.

Put into bat, they posted an impressive 260-8 in their 50 overs and then skittled out their opponents for 109, having taken their first six wickets for just 31.

It was their eighth piece of silverware in five seasons – no competitive cricket was played last year owing to Covid-19 – and maintained their remarkable record of having won at least one competition each season since 2016.

The margin of victory was the biggest in the history of the Trophy which began in 1983, bettering the 128 runs by which Berkshire defeated Shropshire in the 2013 final also at Wormsley.

The win was the perfect send-off for three Berkshire stalwarts, brothers James and Richard Morris and former Middlesex slow left-armer Chris Peploe who have all retired from National Counties cricket due to family and work commitments. All three have young children.

James, who was appointed skipper in 2013, has missed the whole of this season having undergone knee surgery with his brother replacing him as captain, while Peploe has taken more than 300 wickets in all competitions since making his Berkshire debut in 2009.

Savin Perera and Toby Albert laid the foundations for victory with a second-wicket stand of 132 in 30 overs which ensured that Berkshire were able to survive the loss of six wickets for 55 at the end of their innings to set Cumbria a stiff target of 261.

A difficult task soon became a hopeless one after Andy Rishton, who was made man of the match, took 4-16 in 10 overs by pitching the ball up and bowling straight.

With Tom Nugent bowling Sam Dutton in the first over and then trapping captain Gary Pratt leg before, the northerners were in tatters at 31-5 just 12 overs into the chase. That became 48-7 when Sam Sharp went lbw to slow left-armer Luke Beaven (3-20) before Matt Sempill and James McGown took Cumbria past the lowest total in a final – 88 by Devon against Norfolk at Lord’s in 2001.

Earlier, McGown had claimed four Berkshire wickets for 50.

Summary: Berkshire 260-8 (Savin Perera 84, Toby Albert 76, James McGown 4-50) beat Cumbria 109 (Andy Rishton 4-16) by 151 runs.