County Club Divisional Champions

Staffs CCC Top Eastern Division


After a tense and gripping final day at Longton,  Staffordshire emerged as champions of the Minor Counties Eastern Division by beating title favourites Norfolk by 96 runs in a game that finished with just 15 minutes of the final hour remaining.

Set 262 to win in just over two sessions, Norfolk , who had a 10 point advantage going into the final game, made no effort to go for the win and made their intentions clear that they were playing for the draw which would have been sufficient to give them the championship title.

However these tactics were to prove their own downfall as Staffs bowlers kept plugging away to earn the reward of a match against Western Division title winners Berkshire to decide the overall Minor Counties champions.

After surviving a nervy few overs before lunch the Norfolk batsman dug in tin the afternoon session, but by the interval Staffs had winkled five of their opponents out. As the tension grew wicket keeper Spencer Byatt took a diving leg side catch to remove former Leicestershire batsman Tom New for 45 off the bowling of Dan Richardson and from that moment on it was Staffordshire in the driving seat and they were not to be denied.

!7 year-old debutant Manraj Johal had the impressive figures of 3/35 whilst Audley skipper Rob Hemmings, on his championship debut, claimed 3/8 off 11 excellent overs. Dan Richardson was unlucky just to finish with the one wicket but, in the gathering gloom, it was one of Staffordshire’s stalwarts who clinched the championship as Paul Byrne trapped Andy Hanby lbw to spark the Staffs celebrations both on and off the pitch. 

Invited to bat first Staffs recorded a disappointing 284 all out after collapsing from 241-4. Matthew Morris recorded his first century for Staffs hitting 16 boundaries in his 111 to hold the Staffs innings together, after the early loss of their openers. Tim Maxfield hit a typically belligerent 65 and Michael Hill 44 before Andy Hanby with 6-70 wrapped up the Staffs innings.

Replying Norfolk closed the first day on 127/5. However Staffs lost their grip on the game on the second day as an unbeaten 134 from Ryan Findlay and 54 from Andy Hanby enabled Norfolk to establish a first innings lead of 28 as they closed their innings on 312-8 from their permitted 90 overs. Rob Hemmings picked up 3 wickets and Tim Maxfield 2.

At the close of the second day Staffs had established a 119 run lead in poor light and with Morris making 76, Michael Hill 68, Spencer Byatt 39 and Peter Wilshaw 31 Staffs captain Kadeer Ali was able to declare with Staffs having made 289/9 in their second knock, to set the table toppers a victory target of 262 and more importantly leave his side sufficient time to capture the 10 wickets his bowlers needed to clinch their first Eastern Division success since 2014.

Staffs will play reigning champions Berkshire in a four day final at Banbury Cricket Club starting on Sunday September  15th.

Scorecard Staffs 1st innings 284 ao. Matthew Morris 111, Tim Maxfield 65, Michael Hill 44. Andy Hanby 6/70. 2nd innings 289.9 declared.  Matt Morris 76, Michael Hill 68. Ashley Watson 5/90.

Norfolk 1st Innings 312-8 innings closed. Ryan Findlay 134 not out Andy Hanby 54. Rob Hemmings 3/45. 2nd innings 165 all out .Tom New 45. Manraj Johal 3/35 Rob Hemmings 3/8. Staffs win by 96 runs.

Posted on Thursday 1st January 1970, in Latest News