Club Cricket Conference

Wednesday, 22nd May 2024

Kingfisher Cup glory eludes Arfan Akram's Essex champions

By Charles Randall

19 September 2012

Wanstead Snaresbrook CC and their prolific run-making captain Arfan Akram could look back on the 2012 season with pride, despite losing the Kingfisher Beer Cup final to York CC by eight wickets at the County Ground in Derby.

Wanstead had inched home to the Shepherd Neame Essex League title the previous weekend -- they finished two points ahead of Chelmsford -- and were confident of upsetting the odds in their first national final against opponents who had won the Yorkshire League for a sixth year in a row.

On the day Dan Woods's York side proved too good and motored to the £5,000 prize money with 15.1 overs to spare, adding to their previous national title in 1975. Off-spinner Tom Pringle ripped the heart out of the Wanstead batting, his four wickets earning him the man of the match. York-born Pringle, 26, played for Bradford-Leeds University as a student and a couple of games for Leicestershire 2nd XI. There were doubts about his fitness before the Kingfisher final, and he needed cortisone injection for a damaged shoulder.

Wanstead made a poor start. There were rare failures for openers John Chambers and Akram, and Pringle ensured the scoring never quite recovered, despite an assured fifty from Kishan Velani. Wanstead struggle to 162-9 off their 45 overs, with Pringle returning an impressive 4-22 off his nine overs. In reply York's opening pair of Liam McKendry and Duncan Snell put on a brisk 62 before the Scotland prospect Oliver Hairs smacked the Wanstead bowling to all parts with 68 off 45 balls, settling the issue emphatically with 10 fours and a six.

Wanstead could have no complaints and they had the consolation of their first Essex League title since 2008. The four-run victory over Colchester & East Essex in the penultimate round of matches left them needing only five bonus from the final 50-over game at home to Ilford. They lost by five wickets, with Nigel Jacobs hitting 115 against them, but achieved their bonus points target, thanks to a total of 263-4 largely due to Chambers, with 96 not out. Akram's 74 took him to 750 runs, the highest total in the division, and Theeban Tavarasa, of Ilford, finished as the most prolific wicket taker with 36. Chelmsford's 92-run crushing of Buckhurst Hill proved to no avail.

The crucial league game was the desperately tense four-run win over Colchester the previous weekend. John Chambers (84) and Akram (54) launched Wanstead to 278-5 off their 50 overs, and Colchester nearly made the runs before ending with 274-8. Essex professional Ben Foakes, with a rapid 123, put Colchester in the driving seat, but they faltered within sight of victory as the Essex seamer Maurice Chambers picked up three wickets.

Ardleigh Green and Woodford Wells were relegated, to be replaced in 2013 by Division One champions Chingford and runners-up Upminster.

The ECB national club championship has been revitalised by the Kingfisher Beer sponsorship in a wet summer that damaged most knockout competitions, especially county cups.