While Upminster have never claimed the Essex League T20 crown, they do have an enviable record in the competition. This Sunday will be the fifth time in 12 seasons that they have made Finals Day at Billericay, and the sixth time they have made it to the semi-final stage in total.
Their first appearance at the showpiece event was in 2007 when Ollie Peck’s side, who would win promotion to the Premier Division at the end of the season, faced Shenfield. Despite restricting Shenfield to 132-5 in their innings Upminster’s reply never got going, and despite 30 from Steve Wright they missed out by three runs. (Scorecard)
They returned to Billericay in 2010, where this time they squared up to Buckhurst Hill, who included Jack Swash in their ranks, Upminster’s keeper from the 2007 Finals Day. Once again, a below par performance saw Upminster miss out at the semi-final stage but they went one step better in 2012.
Bad weather during the first part of the 2012 summer had led to a number of games being delayed or called off, and this meant there was no Final Days event. However, Upminster made it all the way to the final, which took place at Gallows Corner during the London 2012 Olympics. In a low scoring contest Upminster narrowly missed out, as John Walford saw his Brentwood side to the tightest of victories.
Upminster returned to Finals day the next season, 2013, after coming through a lengthy qualifying process. The group stage of the competition saw Ollie Peck’s side overcome Stanford, Leigh On Sea, Southend On Sea, Benfleet and Hadleigh to set up a quarter-final at Fives and Heronians. Farid Butt top scored and the captain picked up three wickets as Upminster breezed through to the showpiece event at Billericay. Unfortunately it was a similar story to previous visits though, as Nick Prowting and Matt Thurston made half centuries for Chelmsford, and their total of 170-3 proved way to much for Peck’s men, despite 29 from Nick O’Dell. (Scoreccard)
It was four years (2017) before Upminster would make it through to the last four again, but this time they finally broke their Finals Day hoodoo. Having seen off Colchester in the last eight, Upminster faced old rivals Hornchurch in the morning semi-final. Shahbaz Butt (50) and Alan Ison (76*) showed their class, flaying the bowling all around the ground to help their side pile up 190-3 from 20 overs. John Curtis dismissed Paul Murray in the first over of the Hornchurch reply, and although Ronnie Saunders made an excellent 67, three wickets for Louis Pickering helped Upminster to a 45 run win. (Scorecard) Their hopes of glory were dashed in the Grand Final though as Wanstead and Snaresbrook proved to powerful and claimed a comfortable victory. (Scorecard)
This season with a new format in place Upminster had to overcome two Premier Division sides to reach Billericay. They overcame Hadleigh in their first game (Scorecard), before beating Finals Day host’s Billericay (who had earlier seen off champions Wanstead and Snaresbrook) in a thrilling contest to make the last four. (Scorecard)
Sunday morning (11.30am) will see Nicky Ison’s men face Colchester and East Essex in their semi-final. The winners of that game will move forward to face the winners of the Brentwood and Hornchurch semi-final in the Grand Final (due to start between 2.30pm and 3.00pm).
Nicky and the side would welcome any support on Sunday. Billericay CC is on Blunts Wall Road, Billericay, CM12 9SA. There is ample parking available on site. The nearest station is Billericay which is around a 10 minute walk from the ground.
A full bar and BBQ are available throughout the day, and Billericay CC would like to remind all supporters that only drink purchased from the bar should be consumed on the premises.
Updated 07:16 - 2 Jul 2018 by Kevin Roome