There was a tense and exciting afternoon and evening of indoor cricket on Sunday, as the Riverside Indoor League programme concluded with the Finals Days for both the Junior and Senior Cup competitions.
At Shenfield School the Tandoori Boys faced Ingatestone in the semi-final of the Junior Cup, knowing the winners would play Great Waltham in the Final, after they had earlier defeated Chelmsford Tigers. Ingatestone batted first and although Ryan Brown dismissed the dangerous Chris Westwood in the first over, Upminster were under pressure against a powerful batting line up. Bob Elliot and Nick Hodgson both went past the retirement mark and returned later in the innings, and with some excellent running late in the innings Ingatestone were able to reach 120 as they were bowled out from the last ball of the innings. Sam Twine was the pick up the Upminster attack. Despite facing such a big chase Ian Munn and Billy Wright started well for the Tandoori Boys and kept their side in the game. Both of them reached the retirement mark, but Upminster then lost two quick wickets and Ingatestone looked favourites. Ryan Brown and Paul Middlemiss then combined to get their side back in the game but when Brown fell, followed quickly by the returning Munn it seemed as though Upminster would miss out. With seven needed from the final over captain Wright, who had returned to the crease, smashed the third ball to the back wall to draw the scores level, and then found the side wall to see Upminster home with one ball and two wickets in hand. Wright finished on an unbeaten 33.
The Final was a very different story, as the Tandoori Boys ripped through the Great Waltham top order, with Wright and Ryan Brown picking up two wickets each. Ian Munn then struck to leave Waltham 50-5 and struggling to reach a competitive score. However, Ollie Fitzwater remained at the crease and the Waltham captain single handedly took his side towards a defendable total. He finally fell to the bowling of Sam Twine for a magnificent 70, and Upminster needed 92 to claim the trophy. Although the target was somewhat smaller than in the semi-final Upminster were up against it when Wright and Munn both fell early. Twine and Nathan Brown began rebuilding, but Brown fell before Twine reached the retirement mark, and Ryan Brown was then out first ball meaning Twine immediately returned to the crease. Twine was timing the ball superbly and he and Middlemiss took their side towards victory. Middlemiss was run out with 14 still needed but this meant Twine was able to keep the strike, and this turned out to be an advantage to the Tandoori Boys as he found the back wall and Upminster were left needing 8 from the final over. Having hit the side wall for one Twine then hit the fourth ball to the back wall to bring the scores level, and then clipped the next ball to the fielder who having spilled the catch attempted to execute a run out but only succeeded in hitting the wall and handing Upminster a thrilling one wicket win. Twine finished on a brilliant unbeaten 55 and the victory meant the Tandoori Boys had secured a league and cup double, with the Team receiving their medals for both competitions after the Final.
The Senior Cup event took place at Ingatestone, and the Hunters started the evening well as they reduced Broomhills to 3-3 thanks to John Curtis. Curtis finished with remarkable figures of 3-8, and although Ian Bryant battled for Broomhills they were bowled out for 39. Louis Pickering and Adam Quested started the Upminster reply in solid fashion but Quested was bowled for five and Scott Fisher was then run out soon after as the pressure started to build. However, Pickering remained and with captain Nicky Ison for company they guided Upminster to victory without further alarms and with plenty of time to spare.
The Final saw the Hunters face Wickford, who had earlier beaten Springfield in their semi-final. The game looked like being a tight one as the two sides had finished as the top two in the Premier Division during the league season. Wickford batted first and lost Chirag Desai early on as he was LBW to Louis Pickering. Dean Etchells and Ronnie McKenna then put on 49 for the second wicket with both players reaching the retirement mark. Ellis Pickering came into the attack and struck twice in an over, and with Scott Fisher completing an excellent run out, Upminster got themselves back into the game. McKenna was run out on his return to the crease, Fisher again doing the damage, but Etchells batted to the end of the innings, and his unbeaten 32 helped his side to 81-5. While not a huge target, it always looked like a challenging chase in the tight hall at Ingatestone and it was made even harder when Louis Pickering was bowled in the first over, and Scott Fisher fell three balls later. Captain Nicky Ison was then caught at backward point before Adam Quested and John Curtis tried to rebuild. They looked like getting Upminster back into the game before Quested was well caught by Anthony McKennna. Ellis Pickering joined Curtis and they were going well before an excellent piece of fielding led to Pickering being run out, leaving Curtis on his own. By now the run rate was climbing and Curtis needed to find the back wall. He did this twice but with pressure building had to play one shot to many and was caught off the wall to leave Upminster 48 all out, meaning Wickford won by 33 runs. Congratulations to all of the Wickford squad on an excellent season. The Hunters did have the consolation of receiving their Premier Division winners medals after the game.
Many thanks must go to Jordan McManus and all his team of umpires, scorers and helpers who do such a great job in making the Riverside Indoor League such an excellent and well run competition. Playing at two different venues as made things even tougher this year for Jordan and his team, and everyone at Upminster would like to thank them all for their efforts.
Updated 21:10 - 25 Mar 2019 by Paul Middlemiss