Dinton Cricket Club are just one game away from a dream day out at Lords after making club history in the National Village Cup on Sunday.
The Hermits have seen off all-comers so far in the prestigious competition and made it further than ever before by booking a place in the semi-finals with a win over Essex side Mistley.
Dinton beat their hosts with three balls to spare. It means Tim Brooker’s side are just one match away from playing at the ground widely regarded as the ‘home of cricket’.
The famous ground hosts two Tests every summer – including the first Test of the summer – plus two One Day Internationals.
But also on the annual list of fixtures is the final of the National Village Cricket competition which will include Dinton this year should they negotiate one more hurdle, the semi-final away from home again at Rockhampton, Gloucestershire on August 11.
The final is held in September.
Cheered on by a large travelling support, Dinton fielded first against Mistley. On a good wicket and with a fast outfield Mistley got off to a flying start with the opening pair putting on 50 in good time.
The breakthrough was made by Henry Woodward thanks to a good catch in the deep by club stalwart Rob King. Mistley continued to score at a good rate however, with their innings being anchored by the classy K. Young who top scored with 80. Dinton’s fielding was again good and an excellent spell of bowling by Alan Massey who took 4 wickets for 52 runs from his 9 overs helped put the breaks on the Mistley innings.
Some tight bowling at the death meant Mistley finished on 245-9. Woodward, Gibbins and Brooker all picked up wickets and helped restrict Mistley to a tough but gettable score.
The Dinton innings got off to the worst possible start losing Hammond early on. King (31) and Alister Gibbins then rebuilt, putting on 92 in the face of outstanding opening spells by Mistley bowlers Pineo and Young. Gibbins eventually fell for a well made 54 bringing Mark Ludlow to the crease with Dinton falling behind the run rate. Promoted up the order and with a licence to play his natural attacking game Ludlow dragged Dinton back into the contest with some blistering shots. Hitting seven boundaries including a pair of sixes in a rapid 53 Dinton again had hope.
The pressure was back on however when Ludlow fell to a good catch on the boundary with 70 runs still needed. The batsmen continued to play their shots and there were valuable contributions from Kelvin Burrows and Nheem Amin (23).
Dinton needed a hero and Alan Massey at the other end was building a vital innings. Upping the tempo and targeting the straight boundaries with some huge sixes Massey brought the game to the final over with Dinton needing 10 runs and with only one wicket remaining.
The tension was almost unbearable as Massey scored six runs from the first two balls of the over. The Dinton fans were then in ecstasy when the third ball of the final over eluded the wicket keeper for four byes giving Dinton an unbelievable victory, with Massey finishing 46 not out ably supported at the end by Joe Wilcox. A truly remarkable run chase by a team who just refused to be beaten.