Congresbury crowned league champions after nail-biting one-run victory

PUBLISHED: 09:36 01 September 2017 | UPDATED: 09:36 01 September 2017

Congresbury Cricket Club.

Congresbury Cricket Club.

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Congresbury clinched the Bristol & District Senior Division championship title after a one-run victory away at Downend.

Congresbury 1st XI were crowned Bristol & District Senior Division champions after a nail-biting one-run victory away at Downend.

With 10 overs remaining the match looked to be slipping away from the visitors.

However, Congresbury clawed themselves back into the match and Iraq Thomas held his nerve in the final over, to deny Downend the eight runs required for victory.

Congresbury captain Sam Evans lost the toss and his side were made to bat on a wicket that had some life early on. They lost Ritchie Bann (7) early on, but Cameron Harding (39) and Ian Perry (42) built a solid partnership to give the visitors a good platform.

However, when Harding was brilliantly caught in the gully it started a mini-collapse with Perry, Mike Fisher and Jack Kearns following in quick succession.

It was left to Thomas and Stuart Castle to re-build the Congresbury innings and they did so in fine fashion putting on nearly 100 runs for the sixth wicket.

When Castle (21) was bowled, Thomas (79) holed out and Sam Kearns was also bowled, Congresbury looked like they may fall short of runs on what appeared to be a drying wicket.

Jos Tomlinson (16) and Evans (39 not out) provided the impetus required for the second consecutive week. When Tomlinson was out lbw, Evans managed to farm the strike for the remaining three overs and get his team up to a respectable score of 279-9 off their 45 overs.

If Congresbury thought they were going to have it all their own way they were certainly mistaken as Joe Dryell (52) and Daniel Semple (54) flew out of the blocks, giving Downend a swift start.

The visitors were showing their nerves and catches were being put down regularly as their performance faltered. However, Jack Kearns claimed the huge wicket of Joe Dryell to get his team back in the game.

Downend did not slow down and the new batsman, Mahadi Saleem played a number of exuberant shots to keep his side in control. A brilliant one-handed catch from Sam Kearns removed Saleem for 27, but Christopher Binnie (74) then entered the fray.

Binnie and Semple eased their side towards the target before Semple’s resistance finally crumbled when he top edged Jack Kearns’ delivery which was caught by Tomlinson.

Despite this wicket Downend appeared to be cruising towards victory until Jack Kearns struck again, having Binnie caught on the boundary by his brother.

It was at this point the feeling of the game changed and Congresbury seized the initiative when Harding who bowled seven overs straight with a side-strain claimed two vital wickets.

Thomas then followed this up with a wicket of his own, ramping up the tension.

With Downend requiring eight off the last over, the first three deliveries yielded just one run before the fourth ball was smeared away to square-leg boundary.

The penultimate ball was hit down the ground for a single meaning Downend required two to win and one to tie off the final ball.

The batsman tried to hit the ball out of the ground, but only resulted in missing it completely and Tomlinson whipped off the bails to give Congresbury victory and a return to the West of England Premier League.

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