Bristol & District edge County League in GCF Cup

THE Bristol & District League emerged two-wicket victors over their Gloucestershire County League counterparts at Hawkesbury Upton to retain the GCF Cup.

The two representative sides brought the curtain down on the senior season in style with an entertaining match which was in the balance until the very end.

And, in a strange coincidence, the final margin of victory was an exact repeat of the result when the leagues met for the first time, at Chipping Sodbury in 2019.

Covid and the disruption that followed temporarily put paid to hopes of the match becoming an annual event, but it is now hoped that after a highly successful ‘reboot’ it is here to stay on the cricketing calendar.

Left to right: Eric Woodmason, Bristol & District captain Ash Baber, County League captain Josh Loade and Howard Hudd

Batting first after losing the toss, the County League were soon on the back foot at 22-3 as Bradley Stoke seamer Ben Rivers made two early breakthroughs.

But a terrific innings on the hottest day of the year from Lydney’s Alex Gooding (91 from 83) inspired a recovery with Aaron Court (29) and Tom Horrell (22), of Langford and Tetbury, respectively, playing important supporting roles.

The County League (above) were eventually dismissed for 211 in the 43rd over, Rivers finishing with 4-31 while Bradley Stoke team-mate and captain Ash Baber weighed in with 2-27 from nine.

There were also two wickets apiece for George Willis (OB Westbury) and Abdullah Tabraiz (Pak Bristolians).

The Bristol & District reply got off to a strong start thanks to 49 off 44 from Timsbury’s Mark Sage before their opponents pulled themselves back into contention, Gooding grabbing two wickets to make the score 118-5.

Two strikes from Horrell kept the game in the balance at 167-7 only for John Donaldson, of Coalpit Heath, to take charge with an authoritative unbeaten 55 from 56 and see his side over the line in the 42nd over.

Player of the match Gooding, charging in at full tilt to the very end, finished with 3-40 from his nine while the other wicket takers were Devin Rogers (Westbury-on-Severn), Sam Beeley (Hawkesbury) and George Garratt (Great Rissington).

Bristol & District chair John Peplow said: “It was a tremendous day and a great way to end the season after all the disruption of recent weeks.”

Tom Stevens, his counterpart at the Gloucestershire County League, added: “Thanks to Hawkesbury for making us all so welcome at their beautiful ground.

“We battled hard only to come up just short in an excellent game, but we look forward to next year’s rematch.”

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