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Final Versus Nuneaton at Elford

Aston Manor lined up for their first Warwickshire Cricket League Over 40s final with a strong team despite several absences from the semi-final side: Chris Wooding, captain, David Bond, Simon Bowen, Matt Buttle, Jason Furnell, Ian Hudson, Ali Mahmood, Loky Perera, Martin Rose, Shashi Thakor and David Woakes. Hudson got the Manor off to a good start, hitting two boundaries in the opening over, and continuing to run ones and twos as well as further boundaries around all parts of the ground. Bowens four elegantly struck leg-side sixes added to his six fours before being caught on 69 with five overs remaining. Furnell then quickly continued the high run-rate with regular boundaries, ending on 28 not out. Hudson was eventually run out, also for 69, on the penultimate ball of the innings. 21 wides helped add to the impressive 193-2 total off 18 overs. Opening bowlers Bond and Rose restricted Nuneaton mainly to singles in their opening two overs apiece, supported by a well-set field hindering boundaries. The first wicket fell in the third over when Bond had dangerous Nuneaton batsmen Caratella caught by Woakes at cover. Mahmood then also bowled economically, and Woakes second ball resulted in a Thakor catch at backward point. Woakes next over included an agile overhead catch by Perera at midwicket, which was surpassed by his outstanding extra-cover catch in the 11th over as Nuneaton stood at 65. The later introduction of Thakor again showcased his accurate economic off-spin and wicket taking. This included a high class mid-on boundary catch from Buttle, picking out a hard hit drive with ease in the severely fading light. Rose returned to take a further wicket, and in the same over a run out typified the Manors high standard of fielding. Nuneaton were always behind the run rate as strong starts by batsmen who looked capable of challenging the total were soon halted. Later Nuneaton runs from two final participatory overs took them to 142-8. Victory led to Chris Wooding collecting the Over 40s first trophy, which will be on display at Church Road for a year. The night was by far the Manors most outstanding all-round batting, bowling and fielding performance to date. With a number of additions to the squad following early season difficulties in assembling teams, the Over 40s look forward to 2017 with a realistic aim of winning the league stage. Friendlies including interclub nights should help ensure an overall balance of competitive cricket and player participation.