PHC keep Chargers at bay
PHC and Tuff Dogs delivered contrasting victories in their first-round matches to set up intriguing Evening Cricket League knockout semi-finals at Shelly Bay on Saturday.
PHC have drawn league champions Renegades, while defending knockout champions The Associates will face Tuff Dogs in a repeat of last season's final, which Dave Horan settled with a six off the final ball.
With Renegades, who ended the regular season with a perfect 10-0 record, and The Associates, the league runners-up, drawing first-round byes, PHC held off CV Chargers by 10 runs before Tuff Dogs overpowered BCB Academy by 49 runs at Somerset Cricket Club.
Opener Tim Davies anchored Tuff Dogs' 137 for four from 16 overs, smashing six sixes and five fours in his 49-ball 78.
The Academy, who lost key players because of overseas school commitments, replied with 88 for three, Dionte Dowling following up his two for ten by making top score of 29, while Keith Whorms chipped in with 22.
A late victory burst had seen CV Chargers finish third in the league while PHC rounded out the top six, but PHC reversed the form on Saturday after half-centuries by Dean Stevens, who made 53, and Kevin Hurdle, with 51, laid the foundation for their side's 145 for three.
Piers Carr, the league's top batsman, led the reply with an unbeaten 66 as Chargers, who needed 21 to win off the final over, closed on 135 for three.
Carr, who compiled 332 runs in nine league innings for an average of 47.43, struck three sixes and four fours and was assisted in the run chase by Fergus Morrison, who made 26.
Somers Carr, the Chargers' captain, who took two for 26, said: “We've really enjoyed our second season in the league, albeit Covid-19-affected.
“We fell a little short in the knockout to a great PHC side, but finishing third in the league was a fantastic effort from our guys in our first season against the bigger teams.
“We ended the season with three players in the top ten run scorers including our opener Piers, who finished ahead of the pack by almost 100 runs.
“But next year we're going to have to work on our bowling and fielding, which has let us down at times. If we can straighten that out, I'm certain we will be in contention for both the league title and the knockout tournament come the end of the 2021 season,” added Carr, the brother of Piers.
At Shelly Bay, Niel Thakur produced a superb all-round performance to pilot High Flyaz into the plate final, in which they will face De Wicketest, who advanced following a seven-wicket win over West XI, thanks largely to Shawn Loving's impressive five-wicket haul.
Thakur, who came in at number three, followed up opener Rohaan Simons's 49 by hammering four sixes and two fours in his 33-ball 54 before claiming three for nine off two overs to restrict Fine Leg Byes to 97 for eight.
Swadish Gond supported Thakur with two for 32, while Darin Anglin was top bowler with three for 43 for FLB, whose main contributors with the bat were Dave Greenidge with 26 and Ricky Hill, who made 24.
Loving claimed five for 18 from four overs to peg West XI to 115 for six before his captain, Justin Brooks, wrapped up the win with an unbeaten 42.
Bottom club KPMG, who failed to win a game, were omitted from the plate, leaving the four teams above them to battle it out.
•Tomorrow's first semi-final, between The Associates and Tuff Dogs, starts at 11.30am with the second game between Renegades and PHC following at 3pm at Shelly Bay. Both finals will be held at the same venue on October 3.