By Roy Honeybone
Wilts CCC are through to semi-finals in the MCCA Unicorns Trophy after beating Oxfordshire at Aston Rowant on June 30.
Toss won by Oxfordshire who decided to bat first in the quarter-final.
After an initial brief period of caution Shabaz Alam 46, and Tom Cosford 58,really opened up and raced to 100 in just 91 balls. At this stage it looked as though Oxfordshire would post an imposing total, but then along came Jake Lintott 3 for 37, and he removed both openers and then dismissed Kaufman lbw and then ran out Garrett for good measure.
Joe King also took 3 wickets (3 for 44) Ed Young trapped Gareth Andrew lbw (one of eight lbw victims in the game) Luke Evans ran out Oxfordshire skipper Cater 23 and when Arthur Godsal bowled Russell White in the penultimate over Wiltshire were right back in the game having dismissed Oxfordshire for 229.
The Wiltshire team always felt that the total should be within their grasp, but they would need to bat sensibly and bat out the overs to achieve their goal. Gareth Andrew 3 for 32 had other ideas and claimed the wickets of both Tom Morton and Jake Goodwin early on.
However this brought Uzi Qureshi and skipper Ed Young 41, together and they put on 84 runs for the third wicket putting Wiltshire back in the driving seat. After Young had been dismissed lbw (yet another one) by Joe Thomas three wickets fell cheaply to Oliver Clarke 3 for 32 – advantage Oxfordshire. Arthur Godsal 41 played an excellent innings alongside Qureshi as they pushed the score on to 218 before Godsal was bowled by Andrews.
It had looked as though these two would see Wiltshire home, but now Luke Evans entered the fray with 12 still needed for victory and Oxfordshire needing to take 2 wickets. This fascinating game had seen fluctuating fortunes for both sides and now we were entering the final phase with both sides capable of securing the win. Qureshi was on 99 not out when Evans joined him and he duly achieved a well-crafted, hard fought century (104 not out) which would prove to be a matchwinner.
Andrew ran in hoping to flatten Evans stumps as he had done with his previous delivery to Godsal. The ball rose sharply and Evans 5, took the opportunity of helping it on its way to the boundary to secure the victory and create a sea of excited smiling Wiltshire faces. Next fixture in this competition will be a semi-final clash with Berkshire.