DORSET 133-5 lost to CAMBRIDGESHIRE 134-4 by six wickets

DORSET’S quest for NCCA T20 finals day glory ended at the semi-final stage as Cambridgeshire eased to a six-wicket victory at Tring.

Playing in the second semi-final of the day, Dorset knew a win would set up a clash with Oxfordshire in the final after their 20-run success over Cheshire.

Oxfordshire went on to beat Cambridgeshire by two wickets in the final.

It meant Luke Webb’s men fell short of emulating their runners-up performance in 2019, slipping to only their second defeat in eight matches of the 2022 campaign.

While Dorset’s batters were in blistering form against Cornwall two weeks ago, they were well controlled by Cambridgeshire – who were asked to field after losing the toss.

England Under-19 captain Tom Prest, who led his side to a World Cup final earlier this year, and ex-England Under-19 opener Sam Young, made a good start against Cambridgeshire’s attack.

The duo built to 38-0 before Young, who struck a dazzling century in the previous match against Cornwall, was trapped lbw by Callum Guest (2-12).

Guest bowled four overs straight through and proved exceptionally difficult to get away, sucking in Prest (22) to offering a catch as Dorset fell to 51-2.

Dorset scored just 14 off the next 25 balls, losing Webb (4) to Ben Clilverd (1-19) in the process.

With Dorset’s innings quickly losing momentum, Harry Broderick hit a six and a four in a brisk 19 from 17 balls until he was caught by Clilverd off Jamie Sykes (1-29).

Alex Eckland (30) and David Scott (24no) then pushed Dorset into three figures but found boundaries hard to come by, scoring only four between them as the innings closed on 133-5.

With such a low total always likely to be jeopardy, Dorset bowled superbly to take the contest into the penultimate over.

Jacob Gordon (0-6) conceded just six runs from two overs but Jack Potticary breezed to 39 from 26 balls, including six fours and a maximum, to help negate the run out of Ben Seabrook (1) by Gordon.

Left-arm spinner Rob Pack (1-21) proved effective in the middle overs, pinning Michael Pepper (11) leg before to leave the chase at 58-3.

Dorset then restricted Cambridgeshire to 46 from the next 51 balls but their opponents still only needed 31 from the final five overs by the time Wayne White (24) was removed by Prest (1-27).

However, Noah Thain (39no) was well set and Lee Thomason (15no) worked Prest away for consecutive fours to win the game with nine balls to spare.

In the final, Potticary crashed 58 from 38 balls to register the first half-century of the day.

He was backed up by White (26) and Pepper (22) as Cambridgeshire posted 169-9, James Coles taking an impressive 3-14 from four overs.

However, Potticary’s knock was overshadowed by a title-winning 84 from Oxfordshire opener Harrison Ward, who thumped nine fours and three sixes in his brutal 55-ball innings.

He finally departed to leave the reply poised at 141-5 with three overs left but Oliver Churril (19) broke the back of the chase with two sixes in his ten-ball stay.

Oxfordshire needed eight runs for victory off the final over, but consecutive boundaries for George Tait (9no) off Tim Moses (0-33) won the trophy with four balls remaining.

Dorset begin their NCCA 50-over campaign on Sunday against Wiltshire at Marlborough College (11am).