Dutch A side retains Continental T20 title
The Netherlands A side retained their Continental Twenty20 Championship title at Thurlede on Saturday, beating Jersey by 16 runs in a final which was a replay of last season's edition and which followed a remarkably similar pattern.
This year's tournament was notable for the presence of an MCC side, who lost both their matches on the opening day but who came back on the second to beat France twice and claim third place.
As in 2011, the placings were largely settled in the first two rounds, with the home side and Jersey each recording two wins and ensuring that whatever the outcome of their Saturday morning encounter in the last round-robin game, they would again meet in the final.
Finding it difficult at first to adjust to the conditions, the MCC's batsmen were dismissed for 74 in their first match as they chased Netherlands A's 147 for nine, and although they did better in the afternoon, reaching 107 for eight thanks to 35 from Matthew Friedlander, they fell well short of Jersey's 151 for eight.
France, meanwhile, struggled to 76 for nine against Jersey, Corne Bodestein and Ben Stevens picking up three wickets apiece, to lose by five wickets, and were then dismissed for 78 as they chased a target of 113 for eight by Netherlands A, for whom Dirk van Baren had the remarkable figures of five for 7.
If the games on Friday had all resulted in clear-cut results, it was a very different story when Jersey took on Netherlands A on Saturday morning.
Tom de Grooth gave his side a great start with a 38-ball 52, including six fours and a six, as the home side posted 127 for nine, and although opener Ed Farley kept Jersey in the game, batting through the innings despite some fine bowling from a Dutch attack led by seamer Shahbaz Bashir, the islanders began the last over still needing 14 for victory.
They could only manage 13 of them, including a fourth six by Farley, who finished on an undefeated 70, made from 50 deliveries, and the game ended in a tie.
Excelsior's young New Zealander, Brett Hampton, reinforced the MCC side on Saturday after an injury reduced the Englishmen's squad to ten, and his 42 and an opening stand of 86 with Friedlander set the MCC on the path to an eight-wicket victory over France, for whom captain Williamdeep Singh made an unbeaten 56 in a total of 122 for seven.
Hampton also played a key role when they repeated this success in the play-off for third place, taking three for 17 and making 41. France set the highest total of the tournament with 163 for six, thanks to a knock of 77 by Arslan Khan, only to see this surpassed by the MCC, for whom Sebastian Franke-Matthecka made 74 not out.
After a lively start in the final from De Grooth and Vinoo Tewarie the Netherlands A side's innings was well contained by Jersey in the middle overs, Joe Mayes taking two for 15 in his four overs of left-arm spin, but then Shahbaz Bashir crowned an excellent two days with both bat and ball by making an unbeaten 42-ball 53, including five fours and a six.
That enabled the Dutch to reach 130 for four, and although Jersey made a steady start, with 29 from Farley and 23 from Stevens, Tewarie's leg-spin proved the decisive factor, as it had a year earlier. This time he claimed four for 12, and although Andrew Dewhirst played a fine hand for 38 not out, he received little support, and the innings closed on 114 for nine.