WERRINGTON’S fielding cost them dear as Penzance raced to a seven-wicket win in the WT?Edwards Cup final at Boscawen Park, Truro, last Thursday night.
Played in drizzle throughout the opening half an hour, only Nick Lawson with a 30-ball 44 and skipper Adam Hodgson (26) passed twenty as Werrington posted 109-8 off their 20 overs before Nathan Pobega (44) and Brad Wadlan (47) secured a comfortable win with more than five overs to spare.
This was the third attempt to get the game played. The first tie on Wednesday, July 19 was abandoned after just 22 balls, which led to Werrington allowing Penzance to represent Cornwall in the South West Area T20 finals on Sunday, July 30, due to five players being on Cornwall duty before a second attempt to play the game last Wednesday night was thwarted by the weather.
But with both teams keen to get the game played as early as possible, combined with an improved forecast, it was hastily arranged for 24 hours later.
Both sides were missing first-team regulars with Paul Smith (now living in Birmingham) and Tom Dinnis (work) missing for the North Cornwall club while star all-rounder Greg Smith and the hard-hitting Christian Purchase were amongst a quintet of key players missing for Penzance.
With the weather being poor in the lead up to the game, the pitch was always going to be wet, and it was Wadlan who won the toss and put Werrington into bat.
That decision was soon vindicated as Pobega (4-0-13-1) and former Leicestershire spinner James Sykes (4-0-10-1) kept the scoring down to a minimum with just 16 coming off the first five overs as Werrington nudged their way along at three an over for the first eight, which also included the key of wicket of county captain Matt Robins, caught at cover by Liam Devine off the bowling of Sykes for a duck.
However, Werrington were soon in trouble as Ben Smeeth (13) was well caught by a diving Devine at point off Antony Angove’s off-spin and Mark Gribble was soon cleaned up by Jonathan Ludlam (3-0-26-2) for just four.
Hodgson and Lawson started to increase the tempo, before Angove (4-0-21-3) snuck one through the skipper’s gate for 26, leaving Werrington in big trouble at 59-4 in the 11th over.
The aggressive James Turpin didn’t last long, holing out to deep midwicket for just three, however that only seemed to inspire Lawson as he smashed Wadlan (3-0-23-0) for a big six over mid-wicket before thrashing the ball over his head for a one bounce four.
Although Sam Hockin (3) holed out to Devine off Ludlam, Lawson continued to pepper the boundary as he hit Ludlam into the pavilion before audaciously ramping the returning Glyn Furnival (2-0-9-2) over the wicket-keeper Charles Goldsworthy for four.
And although he and Dan Warring (0) were bowled by Furnival in the final over, Werrington had reached 109-8 off their 20 overs and were in with a chance.
Morale was boosted in the Werrington camp when Angove was superbly stumped down the leg-side by Lawson off the bowling of Ian Worsnip for a duck in the first over.
However, with three of their regular top four unavailable, Penzance promoted Pobega to pinch-hit and it was Werrington’s inability to take their chances, which cost them.
Ben Smeeth (2-0-19-0) thought he had Pobega caught at long-on for 14 but Turpin shelled the catch as he dived forward.
With Wadlan looking in supreme touch at the other end, only Worsnip (4-0-21-1) and Hodgson (4-0-23-1) were able to keep a lid on the scoring as Pobega continued to chance his arm.
Penzance reached 50-1 inside seven overs before Pobega was soon dropped again, this time by Dan Warring at long-off.
Robins (1.4-0-19-0) was brought into the attack in the ninth over and it was Pobega who took an instant like to the off-spinner. He smashed him into the road over deep mid-wicket before Turpin nearly pulled off a stunning catch. Fielding on the deep mid-wicket boundary, Pobega aimed another blow into the leg-side. However, Turpin ran to his left, dived full stretch and took the ball, only for it to pop out as he touched the floor. To add insult to injury, Pobega then completed the over by hitting an even bigger maximum over long-on.
By now, Wadlan — who boasts extensive first-class experience in Zimbabwe as well as a number of Minor Counties hundreds — was looking in fine touch as he took the bowling apart with ease while Pobega hit his third monstrous six of the evening, clearing the sightscreen and the hedge in the process.
Pobega was finally caught at long-on by Turpin off Darren Webber (2-0-19-1) before Wadlan was bowled by Hodgson as he sauntered down the pitch to leave the score at 96-3.
However, Ryan Edwards (4no) and Ludlam (9no) comfortably picked off the final few runs to give Penzance their first WT Edwards Cup final victory since 1975 and with it revenge for Werrington’s Bank Holiday victory at St Clare at the end of May.
Reflecting on the game, Werrington captain Adam Hodgson, admits that their fielding wasn’t good enough.
Hodgson said: “We would of batted first anyway as we thought anything above 100 was an okay score on that wicket, which was very wet.
“I think the difference on the night was the fielding. They caught everything and we dropped three catches at crucial times, and with only 109 on the board you can’t afford to do that.”
While Werrington have enjoyed a fruitful run in the T20 competition this summer, Hodgson hasn’t been pleased with his side’s efforts in the ECB?Cornwall Premier League.
Shock home defeats to Helston and Redruth mean they’re currently down in fourth, and Hodgson is hoping for a strong end to the season, starting with Saturday’s trip to defending champions, St Just.
Hodgson, talking before Saturday’s 61-run victory at Falmouth, said: “We’ll be looking to play hard cricket as we always do and win every game that’s put in front of us, but we need to be more consistent and we need to start reading game situations better.
“To be honest I haven’t been happy at all with how this season’s gone. With the side we have got we should not be losing to the so-called ‘lesser sides’, especially at home.
“We have only played at 100% intensity for one game and that was at Penzance. Other than that we have just been going through the motions and that’s disappointing considering the standards we have set ourselves over the years.”