All-round performance from Hughes helps York’s cricketers to cup final


Images: Peter Iveson and Philippa Grafton

A fine display with the bat and ball from Joel Hughes earned an understrength York a semi-final victory over the University of Bradford and a shot at BUCS Northern Conference Cup glory in next week’s final.

Hughes shone with the ball before proving to be the mainstay of his side’s innings with the bat, coming in with the score at 28-2 and marching off victorious with a half-century under his belt.

Bradford batted first and limped to a seemingly below-par total. 158 all out was certainly less impressive than the visitors’ showing in the previous two rounds, in which they racked up far more formidable totals of 352 and 324.

In truth it was more a case of Bradford losing their wickets than anything else. The first wicket to fall was as unlucky as you can get though, a Charlie Alsop delivery was driven back at him hard and low and he managed to deflect it on to the stumps, running out the non-striker.

From then on it was a parade of Bradford batsmen losing their wickets. Fahid slapped straight to cover off Alsop to leave the visitors two down and Hughes then got in on the act to bowl Khan and leave the away side on 74-3.

After a brief delay for rain the wickets continued to fall. Bradford’s number five Patel seemed unaware of his team’s plight and continued to waft outside his off-stump. His demise was somewhat predictable as he steered a catch to Oscar Wimshurst. The very next ball the situation worsened for Bradford as Hughes trapped Mohammad LBW first ball.

The score progressed to 106 before Bradford lost their next wicket as Akthar was caught by wicket-keeper Richard Hoggart off the bowling of George Richards. Six wickets down Bradford put up some resistance, thanks predominantly to Yugesh Golwalkor, but captain James Oldham returned to the attack to have Golwalkor caught behind and Bradford slumped to 138-7.

Three wickets later it was all over as Richards and spinner Alex McDonald combined to mop up the tail. Bradford’s total of 158 didn’t seem enough, certainly given the anger of their captain and their coach, audibly frustrated at their side’s tendency to give their wicket away.

After tea York’s innings got underway. Devoid of the presence of star man Fraser Crawford it was left to Alex ‘Grimmers’ McDonald and Oscar Wimshurst to open up for the hosts; they started comfortably but with the score on 15 Wimshurst sliced to gully and was well taken.

Soon after it was 28-2 as McDonald was caught and bowled. At this stage Hughes came to crease to join Nick Townson and the two went about rebuilding the White Rose’s innings. Townson in particular played some attractive shots but he scooped a leading edge to square leg to leave York at 59-3.

With the target for victory 100 runs away York still had work to do to secure their cup final berth and it got even harder as captain Oldham went for 1 moments later. Oldham was taking his time, as the situation warranted, but saw a block off a spinner deflect back on to his stumps, despite his best attempts to kick it away.

71-4 became 86-6 as messrs Bugge and Hoggart came and went without too much impact. All of a sudden it was the visitors who were on top, buzzing in the field as they sensed an opportunity to put York under real pressure.

Ben Cooke came to the crease and number 8 and did a brilliant job in keeping Hughes company, the score had progressed to 105 by the time he had been bowled meaning with three wickets left York needed 54 for victory.

With George Richards at the other end Hughes went about calmly finishing off the match. Once he had seen off Bradford’s two most dangerous paceman it was simply a case of picking up singles from the spinners and punishing the bad balls, of which there were plenty for York to prosper.

Bradford’s captain attempted to influence the game as much as possible, delaying on a number of occasions to alter his field meticulously, but it wasn’t to be as Hughes and Richards saw York over the line.

Skipper Oldham was chuffed with his side’s efforts, especially seeing as the line-up lacked a number of the first XI’s key names, including Roses centurion Andy Kirkwood: “I’m delighted to get through to the final of the cup. We finished with a lot of nerves there at the end but we were 105-7 at one point so that 50-run partnership at the end was brilliant. We missed quite a few players today but we still managed to beat a full-strength Bradford side so I’m really happy”.

York will play either Liverpool Hope University or Liverpool John Moores University in next Wednesday’s cup final. A win would cap off a great season that has seen Oldham’s side top their league with a 100% record.