One final Bush bags the title!
By Ben Kosky SKIPPER Ed Reynolds admits he feared rain might rob Shepherd s Bush of their historic title triumph on Saturday. Bush went into their final game away to neighbours Acton a point clear at the top of Division Two – but knew that a washout might
By Ben Kosky
SKIPPER Ed Reynolds admits he feared rain might rob Shepherd's Bush of their historic title triumph on Saturday.
Bush went into their final game away to neighbours Acton a point clear at the top of Division Two - but knew that a washout might well cost them promotion.
That scenario was avoided by only 15 minutes as a lunchtime downpour prompted the umpires to set a 2.45pm deadline for play to start - and the match finally began at 2.30pm.
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The Bush contingent breathed an almighty sigh of relief and, fittingly, it was Reynolds who struck the winning runs to earn them a six-wicket win and the championship.
"When I got there I actually thought we'd never get on and that, if we did, we'd never finish the game. We couldn't get the covers off because it kept raining," Reynolds recalled.
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"But Acton were tremendous. Local rivals are never going to roll over for you, but they weren't in the least resistant to playing and they played with a great spirit throughout.
"We were in the box seat really and, once we got on, I never thought we'd lose the game. To win the league was the aim at the beginning of the season and it's finally been achieved, so I'm thrilled."
Once Reynolds had won the toss and sent Acton in, Bush's opening pair of Amit Suman and Will Speer exploited the damp conditions to reduce their hosts to 70-9.
Suman took 5-34 - bringing his total wicket haul for the season to 64 - and Speer captured 3-50, but Bush were held up by last pair Matthew Turnell and Keith Hunt.
The duo frustrated Bush and used up precious time in taking the Acton total to 102-9 before Hunt took a nasty blow on the arm from a rising Suman delivery and was forced to retire hurt.
That left the visitors with a target of 103 from 24 overs and De La Rey Terblanche strode out to slam a boundary before hitting a skier and departing as quickly as he arrived.
Shani Kamalia was trapped lbw for a single to leave Bush precariously placed at 24-2, but a sensible partnership of 41 between Robbie Watts (54 not out) and Jack Blakiston-Houston kept them ahead of the required run rate.
There were a few more nervous moments for Bush when Blakiston-Houston was stumped for 20 and Suman - promoted to number five - holed out immediately for a duck.
And it was left to Reynolds to calm those nerves with a gritty 17 not out that clinched the championship with 15 balls to spare.
That meant that Bush will play Premier League cricket for the first time since the league split into divisions - and Reynolds is confident his troops can avoid the fate of last year's promoted duo, Southgate and Brentham - both of whom are heading straight back down.
"Southgate had some genuine talent, but they were also an ageing side - a couple of their players retired last year and they were always going to struggle," observed the Bush captain.
"Looking at our bowling attack, I know Amit and others will trouble Premier League batsmen and, with a couple of additions, I think we've got the squad to stay up.
"We never really put a run together until the last four games, but there's been a steady progression throughout the last couple of years and the players are improving.
"We've always had a decent core of players who'd probably get into any side. But Robbie's runs and Amit's wickets have probably allowed the rest of us to relax a little bit more.
"If you go into the Premier League you end up attracting better players and hopefully that will happen. The next thing is to establish ourselves and get a real foothold.
"Our second XI stayed up as well and, if some of the first-team guys end up playing second XI cricket, then that team is only going to get stronger as well. So that'll have a knock-on effect on the whole club.