Ashford win cup in last-ball thriller

Ashford-in-the-Water bowler Peter Marsden dives to thwart Elton batsman Craig Elliott in the Longstone League Cup Final in Great Longstone.
Ashford-in-the-Water bowler Peter Marsden dives to thwart Elton batsman Craig Elliott in the Longstone League Cup Final in Great Longstone.
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Ashford in the Water won the Longstone League Knockout Cup for the first time in a thrilling final that ebbed and flowed at Great Longstone on Friday.

Winning the toss, stand-in skipper Peter Marsden asked Elton to bat on the damp wicket and the decision proved key as Elton made a nervous start.

Kevn Rowney (3-22) struck to reduce the batting side to 6-2.

However, Craig Elliot (33) and Jack Stone (22) patiently rebuilt the innings before both were removed as Joe Muir (2-18) and Rowney struck. Ashford’s fielding was nearly flawless as they heaped pressure on Elton and the final total of 89 looked well short of par.

Ashford’s reply began brightly but Elton were soon in the game. Two quick strikes from Sam Lightfoot (2-25) reduced them to 19-2, but this simply brought Ashford’s semi-final hero Phil Price to the crease.

In typically brutal fashion, he struck 31 to put Ashford back in pole position. Jonathan Heath (2-18) quickly struck twice, removing Price and reducing Ashford to 60-6. This left John Carrington to bat with the tail and he rose to the challenge.

With just three needed from the final over, the job was nearly done. However, in an incredible final over from Elton skipper Paul Carson (4-24), three wickets went down in four balls.

With two balls remaining, last man Rob Ellis managed to stroke a single to finally give Carrington the chance he needed. As the crowd held their breath, Carrington achieved hero status with a four to finish on 27 not out.

Full credit to Elton for their never-say-die attitude, but it will be Ashford who defend the cup next season.