Umpires call time on Academy's t20 Cup run

First published in Local Cricket

Hampshire’s Academy cricketers have been controversially knocked out of the Southern Electric twenty20 Cup.

Quarter-final opponents Totton & Eling needed six runs to win off the final over, with three wickets in hand, to overhaul the Academy’s 166-8.

But at the end of the 19th over, umpires John Halfacre and Paul Turner ruled that, even allowing for stoppages, the Young Royals had exceeded the one hour 15 minute period allowed for bowling their 20 overs.

The 20th and final over was not bowled – and, in accordance with competition regulations, the umpires awarded six penalty runs, which handed Totton a three-wicket victory.

It was a bizarre end to an absorbing t20 contest, which ebbed and flowed in front of a decent sized Linden Oval crowd.

The Academy ticked along nicely, with Oli Green (18), Lewis McManus (12), Jake George (24) and Rob Gibson (23) all making starts.

But the main player in the Young Royals’ innings was James Halson, who hit a superb half-century – his unbeaten 56 including two magnificent Dilshan-scoop shots for six over straight fine-leg.

Darron Augustus (3-37) and spin pair Sam Walker (2-24) and Wadhid Khan (2-25) took the bowling credits for the Eels, for whom James Taylor gobbled up three well judged catches in the deep.

Totton were behind the required rate for long periods of their reply and with the dangerous Taylor combination – Dave and James – back in the pavilion at 53-3 (Jack Wood 3-22), the Academy were in the driving seat.

But Sam Walker (35) and Kush Mohod began a spirited mid-innings fight-back, before Walker (35) skied a catch off James Haggaty (2-27) at 84-4. But the tide turned again when Mohod (36) and Khan (33) struck some hefty blows in a fifth-wicket stand of 60, which had Totton scoring in excess of the ten runs an over they required.

The pair fell at 144-5 and 148-6, respectively, leaving the outcome on a knife-edge.

Teenage left-armer Tom Barber, who had bowled with real pace early on, struggled to find his line and length in the crucial penultimate over.

He sprayed three wides down the leg-side and was twice squirted for boundaries by little George Marshall, the second going through Jack Sheppard’s legs on the line.

At the end of that 19th over, Totton were 161-7, needing six more runs to secure a place in Friday’s semi-final draw.

But the umpires ruled the Academy had run ‘over-time’ in the field and the six penalty runs they awarded decided the Young Royals’ fate.

Sarisbury Athletic will face Alton in the quarter-finals at the Jubilee Ground on Sunday. Jack Penn hit an aggressive 72 as Alton overhauled Liphook & Ripsley’s 124-7 (Peter Woodland 47) to win by eight wickets.

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