August 29, 2001

Wanstead win Sun Bank Under-15 Championship Final

Wanstead Cricket Club, the Essex club which until recently was home to James Foster, England's new wicketkeeper, won the Sun Bank Under-15 Club Championship Final at the May's Bounty Ground in Basingstoke after an entertaining 18 run victory over Worcester Nomads.

Watched by England captain Nasser Hussain and Warwickshire slow left-armer Ashley Giles, who is recovering from an operation to his achilles tendon, the Essex side, containing five Under-13 players, batted first to rattle up an imposing 162, then produced a good all-round team effort to restrict the opposition to 144 for eight in the allocated 20 overs.

They were sidetracked by superb 64 from Worcester Nomads captain and opener Kieran Rees whose attacking front foot innings contained a series of delightfully well-timed and powerfully struck straight drives.

But he was thwarted by tiny 12 year-old Stephen Ramdial, who stands at barely four feet tall, who took a finely judged catch off a lofted on drive to swing the game safely in Wanstead's favour.

Ramdial, a spinner who turned the ball both ways to finish with 2-24 - and is known by his team-mates as 'Rugrat' - was hoisted onto his colleagues shoulders for the high five celebrations, to the amusement of a 750-strong crowd who turned up to watch the culmination of a competition which in 2001 saw a record entry of 1,481 club sides.

"He is a very good little player - whenever he comes onto bowl, the batsmen think its 'fill your boots time'," said Wanstead coach Trevor Hebden.

"He turns it one way and gets hit out of the ground then turns it another and gets packs of wickets."

Ramesh Gunalan made 33 to steer Wanstead to victory over Tynemouth CC in the semi-finals then made another 39, in addition to his 2-19 in the final to secure the title.

Worcester Nomads beat Welsh side St Fagans, which features the son of former Glamorgan captain Matthew Maynard, in a last over semi-final thriller and the Cardiff side went onto win the runners-up final, beating Tynemouth by six wickets.