The wet weather certainly hasn't dampened the spirits of the sides hoping to progress in this year's Cockspur Cup, the England & Wales Cricket Board's premier club knockout competition, with Ockbrook & Washbrook, Barnt Green and Doncaster Town all through to the quarter-finals after winning their matches last Sunday.
Waltham gave their quarter-final hopes a boost by comprehensively defeating Saffron Walden, the champions in 2002, in an all-Essex encounter. They restricted Walden to 111 for 9 in 45 overs, with Ata-ur-Rehman, who played 13 Tests and 30 one-dayers for Pakistan, taking 4 for 17 in nine overs. Waltham completed an emphatic victory in just 20.4 overs, with Arshad Ali making 82 in 72 balls. They will now play Teddington for a spot in the quarter-final against either Taunton or Kibworth.
Robbie Hodges helped Finchley to 250 for 5 against Hampstead, making 84. He was well supported by Keerthi Ranasinghe, a former Sri Lankan international one-day player, who smashed 76 from only 50 balls. Faced with such an imposing total, Hampstead fell well short, and were bowled out for 193. Mark Harvey, Hampstead's captain, was the only major contributor, scoring 70. Finchley will play Havant this Sunday, and should they win that game, an away quarter-final game at High Wycombe will follow.
Following their demolition of the Vauxhall Mallards, Barnt Green, from Birmingham, dismissed Ormskirk for a paltry 83. Richard Illingworth, the former Worcestershire and England slow left-armer, sent down his nine overs for a miserly 10 runs, and took three wickets. He was ably supported by Gavin Haynes, another former Worcestershire man, who picked up 2 for 15. Barnt Green will be sure of a tougher challenge in their quarter-final game against Doncaster Town, who thrashed Barrow by 180 runs.
Batting first, Doncaster made 243 all out in 44.5 overs, with Simon Widdup and Andrew Renison both scoring half-centuries. Paul Stokoe then took 4 for 18 in seven overs as Barrow were bowled out for just 63 in 25.1 overs.
Ockbrook & Washbrook, a Derby side, beat Bootle, from Liverpool, in a thrilling encounter at home. Ockbrook made a formidable total of 267 for 8 in 45 overs, built around a solid 83 by John Owen, the former Lancashire batsman, and a spectacular 41 off 17 balls by Ian Darlington.
Graham Lloyd, the son of David, the England-coach-turned-commentator, stroked a masterly 103 for Bootle, holding the batting together after they had collapsed to 123 for 6. He added 102 with Ian Cockbain for the seventh wicket, and Bootle went into the last five overs needing 43 to win with three wickets in hand. They lost two more wickets in the next three overs, but in the penultimate over of the match Charlie Lamb clubbed Lian Wharton for four sixes to keep Bootle in the game. However, he was bowled swinging at the first ball of the last over, bowled by Charlie Windmill, handing victory, as well as a place in the quarter-finals, to Ockbrook.
The draw for the Cockspur Cup quarter-finals is as follows:
Grange or South Northumberland v Ockbrook & Washbrook
Barnt Green v Doncaster Town
High Wycombe v Havant or Finchley
Kibworth or Taunton v Waltham or Teddington