By Charles Randall
14 August 2013
Brentwood CC have eyes on their second successive Conference Cup final when they host Blackheath in the semi-final on 18 August, a re-arranged date.
Blackheath destroyed Valley End's hopes of retaining the trophy in the quarter-finals, so there will be another new name on the champions list in its fifth year, with the redoubtable Sunbury meeting Waltham, a side in the last eight of the ECB National Cup, in the other semi-final. All four clubs have been beaten finalists since 2007, including the period when the competition was known as the Evening Standard Challenge Trophy.
Brentwood, beaten 2012 finalists, owed much to Joe Buttleman's assault on Bexley's bowling to change the face of their quarter-final in Kent. His 65 not out off only 40 balls, including four sixes, boosted the total to 229-5 off 45 overs, Guy Balmford weighing in with a brisk 42. The target was much tougher than had seemed likely, and Bexley could not keep up with the required rate, especially after Harry Levy dented the middle order with three wickets.
Blackheath's victory over the 2012 winners Valley End proved convincing enough, despite a good all-round performance against them from Andrew Newbery, who took 2-16 off six overs and then top-scored with 52 in a losing cause. Blackheath posted 214-8 after Jamie Speller's undefeated 69 and won on run-rate when rain halted Valley End on 172-8 from 41 overs. Tom Mees and James Hands picked up three wickets each.
Tanweer Sikandar, the batting pillar at Potters Bar in the Home Counties League, has been helping Waltham tackle cup cricket on Sundays and he scored 82 to set up a 44-run win at Teddington. He followed up with a couple of wickets, and Teddington fell well short, despite 76 not out from Joe Austin. In an earlier round Sikandar smashed 166 and took a hat-trick at Hadleigh & Thundersley.
Sunbury were hit by an early whirlwind but recovered to pip Finchley by two wickets with two balls to spare. Jake Milton hit 100 off 89 balls for Finchley at Sunbury, but finished on the losing side when Sunbury squeezed home by two wickets with two balls to spare. It looked like Finchley's day when openers Jake Milton (100 off 89 balls) and Zayed Bukhari (51 off 52 balls) piled on 122, but three wickets from Haroon Aslem and John Maunders pulled the score back to 248-9. Maunders led Sunbury's lively reply with 66, and Kevin Smith's 41 off 41 balls proved decisive.