It wasn’t the run feast that David Makinson had hoped for, but the result was everything the Leyland captain had dreamed of. In memorable scenes on Sunday, his side won the 2011 Division One Readers Cup after beating Kendal by just three runs in front of a large and noisy crowd at Fox Lane.
Makinson lifted the trophy for the home side 31 years after he first tasted success in the competition as part of the victorious 1980 Leyland team.
Despite heavy overnight rain, play started on time at 1pm, thanks to an army of Leyland volunteers. On a damp, seamer friendly pitch Makinson chose to bat first after winning the toss.
With regular opening batsman Luis Reece involved in the Unicorns CB40 team, wicketkeeper Adam Coates was promoted to open the batting with Henry Thompson, who was fresh off his maiden Northern League hundred the previous day.
Scoring was never going to be easy and makeshift opener Coates and Thompson were soon out to leave Leyland in early trouble at 21 for 2.
The previous week, Kendal had bowled Leyland out in the league for just 54, with the visitors’ captain Chris Miller taking 7 for 23.
It looked like history was going to repeat itself on Sunday when he entered the attack and removed David Fisher and Karl Cross in his first over. Miller proceeded to bowl an inspirational spell of classical right arm off spin in which he also picked up the wicket of Chris Parkinson, to finish with figures of 3-12 in eight overs.
Leyland lost wickets throughout their innings and were unable to build significant partnerships.
Home team pro Brett Pelser (below) battled hard for his 33, which included a huge six off his opposite number Jamie How’s first delivery, but, when he was removed, the scoreboard read 64 for 7.
Leyland’s lower order battled hard to post a respectable total.
Youngster Liam Hurt, making only his second appearance in the first XI, made 13 before he was spectacularly caught and bowled by How to end the Leyland innings for 96 in 36.2 overs.
In order to defend such a low total, the Leyland side knew that they had to get early breakthroughs after tea at the start of the Kendal innings.
They managed to achieve that when professional Pelser had Cumberland batsman Jonathan Miles adjudged LBW for seven and Baker was bowled dragging a wide delivery from Andrew Makinson into his stumps to reduce the visitors to 17 for 2.
Kendal professional, New Zealand international Jamie How, made a confident start to his innings, stroking two fours off Pelser and looked to be the only player throughout the game completely at ease on the slow batting surface.
He shared a partnership of 38 for the third wicket with Nick Lewthwaite, before wicketkeeper Coates acrobatically caught Lewthwaite off the bowling of Andrew Makinson.
In the same over, veteran batsman Terry Hunte departed for a duck when he was run out by a direct hit from point by Chris Parkinson after a mix up with How.
Sensing a way back into the game, Leyland captain Makinson expertly positioned his fielders to deny How run scoring opportunities.
Peter Cummings trapped Jack White LBW, but youngster Oliver Field battled hard with How to take the score to 79.
Then followed possibly the moment of the match when Makinson dismissed How caught in the deep by James Rounding, following four consecutive deliveries that had beaten the Kiwi’s bat.
Leyland’s out cricket was up to the same high standards Kendal had set earlier in the day, with Hurt taking a magnificent diving catch to dismiss Nick Phillips from a Pelser slower ball.
When Field was bowled by David Fisher for seven, Kendal were 87 for 8 and the game that had twisted one way and then another was in the balance once more.
With the drying wicket assisting his off spin, Fisher held his nerve to remove Kendal captain Chris Miller caught at mid wicket and then secured a three run victory for his side by removing last man Mark Phillips caught and bowled.
Northern League chairman Norman Poole was on hand to conduct the post-match presentations.
Fisher was selected as man-of-the-match for his nerveless bowling display at the death and collected his award from the league’s president Brian Standing.