TOP SCORER: Samarth Seth
TOP SCORER: Samarth Seth

Barnard Castle CC
BARNEY are in dreamland. They reached the final of the National Club Twenty20 Cup on Sunday after winning two thrilling matches to become northern champions.
In the semi-final tie at Denby, in Derbyshire, they defeated Westhoughton of the Bolton League by three runs in a nerve-shredding finish when all looked lost. Thus inspired, they swept aside Alderley Edge, of the Cheshire League, galloping home by nine wickets with 43 of the 120 balls to spare.
“It is hard to think of a more wonderful day for the club,” said director of cricket, Michael Stanwix, who was also a steely club captain for more than 20 years when achievements such as this were pipedreams.
“In a way this is the culmination of so much hard work put in by so many people at the club over the last 20 years which made it possible to build this superb team. It would be tremendous now if we could win one more match.”
The chief runs contributor in the proceedings was Barney’s formidable Indian batting star, Samarth Seth, who made 61 off 40 balls in the opening game and a still more brutal unbeaten 83 from 47 balls in the second.
But this was an afternoon in which Barney’s strengths as a team were showcased, a refusal to be beaten when up against it and an ability to seize an opportunity when it presents itself. Their fielding and catching – as epitomised by players as diverse as the burly Richard Borrowdale and the lithe Rob Dixon who both took stunners – were from the top drawer.
Skipper James Quinn said: “We knew how tough it was going to be and we weren’t disappointed in that regard.
“But the lads have got better as the season has gone on despite having played so much cricket. They don’t appear to be fazed in any situation.”
The team’s resources were tested to the limit. Vice-captain Josh Bousfield pulled up with a side strain in his third over – and may miss the rest of the season. Then, Richard Watson, who replaced him in the second match, split the webbing between his thumb and index finger, needing stitches.
Fortunately, Barney had prepared meticulously and named a squad of 13 for the afternoon. If they did not quite have every eventuality covered it was close to it. They have not left much to chance all summer.
Perhaps they started as favourites to beat Westhoughton, perhaps they should have scored more runs after reaching 96-1 midway through their innings. But the loss of Quinn, run out trying to sustain the pace and, shortly after, Seth slightly reduced the impetus. Only 43 runs came in the final six overs.
Westhoughton set off at a dash and when the dangerous Kimani Melius was at the crease they were threatening to make mincemeat of Barney’s total.
But it is a measure of the way Barney gave played this summer that they do not succumb easily.
Karl Carver induced a mistake from Melius and took the resultant return catch from a leading edge.
The scoring rate dropped, Barney sensed the turn of the tide. Finn Usher, who had 20 hit off his first over, returned and had five taken from his third.
Nine runs were needed from the final over but with the redoubtable Dixon bowling it, their chances minimised. Only five came. Barney were in the northern final.
Alderley Edge had made light work of Yorkshire Premier League side Appleby Frodingham, from Scunthorpe, in the first semi-final but found Barney’s bowlers a different proposition.
All Barney’s bowlers were splendid, Carver, Dixon and Tom Merryweather at the start and then Rob West and Usher to follow.
A target of 136 looked attainable and so it proved. Usher, promoted to open, was a perfect foil for the ebullient Seth.
The end came in a hurry. On this occasion there was to be only one winner.
Barney 163 for 6 (20 overs, S Seth 61, J Quinn 47, R Borrowdale 20, A Patel 2-26); Westhoughton 160-6 (20 overs, K Melius 46, M Atherton 31, M Morris 24, K Carver 3-20, R West 3-24)
Barney won by 3 runs
Alderley Edge 135-9 (20 overs, S Perry 41, C Red 22, F Usher 3-21, R Dixon 2-22) Barney 1371 (12.5 overs, S Seth 83no, F Usher 35no, A Day 1-16)
Barney won by 9 wkts