Accountants again are Birmingham’s leading corporate cricketers after KPMG won the Lord’s Taverners John Bright Trophy with a dramatic last ball victory against Phoenix Group.
On a glorious sunny evening at picturesque Britannic Park, Moseley, unflappable KPMG captain Simon Griffiths narrowly engineered his side’s third trophy win in the tournament’s seven-year history, despite being a player light.
In an interesting act of largesse, his side took the field with just 10 men as fast bowler Omar Jawed was marooned working in Leicester thinking the final was the following day.
And they did well to restrict Phoenix to 155/5, fielding a man short on the sizeable ground in the final of the tournament sponsored by fund managers Williams de Broe.
A far higher score looked inevitable for the life assurance company after openers Chris Acaster (35 retired) and Qasim Akbar (36 retired), with some fine strokeplay and aggressive running, took their side to 86 without loss with half of their side’s 16 eight-ball overs gone.
But the tournament newcomers, based at the former Britannic Assurance headquarters at Wythall, just south of Birmingham, lost their impetus after the openers had to retire.
The damage was done by canny bowling by Minesh Trivedi (1-13) with his deceptively tempting leg breaks and seamer Rahul Narang (1-13) plus a spectacular sprawling long-off boundary catch by David Simpson, running flat out to reach the ball.
It was left to all-rounder John Jeffery (19 not out in just seven balls) to get tournament newcomers Phoenix beyond the 150 mark by ending his side’s innings with a four and six.
The KPMG run chase started comfortably with Greg Easter scoring an assured unbeaten 35. With just two wickets down, Ben Tarry (23*) and Surinder Matharu (25*) appeared to be cruising to victory with the normally accurate opposition bowling giving away far too many runs in wides.
But with pace bowler Akbar conceding just nine runs in an impressively hostile two-over spell, the run rate dropped.
And the panic button was pressed with six needed in the final accurate over of slow seamers bowled by Acaster, who earlier ended the tournament with a remarkable 175 batting average, having lost his wicket just once.
Tarry had won the semi-final with a superb extra cover six with just two balls to spare. But against Phoenix, after getting a four through a dropped deep square leg catch, he faced the final four balls with only two needed and failed to score from three balls.
Then he scrambled a dramatic single just wide of cover off the game’s final delivery to tie the scores. And KPMG won the trophy by virtue of only losing two wickets compared to Phoenix’s five.
“Being an accountant, he left it to the last decimal point” was the verdict on Tarry’s batting from England & Wales Cricket Board deputy chairman Dennis Amiss, one of Warwickshire’s greatest cricketers, when when he presented the trophy.
Puzzle of the evening was provided by Phoenix actuary and photographic enthusiast Martin Kulhavy.
He had spectators baffled wondering whether a marquee was going up beyond the boundary edge when he erected a 12.5-metre high mast for his panoramic camera to get a shot of the picturesque tree-lined final venue.
Lord’s Taverners John Bright Trophy Final:
Wednesday September 1. Phoenix Group 155/5 in 16 overs (Q Akbar 36 rtd, C Acaster 35 rtd, J Jeffery 19*, S Eastham 2-23, M Trivedi 1-13, R Narang 1-13) KMPG 155/2 in 16 overs (G Easter 36 rtd, S Matharu 25*, B Tarry 23*, N Watkins, 1-19) KPMG won tied match by losing fewer wickets.