Bury miss out on showpiece after last ball heartache

MAN OF THE MATCH: Sean Park's impressive effort was ultimately in vain as Bury slipped to a final ball defeat to Ealing
MAN OF THE MATCH: Sean Park's impressive effort was ultimately in vain as Bury slipped to a final ball defeat to Ealing
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ECB NATIONAL T20

SEMI-FINAL

Bury St Edmunds 141-5

lost to Ealing 144-5

by three runs

Sean Park was left to bemoan pivotal mistakes at crucial times as Bury St Edmunds agonisingly missed out on the ECB T20 National finals.

Park gave a man-of-the-match display on Sunday, scoring an impressive 51, but it proved in vain in front of a large crowd at the Victory Ground as Bury missed out on a spot at Glamorgan’s SWALEC Stadium in Cardiff for the televised National Finals in September, following a thrilling final-ball defeat.

And although Park could not hide his disappointment following the match, he has backed Bury to bounce back and secure their East Anglian Premier League survival despite sitting bottom of the league, 11 points adrift of safety with just four matches remaining, starting with a visit from table-topping Swardeston tomorrow (11am).

“To get so close and fall at the final hurdle is the worst part about it,” he said. “It was a good game but we made mistakes at crucial times and it cost us at the end which is frustrating.

“I think most cricketers would rather get hammered than take it so close; everyone loves winning with the last ball but nobody likes losing in that way.

“We fought back really well after being under the cosh but unfortunately it slipped away right at the end.

“The club doesn’t deserve to go down, so fingers crossed we can get out of trouble.

“A betting man would probably bet against us but cricket can be a strange game and it is not over yet.”

After winning the toss and deciding to bat, Mike Comber (16) and Justin Bishop (11) made a promising start before the former was clean bowled in the fourth over.

Ben Curran (11) replaced his captain and looked comfortable until he was caught on the boundary, as was Bishop.

However, Park and James Sturgeon came together and played with great understanding, stealing singles where other batsmen might not have seen opportunities to help stabilise the innings.

Park (51) employed the reverse sweep to good effect and hit the first six of the game, a full toss from Derek Lane landing in the crowd in front of the scoreboard, but he was out a few balls after reaching his half-century.

And after Mark Nunn came and went for zero, Phil Godden and Sturgeon scored quickly in the last overs to help the hosts reach a competitive 141-5.

Comber opened the bowling and conceded two boundaries in his first over but Nunn bowled with control, getting the batsmen to play and miss.

The Ealing openers, Oliver Wilkin (16) and Luke Stoughton, looked comfortable and were scoring freely until Nunn induced Wilkin to loft one off a top edge to the third man boundary where Adam Kizis held onto a difficult catch. Nunn also trapped Chris Wakefield (5) lbw in the next over to get Bury back in the game that had been getting away from them.

Ben Curran then took a good catch, low as the ball was dying on him, to dismiss Stoughton for 22 but the momentum was still with Ealing.

James McKinney bowled his dependable slow right arm, frustrated the batsmen and took a wicket, before Comber brought himself back on and produced a delivery which got big on David Holt (7) giving a catch to Sturgeon behind the stumps.

There was frenetic activity in the last overs as Tom Robotham took a difficult boundary catch to dismiss Parry (25) and Ealing needing just five to win, Bishop came on to bowl the final over.

A dot ball, and then another, and a third gave Bury a glimmer of hope but Ealing held their nerve to win with just one ball to spare.