Cricket

Army Win Inter Services 50-Over Cricket Festival In Thrilling Finale

A win over the RAF at Vine Lane sealed the 50-over title for the Army in the three-day festival.

The Army have won the 2021 Inter Services 50-over title on run rate, after beating the RAF in the final match of a three-day festival.

In match one, the RAF defeated the Navy but the Senior Service shocked the Army on day two by beating them for the first time in 19 years.

That meant either the RAF would win the title against the Army or it would be decided on run rate.

The festival was the first men's Inter Services cricket played in two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the Army won the toss against the RAF choosing to bowl first.

It was a good call from Army captain Jonathan Boynton as the RAF lost four wickets for just eight runs.

Ross Diver, Adam Sutcliffe, Tom Berzins and team captain Tom Shorthouse were all sent back to the paddock early with Army pace bowler Connor Hudson picking up a hat-trick.

Uri Hills trapped Sam Beales soon after and the RAF were spiralling at 23-5.

But Adam Fisher and Ash Watson came to the rescue for the Air Force and built up a partnership of 121 runs.

That was before Fisher was dismissed for 58 but Watson continued to impress alongside new partner Sam Bloor.

They delivered an RAF record eighth wicket partnership of 84 runs before Bloor was out for 29.

Watson was the last man standing for the Air Force but was dismissed LBW on the final ball for an incredible tally of 86 runs.

After a bad start, a final score of 201/9 was respectable and gave the Army a tough task to hunt it down.

The Army knew they could win the tournament on run rate by reaching 202 runs in 35.5 overs so the big hitters were out from the start.

Varun Bali hammered 15 runs from Sam Bloor in just one over before Liam Fletcher was dismissed for nine runs.

That meant Bali and Tade Carmichael could strike up a partnership and when Carmichael was finally removed by Ash Watson, the Army were at 108-2 from just 15 overs.

Bali reached his half-century in that partnership and carried on working towards the RAF's target alongside Graham Wiseman.

Wiseman, for 15, was bowled out at 146-3 while Bali was approaching a century.

However, with 97 runs on his tally, Bali was cruelly dismissed by Watson who ended his innings with three wickets.

A few quick wickets meant the Army were slowed down in their chase, but it was captain Boynton who saw them home.

He did so with just four balls to spare and lifted the trophy after the match.