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Cricket: Caldy put Shipton to the sword

Caldy 166-9 Shipton-under-Wychwood 110 Caldy win by 56 runs
Caldy Cricket Club, from Merseyside, made light work of Oxfordshire's Shipton-under-Wychwood yesterday in the National Village final here.

Shipton-under-Wychwood, from the heart of the Cotswolds, won hands down in the cute village-name contest but were second best where it really mattered - on the pitch.

Caldy, the reigning champions, were put into bat by the Oxfordshire side's captain, Paul Humphreys. After a partnership of 124 in last year's final, much was expected of the openers, Bret Saunders and Phil Eymond, but they were given little chance to parade their skills this time, both falling to Shipton-under-Wychwood's pacy opening bowler, Paul Snell.

The Merseysiders did not flinch, though, and a resourceful middle-order performance carried them to a respectable looking 166 off their 40 overs. Craig Findlay was the pick of Caldy's batsmen, chipping in with a polished 43. The score would have been even better but for some eccentric running between the wickets, which led to three successive run-outs.

Shipton-under-Wychwood made a disastrous start to their pursuit of Caldy's total. The Merseysiders' fielding was first-rate, and their bowling attack well balanced. Jason Cooper, who missed last year's final after breaking his collarbone celebrating his team's semi-final win, took the first three wickets and Bret Saunders weighed in with four more.

Felix MacDonald was the Oxfordshire men's best performer with the bat, and was voted his side's Man of the Match for his tenacious 38. Their star turn, theatre director and middle order batsman Sam Mendes, who played a match-winning innings in the semi-final, managed only eight this time. Mendes, whose latest production Othello is set for an ambitious world tour, fell not to excessive pride and jealousy, but Peter Urwin, a senior software engineer.

Prospective Caldy man of the match candidates were many, but Byron Cooper just shaded it with three superb catches and an entertaining 28. It was in his hands that the game ended, when he caught Paul Humphreys to dismiss Shipton-under-Wychwood for 110. Caldy's captain, Mark Rowan, confidently predicted that he would be leading his side in an evening of liquid celebrations.