Josephine Butler A secure unusual BUCS success

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Last weekend, there was a major shock in the first set of fixtures of the Northern Indoor Cricket league. With the MCCU side unavailable for the weekend of the meeting, Josephine Butler A – the top side in the College Indoor Premiership – were called up to represent the university in an unusual move, brought about by the fact that failure to fulfil the series of matches would have resulted in a greater loss of points than a last placed finish.

The team, made up of wicketkeeper and captain James West, Rob George, Michael Roy, Rowan Bird, James Priest, Joe Colebrook and Hild Bede’s Matt Withers, enjoyed a fantastic Team Durham debut. Having struggled against Newcastle – being dismissed for 87 before watching their opponents easily reach their target, the college side went on to win their next four games, leaving Butler just a victory against University of Northumbria away from a spot in the knockout stages of the tournament.

A key aspect of the side’s run was the parsimonious bowling attack who only conceded a three-figure total on one occasion – in the three-wicket victory over Edinburgh.

Colebrook starred against York St John, taking three cheap wickets to restrict Durham’s opponents to 70 – a score that never looked like sufficing. An equally resounding victory followed, with player of the tournament Rob George’s 32* leading Butler to a competitive total of 96. Thanks to some superb bowling, Sunderland could only crawl to 43, giving Durham victory by 53 runs.

Then, in back-to-back matches against Edinburgh’s two sides, Butler faced their only real test. Facing the Scottish university’s first team, the college side chased down Edinburgh’s 133 with ease, George’s 29* guiding Durham to a three-wicket success. Rob George then continued his terrific form on the day with a virtuoso all-round display in making 41*, before recording figures of 4-26 in a 51-run demolition of Edinburgh’s second team.

Captain James West was understandably delighted with the opportunity to represent the University.

“We’ve all really enjoyed the chance to step up and test our skills whilst representing the university. I’ve also been pleased with how we’ve reacted to losing our first game – we weren’t good enough in that first fixture but we learnt quickly and followed it up with four resounding victories.”

West also reserved special praise for all-rounder Rob George, whose match-winning performances against Edinburgh led the way in an outstanding team effort.

“It really was the Rob George show against Edinburgh. He scored 70 runs without getting out and took five wickets, which in indoor cricket is quite spectacular. I don’t think saying that is taking anything away from the rest of the team, who all played well, but Rob was standout amongst us.”

Victory against Northumbria will see Josephine Butler qualify from the North and Scotland Division.

Photograph: Team Durham

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