The prestigious York Cricket Club won this years Kiss Mix Taverners Charity Tournament beating Nations CC of Norway in the final comfortably. Played over three days at La Manga this victory rounded off a fantastic season for the Yorkshire based club, having already won the ECB National Club Trophy at the County Ground in Derby earlier in the season.
Eight teams competed in this years event from various corners of Europe. York, Wimbledon and UK Asians were representatives from England, the Swiss National team also competed, as did three teams from Norway, Kolsas, Nations and Sentrum. Finally, the hosts La Manga made up the eight teams.
One group consisted of Kolsas, the Swiss National team, La Manga and York, whilst Wimbledon, Nations, Sentrum and UK Asians made up the second group. Due to time constraints, the format for the competition was fifteen eight ball overs, reverting to the standard twenty six ball overs for the final only.
First up on day one were Kolsas who entertained the Swiss National side, whilst York competed against La Manga on the top pitch. Kolsas batted first and made 137 for 8 with the Swiss opening bowler Stefan taking four for 27 from his three overs. The Swiss had little trouble in chasing down the total, losing only three wickets in the process.
York and La Manga was a mouthwatering prospect and both teams had their chance to win the match but it was the visitors who eventually won the match by 29 runs after a middle order collapse from La Manga from what looked like a winning position. York posted 146 for 4 with Ryan Mckendry scoring 55. La Manga in reply were all out for 117 despite a fine 41 from opener Sajid Ali.
Next up was La Manga versus the Swiss and Sentrum against La Manga regulars the UK Asians. The Swiss posted a challenging 154 for 2 but La Manga got their first points of the event by winning the game by six wickets. Sajid Ali again made a telling total, but it was his compatriat Farhat Mahmood who won the game for the hosts with a blinding 35 not out.
In the other game Sentrum won the closest of games by just three wons. Batting first the Norwegians posted a sub par 125 but it proved enough as the UK Asians only managed 122 for 8 from their full allocation of overs.
Wimbledon opened their campaign with a suprising loss to Nations. The English based club posted 179 for 8 but this was dramatically chased down by the Norwegians with 2 wickets in tact. Nations made it two from two with another nailbiting encounter, winning the match by 4 runs in a game against Norwegian neighbours Sentrum, when both teams surpassed 200 runs when batting.
Wimbledon´s first day went from bad to worse as they lost their second game to the UK Asians. Having posted 212 for 6, largely thanks to a classy 75 from Leith the team from the South of England must have thought job done. But the UK Asians and Tausef Khan had other ideas as they overtook the Wimbledon score for the loss of just 4 wickets, Tausef ending the game not out on 95.
York continued their impressive march, easily disposing of Kolsas. York, with coach Jim Love (the former Yorkshire batsman) calling the shots bowled the Norwegians all out for 86 after posting 164 for 6 themselves, to win by a comfortable 78 runs.
Next up was Kolsas and La Manga, the hosts made it two wins from three bowling the Norwegians out for 102 before knocking off the runs quickly for the loss of just 2 wickets. Sajid Ali again continued his rich vein of form, hitting 53 not out. However, it was York who finished top of Group A, finishing with and 100% record by winning their final group match against the Swiss Nationals by 90 runs. With group A settled it was York and La Manga who went through to the semi-finals.
Group B was much tighter.Wimbledon despite losing their first two games could still qualify for the semi finals with a comprehensive victory and other results going there way. Wimbledon did the first part by beating Sentrum and then Nations made it three wins from three by downing the UK Asians. That left Nations clear winners with an 100% record but Wimbledon, Sentrum and UK Asians tied with one win apiece.
Former test match official John Holder did the maths and it was Wimbledon with a superior NRR that would advance to the semi-finals. However, at the gala dinner on the Saturday night Wimbledon decided they prefered to spend the Sunday on the golf course or recovering from their "Kiss-Mix" hangovers and graciously allowed Sentrum (the team with the next best run rate) to take the other semi-final berth.
York v Sentrum ended in victory for York by 31 runs. York posted 180 for 4 with Ryan McKendry hitting 74 not out and Snell a quickfire 40. In reply Sentrum scored 149 for 8 with York bowler Lambert producing a fine bowling spell to finish with figures of 3-28 from his 3 over spell.
The other semi final went down to the wire with Nations just edging it in the last over. Batting first La Manga scored 154 for 7 with Sajid Ali again hitting a fine half century. By contrast, Nations started slow but gained momentum at the right time to win the game in the last over with five wickets in hand.
The final reverted to twenty overs a side, pitting the two unbeaten teams against each other and it was the Yorshiremen who took the spoils. York hit an impressive 198 for 6 with skipper Collins top scoring with 74. Nations just wilted under the intense pressure of a poor start and could only muster 45 for 9 from their twenty overs. York were pronounced winners and as a result got the opportunity to play in a fun match against a Legends XI. The Legends, with Mike Gatting as coach included the likes of Steve Kirby, Neil Radford and Gus Mackay.
The ten over bash was played in a fun way with the score being academic but for the record the Legends ran out winners by 5 wickets, by chasing down the York total of 87 for 6 with a couple of balls to spare.
The climax of another successful charity tournament culminated with the regulation speeches and York collecting the trophy to put the icing on the cake of a fantastic season for the Northerners. Next year plans are already in place to ensure this tournament takes place and hopefully it will be as just as enjoyable next year as it was this. Congratulations to everyone involved and the spectators at La Manga are already eagerly marking their diaries for next years event.