England National Champs 2012 - Round up!

Abby's Diner - England National Champions 2012

Well done to The Abby's Diner (featured above) - England National Champions of 2012. They go on to play the Australian National Champions at Lord's in the 2013 LMS World Champs opening match!

Abby's Diners - The Road to Lord's 

Abby's Diner started their LMS journey by entering the local Rotherham league. They qualified for Rotherham finals day and defeated Global XI in the final to secure a spot in the regional finals. They made it through to the West & South Yorkshire regional final where they oversaw a young but talented Barnsley Griffins side. By winning their regional final they became one of 13 teams, from all over the country, who qualified for for national finals weekend at Neston CC! 
Abby's Diner arrived at the LMS national championship full of confidence but quickly realised the level of competition had gone up a few notches. Their opening match against AZ Sports was one of the outstanding games of the tournament! AZ Sports, from Guildford, batted first and posted a competitive first innings score of 140 on a wet wicket.
In reply Abby's Diner run chase never really got going and they lost wickets at regular intervals. AZ Sports dropped a few vital catches that could have closed out the game but good sides don't give up and Abby's Diner found a way back into the contest. A dramatic final over left Abby's Diner needing one run off the last ball to win the game. They scrambled through for extremely tight single. All 8 AZ players went up for the appeal. It was referred to the third umpire! The green light was shown and Abby's Diner had scraped through to the National 1/4 finals. 
In the 1/4 final they came up against the 2011 champions, Team Manchester and Mr Ghafar, won the toss again and elected wisely to bowl. Team Manchester Skipper, Mohammed Ali, was run out in the first over and Team Manchester were immediately on the back foot. The Abby's Diner opening bowlers consistently hit good areas and took 3 more early wickets.
Team Manchester were under pressure for the first time since the 2012 World Champs semi final in Cape Town.Team Manchester's were guilty of not adjusting to the conditions and it was only Imran Mirza who offered any resistance. Mirza showed his class playing a lone hand but when he was dismissed they were bowled out for under a 100.Yawar Saradar bowled a brilliant spell upfront and was quickly becoming one of the stars of the tournament.
In reply the Abby's Diner run chase was well thought out. They played risk free cricket and after 10 overs they were 50 for the loss of 1 wicket. They increased the tempo in the 11th over and won comfortably in the end, much to the delight of the Yorkshire supporters on the Neston CC balcony! Yorkshire had beaten Lancashire for the first time in LMS history. The favourites and defending champions had crashed out of the tournament to the better team on the day! 
In the semi final Abby's Diner came up against a very strong AON All Stars side from London. The AON All Stars were still buzzing from their 1/4 win over the Speedline Super Stars.
The 1/4 final between Aon All Stars (Black and white outfits) and Speedline Super Stars (Orange and Black) from Milton Keynes was a LMS Classic! Speedline Super Stars batted first and struggled to 99 all out. In reply AON were cruising but collapsed to 80 for 7. In any other format of the game Clemens Louw would have been left stranded and Speedline Super Stars would have been through to the semi finals. But the LAST MAN STANDS in LMS!
Clemens Louw (featured above) is an experienced LMS player and looked comfortable being all alone at the crease. He had 23 balls to score the 20 runs required to win the game. He held his nerve and saw AON through to the semi finals with a super pull shot through mid wicket!
The semi final between AON and Abby's Diner was another cracking game of cricket that could have gone either way. AON batted first and Khalique Ahmed came out firing, smashing 3 sixes in the first over. After 5 overs AON were cruising with 50 runs on the board and all 8 wickets in hand. At the 10 over stage they were on 85 for 2 and it looked as if they were heading for a score of around 160. Abby's Diner took the pace off the ball in the second 10 overs and AON only managed to get 137. This still looked to be a competitive score. In reply Abby's Diner were 14 for 2 and at this point it looked as if it could be an All London final between Old Seagullians and AON. With knowledge that both openers were back in the hut, AON, went for the kill and it almost paid off but Johny Younis and Taz Tahir were dropped before they reached double figures. Younis and Tahir took full advantage and both went on to retire, hitting 50 not out off 31 balls.The retirement of Younis and Tahir resulted in the run rate dropping and AON managed to take the game to the last over. Abby's Diner knocked off the winning runs with a few balls to spare and were through to the grand final against Old Seagullians. 
On the other side of the draw, Old Seagullians, had cruised through to the final with convincing wins over UBS in the 1/4 final and MK United in the semi final.
Old Seagullians play a smart brand of LMS cricket. They use the fielding power play well and they are a very good fielding unit. When batting they run well between the wickets and rotate the strike well. Their mascot is short of match fitness and he struggled in the macot race but other than that they are the complete package.
The Grand Final
Abby's Diner batted first. They got off to a slow but steady start and at 50 for 1 after 8 overs it seemed like they were on target for a score of around 130. But Zaheer Suliman in particular was in destructive form at the back end of the innings. He smashed it to all parts of the ground in the last 7 overs and Abby's Diner ended up setting a target of 156.
In reply the Old Seagullians skipper, Ali Baird (Below) was removed early doors by Yawar Saradar. Ali had played superbly in the semi final against MK united and this was a huge wicket for Abby's Diner.
This loss of Baird meant South African, Russel Collet, was required at the crease earlier than normal. Collet, who had smashed 52 runs off 10 balls in the 1/4 final, quickly took the game to Abby's Diner. He was particularly severe on anything short and hit four huge sixes in the first 5 overs. Sam Trail fed the strike to Collet and when Old Seagullians reached 60 in the 6th over Collet had scored 45 of the runs.
Old Seagullians looked to be cruising to victory but with the score on 65 in the 7th over Collet was caught on the long off boundary. It was a brilliant innings of 47 from 21 balls but in hindsight Collet will regret the shot he played to get out. Taking a few more balls to get to his 50 might have been the better option. Despite this Collet (pictured below) was the outstanding batsman of the tournament and deserved the LMS UK batting award for 2012. He had played his team into a winning position! Collet has moved up to number 6 in the World Batting Rankings. (Old Seagullians will miss him next year)!
But when Collet departed Old Seagullians seem to lose the confidence that had been with them all tournament. They were ahead of the rate required but but they lost wickets at regular intervals during the middle overs. Naveed Sajawal and Rhaman Attiq were outstanding with the ball for Abby's Diner. They created a lot of pressure and in the end Luke Codrington was left fighting the battle on his own. He showed some resistance and gave Old Seagullians some hope but this short clip shows how it all ended =>Abby's Diner celebrate the final wicket of LMS 2012!
It was a brilliant team effort from a team in their debut season of LMS. 
For Mr. Ghafar and his team it was a brilliant end to an incredible journey this summer. They now go on to play against the Australian champions at the opening match of the 2013 world champs at Lord's. Star bowler Yawar Saradar was interviewed after the game and said the team is looking forward to the 2013 season. He said they will be going all out to ensure the LMS World Championship trophy is won by a team from England for the first time ever!

Check out the clip below for the Highlights Package of the UK Grand Final


£500 England National Plate 2012


This was contested by 6 teams on the Sunday who were knocked out of the main competition on Saturday. The new format was success with teams starting an a 8 over game, after the 1st innings was complete the next games 2 teams would have there 1st innings of 8 overs and then after that the 1st games 2nd innings would be completed. This created a great atmosphere on the side of the pitch.

Taurus, UBS & Colins Hiron made up division 1. Bardsey, Bromborough Penguins & AZ Sports division 2. Taurus finished top of div 1 and Bardsey div 2 which set up the eagerly anticipated Plate Final with both Yorkshire teams keen to get there hands on the £500 winners cheque. The Taurus guys had already won the competition for the team who had the most beers on Saturday afternoon. They were in great spirit on the Saturday night and made the most noise from the balcony during the last couple of games, chanting the famous Yorkshire,Yorkshire,Yorkshire!!!!!!!!
The final got underway with the Taurus batting 1st and posting a very competitive 67 from there 8 overs. The Bardsey outfit were on track for most of the innings with top scorer Matt Wells steering the innings making 27 off 14 but a couple of dot balls saw them fall behind the rate and in the end they fell 2 runs short. The whole plate event was played in a brilliant spirit. Well done to all teams involved!


The Mascot Race

The first ever LMS Mascot race was a won by the Colin Hirons' Team mascot ‘Fenton’!  Fenton, who was worn by Justin Harris, was one of 9 runners in the starting line up. Other competitors included Iggle Piggle, a seagull and a matador.

Harris (squeeky) ran a superb race despite the costumes limited vision, and coming into the back straight he was neck and neck with a Kiwi man dressed as a sheep. Fortunately Fenton had the stamina and desire to sprint for the line which sparked jubilant scenes to take the trophy and cash prize. 

Check out the video clip below to watch the LMS Mascot race and the jubilant scenes at its culmination!

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