CRICKET: Alford Irving breaks Louth’s dreams of T20 final

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Louth took on Alford on Sunday on Twenty20 finals day at Skegness in the semi finals of the competition.

After Skegness were beaten earlier in the day, both teams knew that they would be competing for a place in the final alongside a talented Frieston team.

After winning the toss, Louth captain Zubair Ahmed had no hesitation in deciding to bat first on what appeared to be a relatively flat pitch. However, after just 3.5 overs, Louth had lost both openers and were 22-2 as ex-Louth player Joe Irving (3-0-11-1) and young Bradley McGilloway (2-0-13-1) collected a wicket apiece.

Louth’s senior pairing of Henry Tye and Zeeshan Ahmed rebuilt the innings thereafter and began to push the scoring along. At 7 overs Louth had reached 37-2 when Tye began to open up. He took 18 off one over and began to score rapidly. Tye began to annihilate the bowling from one end as his left handed setup allowed him to easily hit the leg stump lines the Alford bowlers were bowling away to the short leg side boundary; particularly against the spinners.

However, Ahmed and Tye were both soon dismissed and Louth quickly capitulated as they lost 27-8 and were bowled out for 116: a target which was suspected to be well below par.

However, Louth knew that if they took early wickets then they could and put Alford under pressure anything could happen.

Louth got their wish. Reggie Koen (4-1-15-1) and Zubair Ahmed (4-0-28-2) both took a wicket each as Alford began to look nervous at 12-2. Joe Irving came to the crease and immediately began to play a host of unorthodox shots as he built his innings. He and Jack Wrightwick moved the score onto 54 in the 9th over before Imran Cheema had Wrightwick caught on the boundary by Koen for 26.

The new batsman Andrew White supported Irving for a period before he was on his way back to the pavilion after being bowled by Zubair Ahmed with the score on 85-4.

Louth needed everything to go their way from this point if they were to win the game. It was therefore a key moment that could have changed the match in the next over when off the bowling of Cheema, the key batsman Irving blazed the ball just over the top of William Allis at cover, he just failed to get a hand on it despite his dive as the ball ran away for runs.

Though he rode his luck heavily, Irving advanced to 50 via a flat 6 over fine leg and he wrapped up the victory soon after, finishing 56 not out and earned their place in the final against eventual champions Frieston.