NETHERFIELD’s dreams of winning this year’s Readers Cup have been dashed after an away day semi-final defeat at St Annes.
Lukman Vahaluwala did the damage with the bat with seven fours and one six before opener Ben Phillips proved to be the only real resistance hitting 89 in reply as Netherfield lost by 40 runs.
The home side opened the batting at Vernon Road but their innings got off to the worst possible start as skipper Andy Kellett was caught in the slips by Phillips off the bowling of Brad Airey for a duck.
That wicket brought sub-pro Liam Livingstone to the crease who formed a sizeable partnership of 32 with Adam Holt before Phillips took his second catch off the bowling of Mark Clarkson.
Holt was then joined by Vahaluwala who set about bumping St Annes batting total up.
Their partnership of 65 was finally broken in the 24th over when Tom Williamson, who impressed with figures of 3-41, took his first wicket bowling Holt.
By the time Nathan Bolus was run out for the fifth wicket St Annes had reached 150 off 32 overs.
Vahaluwala (66) continued his fine form at the crease before he was caught by Clarkson on the boundary off the bowling of Williamson.
Netherfield’s bowlers took the final five wickets quickly for 36 runs as St Annes finished on 186 all out after 38.3 overs.
With 40 overs to chase down the target, Netherfield’s reply got off to a disastrous start as captain Marc Brown (0), Sri Lankan professional Saliya Saman (5) and John Huck (0) all found themselves back in the pavilion.
After the first five overs the away side were struggling on 14-3.
Williamson joined Phillips at the crease and provided a hint of consistency as he hit 16 off 41 overs until, trying to get Phillips on strike, he was run out in the 20th over.
Phillips, now running out of partners, hit 12 fours and two sixes as he edged Netherfield closer to the 187 target.
Bradley Earl and Liam Dugdale were dismissed without troubling the bowling attack before Phillips was finally dismissed after being run out as he tried to rack up more runs.
St Annes progressed to the final of the Readers Cup as their bowlers rattled through the remaining batsmen with ease as Netherfield finished on 146 all out.