KENDAL have been crowned Readers’ Cup champions after defeating Fleetwood in the final at Shap Road on Sunday.
With New Zealand Test legend Lou Vincent, who has been touring the country for a travelling diary with Sky Sports programme Cricket AM, in action for Kendal, it was the Cumbrians’ regulars who provided the main thrust for victory - with captain Chris Miller in inspiring form with ball in hand and Nick Lewthwaite superb with the bat.
But Fleetwood started the better of the two sides after Kendal won the toss and put them into bat, with Mike Clinning and Adam Parker putting on a partnership of 41, the latter scoring two sixes, before the breakthrough was made in the 11th over.
Miller got the first of his five wickets when he bowled Parker for 25, and he repeated the trick two overs later to dismiss Dean Bell for a duck on his way to 5-43.
It precipitated the fall of regular wickets for Fleetwood as Clinning (21) was bowled by Nick Lewthwaite, who went onto claim an impressive 3-10 off eight overs.
A spate of three wickets in three overs put Fleetwood from 63-3 to 67-6, with Adam Sharrocks and Mark Wilkinson both out for ducks.
Chris Stanhope (18) and Mat Clark (19) tried to rally for the Lancastrians until Vincent caught Stanhope off Miller in the 25th over to leave Fleetwood 91-7.
Vincent got in on the act for the crucial wicket of Fleetwood pro Shaun Liebisch for 11 when Shane Hyland caught him, and the New Zealand man cleared up the innings to get Sam Bell out for one with Miller catching to leave Fleetwood all out for 123 in over 34.
In reply Kendal got off to the worst possible start when Liebisch bowled Nick Phillips in the first ball of the innings.
Jack White was run out for five and Vincent could only manage 11 before he was bowled by Bell to leave Kendal 31-3 in the 10th over.
But the introduction of Nick Lewthwaite got Kendal onto a more steady platform, and his partnership of 32 with Terry Hunte boosted the home side’s score to 63 before Hunte was bowled by Stanhope.
Lewthwaite, who scored a four and three sixes in his innings, was not given the best of support by his fellow batsmen as Darren Braithwaite, Gary Baker and Paul Dodds were dismissed for three, five and five respectively, to leave Kendal wobbling on 88-7, needing another 36 runs against a tough bowling attack.
But Hyland’s unbeaten 10 supplied the perfect back-up to get Lewthwaite firing as the latter scored an impressive 46 not out, finishing Kendal’s inning with style to smash a maximum over the boundary and allow the Shap Road side to win the trophy for the first time since 1998 with a three-wicket victory.