It's a knockout!
The Kingfisher Cup final at Derby allowed some of the country's most talented club cricketers to take centre stage. Sky Sports went along to watch York CC take on Wanstead & Snaresbrook CC...
By Rob Lancaster - Tweet me: @SkySportsLanny
Last Updated: 17/09/12 6:33pm
While Hampshire and Warwickshire concluded the first-class campaign with the Clydesdale Bank 40 final on Saturday, it wasn't quite the end of the cricketing summer (if you can actually call it that) just yet.
Less than 24 hours after the last-over thriller at Lord's, the County Ground in Derby was the scene for another final as York and Wanstead & Snaresbrook battled for the Kingfisher Beer Cup, the current name for the England and Wales Cricket Board's National Club Championship.
For the players it was their big day out at the end of a long and, as it has been for everyone in local leagues up and down the country, damp campaign.
Both clubs boasted an impressive pedigree, too - York arrived fresh off the back of securing a sixth straight Yorkshire League title, while Wanstead & Snaresbrook had been crowned national champions at Under-15 level three times in the past 12 years.
Current county players Tony Palladino and Maurice Chambers had previously been in their ranks, and the next name that seems certain to follow suit is Kishen Velani, an 18-year-old batsman of serious potential.
Already capped by England at Under-19 level, a feat he achieved the previous year when 16, the right-hander seemed to be steering his side towards a competitive total with a well-made half-century after they had won the toss and opted to bat first on a greenish pitch.
However, leg-spinner Tom Pringle shifted the momentum firmly in York's favour with an inspired spell that not only saw him claim the key scalp of Velani, caught trying to hit over the infield, but also go on to pick up two wickets in as many balls. Not content with taking 4-22, Pringle also produced a moment of magic in the field, a diving catch leaving the score at 140-9.
His efforts were made even more impressive considering he had not bowled for several weeks previously due to a shoulder injury that had required a cortisone injection on the Friday night.
"It's handy having a chairman (Nigel Durham) who is a doctor," he told Sky Sports. "He gave me painkillers and helped strap me up to get me out on the field to bowl nine overs.
"I had a cortisone injection on Friday - it was a very big needle - but it's worked to get me through.
"I was always playing, I might not have bowled very well but no one was coming in for me. I knew my role was to try and bowl nine overs for about 35, so it was a nice little bonus to get four wickets.
"It (the shoulder) hurt for the first two overs, then I took a wicket and it suddenly felt a lot better. The best painkiller in the world is adrenaline."
His spin twin, and skipper, Dan Woods finished with 2-26, though a useful unbroken last-wicket stand of 22, along with 25 extras, boosted Wanstead & Snaresbrook's final total up to 162-9.
In truth it never looked to be enough, particularly once York's chase was given an excellent start by an opening stand of 62 between Liam McKendry and Duncan Snell, the former going on to make 47 from 80 balls with five boundaries before being bowled attempting to sweep Joe Ellis-Grewal.
His departure with the score at 118-2 could have caused a few nerves to jangle in the dressing room, but Oliver Hairs quickly put to bed any notion of a dramatic batting collapse with a plethora of powerfully-struck boundaries.
The left-hander hit four in a row during one over from Wanstead skipper Arfan Akram that hurried the game to a finish with 91 deliveries to spare, Hairs finishing up on 68 not out from a mere 45 balls as York clinched an eight-wicket win.
"Oliver is such a destructive player," said York captain Woods, who collected the trophy - as well as a ridiculously large cheque for £5,000 - from former England international Dominic Cork at the presentation ceremony.
"He can take games away from sides and he did that today in the biggest game of the season. Sometimes he hits the ball in funny areas, but he's such a talented player with wonderful ability. He always scores at over a run-a-ball."
On York being crowned champions for the first time since 1975, he added: "I'm incredibly proud of the team and feel privileged to be playing in a team that has done so well and takes much enjoyment in other peoples' success as they do their own. The team unity has really carried us through."
His opposite number Arfan Akram also spoke eloquently in the aftermath, instead focusing on a "fantastic" year for his squad rather than reflect on the disappointment of defeat.
"I'm proud of my players. We have played 41 games of cricket in a wet summer and the effort that they've put in, considering we are a youngish squad, has been phenomenal," he said.
"2012 has been a fantastic year for Wanstead & Snaresbrook Cricket Club. We keep on producing through our juniors - 10 out of the 12 involved have come through our set-up - and long may that continue.
"Today is a day of reflection, and there's disappointment amongst the players. Not many sides would have predicted we'd get this far but it's just a shame we didn't perform on the day."
At least in teenager Velani they seem to have discovered a real gem who looks destined to play in many, many more big games in his career, and not just for his club side either.
"He's 18 years of age and the way he's developed in the last 12 months has been unbelievable," Akram said of the talented teenager. "During the first half of last summer he was playing in our second XI, then by the end he's playing for England Under-19s against South Africa and scoring 50s from No.7."
While both Velani and Hairs played superbly with the bat, it seemed only right that Pringle was named man of the match. Bad shoulder or not, his four-wicket haul had been the key in deciding the outcome.
"To win the National Knockout is the best feeling in the world," Pringle, who celebrated his sublime catch as if his beloved Everton had just clinched the Merseyside derby with a last-minute winner at Anfield, admitted. "But to do it with all your mates is even more special."
And, almost just at the moment he finished speaking, it started to spit with rain. York, though, were happy to be singing in it as they celebrated a tremendous double.