By Paul Toplis
While the current pandemic crisis prevented test cricket this weekend, not even that combined with the regular Sunday rail travel disasters could put off the BCEW Johnners Trust development festival at Leicester University. It was a more limited affair than in many recent years with just five teams, but these were from all parts of the country: north, south and west. The format was adjusted so that each team played against all the others in five rounds of T12 matches; with three rounds on Saturday and two on Sunday; league placings were final with no play off games or a final as has often been the case.
The weather was kind with no rain, but it seemed that the aircraft taking off from the nearby airport were more frequent and louder than in previous years – slowing the progress of games especially on Sunday afternoon as the competition reached its climax. The league leaders Bradford and District were playing second placed Surrey with Surrey poised to overtake by virtue of having taken more bowling wickets if they could get a third win. Meanwhile Berkshire Stags were playing Somerset and could also make it three wins if they could defeat the west country team that included three regular Worcestershire players.
Those two final games were close but neither chasing team could win, as Berkshire fell eight runs short with 89 for 4 against 97 for 2 while on the other pitch Surrey were chasing an impressive 107 for 4. Despite the Surrey captain anchoring the innings by batting from the start into the eleventh over before having to retire, all players had to do this at 20, Surrey in the end fell 16 runs short. Bradford & District, who hope to play BCEW regional league cricket next season thus became clear winners, followed by Surrey, Somerset, Berkshire and Yorkshire.
Individual awards for the weekend went to:
Dominic Slade-joseph of Surrey for best new player on his 17th birthday.
Helen Lawson of Yorkshire for best female player.
Fahd Butt of Bradford & District for best partially sighted player
Alan Turnbull of Yorkshire for best low partial player
Adrian Snellgrove of Somerset / Worcestershire for best totally blind player.
BCEW hope the event will be back to full strength along with all other BCEW competitions in 2022.