Bedfordshire beat Herts to win promotion to NCCA Division One

The Bedfordshire CCC squad before the game vs Northumberland at Bedford School in July 2023
The Bedfordshire CCC squad Image: Roger Byrne

Bedfordshire County Cricket Club have enjoyed a successful couple of weeks across the age groups, with the 1st XI winning NCCA Eastern Division Two to win promotion to the top tier.

A comprehensive 411-run victory at Flitwick Cricket Club secured the Division Two title last week leaving Bedfordshire on 78 points thanks to three wins and a draw across the red ball campaign.

Sam Bates’ good form continued into the final fixture, with a first innings 50 off 56 balls backed up with a second innings century in a Bedfordshire total of 398, as the home side dominated their opponents with the bat.

Bedfordshire’s first innings of 297 also featured half centuries from Oli Soames and captain, George Thurstance and with Hertfordshire only compiling 153 and 131 in their two efforts, it was always an uphill struggle for the visitors.

Jack Fuller (left) presented with his Beds cap by captain, George Thurstance Image: Bedfordshire CCC

There was also a nod to the future, as former Bedford School student, Archie Houghton secured figures of 4-35 in Hertfordshire’s first innings in a probing display as Bedfordshire’s all round game looked in good nick as they took home the trophy.

Although a tough ask, Buckinghamshire have proved a promotion to Division One can be a springboard to bigger and better things, as they host the National Counties Championship Final this week against Devon.

It caps a solid season for Bedfordshire who were also competitive in the white ball arena, winning four and losing four in the group stage of the T20 cup although they could only win one game in their 50-over campaign, against Devon in June.

Over 50’s enjoy national success

The Bedfordshire Over 50’s side have also been in action recently and have reached the ECB National Over 50’s County Championship Final for the first time ever after victory against Wales.

Given that Wales have been recent victors over Australia in the Over 50’s – and were the number one seeds – it represented an excellent victory for Phil Gurney’s side who now progress to face Yorkshire in the final.

The Bedfordshire CCC Over 50’s squad, captained by Phil Gurney (front and centre) Image: Bedfordshire CCC

Whatever the result of the final on 10th September, it represents a record breaking season for the Over 50’s.

They won six of their seven group stage games, beating Cambridgeshire to the top of Group 2 going on to face Middlesex in the last-16 before squeezing past Cheshire in the quarter final at Sharnbrook Cricket Club.

That set up the semi-final at a wet Llanelli Cricket Club in Wales, where Bedfordshire bowled extremely well to dismiss the top seeds for just 73, winning by six wickets.

The final is taking place at Wormsley Cricket Ground, kicking off at 11am on 10th September, with free entry for all.

New CEO at Cricket East

With success in the minor counties game across the board, there is also all change at Cricket East, the overarching organisation responsible for cricket in the area.

Richard Darwin has been announced at the new Chief Executive Officer, charged with growing the game in the region and with a decade’s worth of experience on the ECB’s flagship ‘Chance to Shine’ programme, he will aim to bring his expertise to cricket in the East.

“I’m looking forward to working with the Board of Directors and the team at Cricket East to drive the organisation forward”, said Darwin.

“We have a great foundation on which to build, and I’m excited about what we can achieve together. Cricket has the power to change lives, unite communities and build a better society.

“Working with the cricketing community and our key partners across Bedfordshire and Huntingdonshire, we will look to harness this for the benefit of as many people as possible.”

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