Sarisbury Athletic’s bid for a national indoor cricket title ended in defeat, although it was tinged with controversy.
The Southern Electric Premier League six-man outfit reached the final of the ECB Indoor National Club Championship after a fine run to the showpiece event which is staged at the indoor school at Lord’s.
But after seeing off Kent champions Betteshanger Colliery Welfare to win their semi-final by 18 runs, they then lost the final by two wickets to south Wales-based Margam.
While Margam reached their victory target with an over to spare, the Allotment Road boys felt they were hard-done by after being denied what they thought was a perfectly valid run-out.
Defending their total of 111 for five, Athletic appeared to have a vital wicket via a run-out, only for the umpire to reverse his decision having initially given the Welshman out.
Sarisbury felt wicketkeeper Simon Orr legally diverted a throw on to the stumps, with the batsman short of his ground.
But the opener then made it clear he believed the keeper’s gloves had dislodged the bails.
After consulting the second umpire, who confirmed he was unsighted, the original decision was then reversed by the man at square leg, and the batsman was allowed to continue his innings.
Although Sarisbury could feel aggrieved, their own wayward bowling at the start of the Margam innings did them no favours as they allowed their opponents to race away to 31 off the first two overs.
But an early wicket in the third over and the pivotal incident a few balls later could easily have swung the game back in Sarisbury’s favour once again.
Indoor skipper Matt Journeaux said: ‘It left a bit of a sour taste at the end of the game and it got a bit heated.
‘But hopefully we’ll use it as motivation to get back there again in the future.
‘The run-out decision was key as it would have put their other batsmen under huge pressure.
‘And it wouldn’t have been an issue if the umpire had said he wasn’t sure to begin with. He only changed his mind when the batsman hung around, which he shouldn’t have done, anyway.
‘It was a good team effort to get there and it was just a shame we couldn’t quite finish it off.’