Sarisbury Athletic picked up where they left off last season after claiming the ECB National Indoor Championships at Lord’s in style.
Athletic, who gained promotion to the Southern League premier division last summer, warmed up for their new top-flight campaign as they continued their success in the indoor version of the game.
We just performed exceptionally well on the dayDavid Banks
David Banks, who skippered his team to promotion last team, handed over his regular captaincy duties to Matt Journeaux for the six-a-side format.
But Banks admitted it is another major cricketing achievement for the club.
He said: ‘Getting to the finals at Lord’s is such a massive achievement in itself.
‘So it’s just incredible really. It’s such a huge success as there were four very good sides at the finals.
‘We just performed exceptionally well on the day – we all turned up and performed to the best of our ability.
‘We knew if we did we’d have a good shot at winning and we’re national champions.’
Ricky Rawlins, Joe Lovett, Archie Norris, Jimmy Ingram and Mark Miller made up the rest of the squad and Sarisbury came through easy wins at the south & west regional final stage, beating Stalbridge from Dorset and Cornwall champions St Austell at Taunton.
Welsh side Neyland stood in the way at the national semi-final stage but Banks’ 44 saw Sarisbury post 137 for five from their 12 overs, with Journeaux (28) and Rawlins (27) setting a healthy platform at the top of the order.
Ingram then picked up two wickets as Neyland were restricted to 109 for five in reply to seal Sarisbury’s 28-run victory.
‘We didn’t field very well compared to our normal standards – especially for a semi-final,’ admitted Banks.
‘But we managed to bowl well.
‘After the first five overs we had them in trouble and we kept the pressure on them.’
Athletic then cruised past Bedfordshire-based Flitwick in the final with another impressive batting display to get their hands on the silverware.
Norris (40 not out) was the mainstay, while Banks (27) and Rawlins (25) added useful contributions.
The wickets were then shared around the bowlers as Flitwick closed on 110 for five – 36 runs adrift.
And it has given Banks’ side an extra shot of confidence ahead of the new outdoor season.
Banks said: ‘A 36-run win in indoor cricket is pretty comfortable, to be honest.
‘Our bowling and fielding is such a strong point of our game that once we posted 146 for three we were pretty confident in defending it.
‘Now we’re going into the new season feeling confident.
‘We’re not expecting to go into the new season and win leagues, but to go in there to be competitive and enjoy the cricket.
‘A lot of our players in the side have played Premier League cricket before for other clubs.
‘It’s going to be a good challenge and it will be nice going into the season with no real pressure on us to win.
‘The last few years we’ve had a lot of pressure as we’ve been up there competing for the promotion.’