By Mel Booth
Clayton West were inspired to victory over Armitage Bridge in the Under 13 Examiner Salver Cup final at Thurstonland by a top batting performance from Oliver Briggs.
A showpiece of the Sellers Huddersfield Junior Cricket League season, the 20-overs-per-side clash was tightly poised after Armitage Bridge set a total of 97-1 after being sent in to bat.
Armitage Bridge were right in the hunt, however, after spinner Danyal Rehmen took two wickets in the sixth over to leave the West at 37-3 in reply.
But up stepped wicketkeeper-batsman Briggs to swing the final, surviving the hat-trick delivery and then putting his side in command with a well-compiled 26 off just 19 deliveries.
Briggs had hit five boundaries by the time he retired in the 10th over, propelling Clayton West to 69-3 and well ahead of the rate as Armitage Bridge had been 34-0 at the same stage.
Skipper and opener Zeb Bell retired on 25 off 30 deliveries just two overs later (two fours), leaving his side with just 19 needed from the final eight overs.
That proved no problem for Henry Pennie and Henry Brough, who finished eight not out and 10 not out respectively as Clayton West sealed the trophy for the second time in their history in the 16th over, with a total of 98-3.
Yusuf Ahmed, who bowled Hugo Bennett for five in the first over, finished with one for 15 off his three overs, while Rehmen had two for 16 off his three.
In the Armitage Bridge innings, tight bowling up front from Zeb Bell, Pennie, Callum Rudge and Bennett kept the rate at below four an over.
Captain Charlie Shaw hit two boundaries before retiring in the 11th over with 25 off 32 deliveries, while opening partner Ahmed retired two overs later with 26 off 39, having hit the only six of a final watched by around 100 spectators.
Keeper Alex Smith was the only wicket to fall, bowled by Rory Adamski after hitting 20 off 22 deliveries with three fours.
Dylan Baylis kept the Bridge scoreboard ticking with 17 off 22, but they knew they needed a solid bowling and fielding performance to protect that total of 97-1.
Briggs took that chance out of their hands and was selected as man-of-the-match by umpires Michael Onions and Rodney Mee, Under 13 organiser Geoff Barnard and retired sports editor Mel Booth, who presented the trophy to Clayton West captain Zeb Bell.
The victors defeated Thongsbridge, Broad Oak and Denby Dale to reach the final, while Armitage Bridge put out Upperthong, Scholes and Shepley.
Clayton West – Zeb Bell (captain), Hugo Bennett, Callum Rudge, Corey Barrett, Oliver Briggs (wkt), Henry Pennie, Henry Brough, Reuben Bell, Oliver Williams, Rory Adamski, Barney Adamski. Team manager: Ian Radley.
Armitage Bridge – Charlie Shaw (captain), Yusuf Ahmed, Alex Smith, Dylan Baylis, Harrison Smith, Sam Neaverson, Ayaan Mubarik, James Blake, Zavier David, Aarav Jalota, Danyal Rehmen. Team manager: Gareth Shaw. Umpires – Michael Onions and Rodney Mee.