A SPARKLING century from Bruce Cruse spearheaded Delph & Dobcross to a 36-run win over Honley and the Examiner Twenty/20 Trophy (along with a cheque for £250) on their own sun-kissed ground yesterday.
And the Tasmanian-born batsman’s brilliant knock came using Freddie Flintoff’s actual bat, with an innings of which the great man himself would have been justifiably proud.
Opening the batting with Kyle Hogg after winning the toss, Cruse and the Lancashire all-rounder were quickly into their stride, Hogg hitting a couple of sixes, while Cruse cut and drove some superb boundaries, putting on 42 before Richie Howarth struck Honley’s first blow bowling Hogg for 27 in the fifth over.
Later in the over, he came close to a caught and bowled off a fierce Cruse drive (the only half chance he gave) but couldn’t hold on.
The visitors next success didn’t arrive until Cruse and Khiljee had taken the score to 95 when the latter holed out to Jimmy Green but Cruse moved smoothly to his 50 in the 10th over and at the halfway point Delph literally were Crusing at 114-2.
Simon Kelly, whose first three deliveries were all ‘four-balls’ brilliantly took a high return to run out Kamran Mirza after a couple of wickets for Enamul Haq, but there was no stopping the Tasmanian ‘Devil’ who reached his century off the final delivery of the innings, striking Harlon Haye through extra cover to finish unbeaten on 101, which included 20 fours and came from just 60 balls as Delph closed on 215-5.
Honley started slowly until Kelly clattered two consecutive sixes, but after hitting a third in the fourth over he perished to Khiljee, who pushed Cruse hard for man-of-the-match with a tremendous four-over haul of four for 13, which included the dangerous Matt Cox and the big-hitting duo of Martin Green and Haye.
And at 49-4 in eight overs, it was a long way back for Honley.
Opener Danny Howard made 29 and he and Richard Jakeman inspired a comeback, the latter hoisting four sixes in a battling 45, but once they had gone in the 14th and 15th overs respectively after a 70-run stand, the game was up and Honley were finally restricted to 179-7.
Examiner cricket writer David Lockwood presented the trophy to winning skipper Grant Jones and the man-of-the-match award to Cruse, in what Delph will be hoping is the first of a double Cup-winnng season (they are through to the Sykes Cup final in a fortnight) and possibly a third, as they are still not quite out of the title hunt either.
Honley picked up £100 as runners up for the second successive year, while beaten semi-finalists Broad Oak and Kirkheaton each receive £50.