GREAT Ayton became the T20 champions of the north when they defeated Sheffield side Hallam in the quarterfinals of the Nat West National T20 Club Cup last Sunday.
The cameras and national exposure now await them on September 9 when they go to the county ground at Northampton to compete in the four team finals day, the whole event televised live on Sky Sports.
The host club were well contained for the most part, with excellent spells from Joe Marsay (2-16 from 4 overs) and David Grainge, who conceded only 11 runs from his three overs before injury forced him from the field. And with Michael Croft bagging three late wickets Hallam were held to a 20-over score of 122-8.
Chris Batchelor, a centurion in an earlier round against Burnley side Read, gave Ayton a solid start to the run chase with an opening 22, but when he fell skipper Jon Grainge took over the primary role of steering his side towards success, hitting four fours and one six in a top scoring 38.
Andy Liddle (15 not out) then provided the perfect finish as he cracked a boundary off the first ball of the final over to secure a five wicket win for the North Yorkshire side.
With the top T20 teams from Lancashire, Yorkshire, Durham and Northumberland all falling under the Ayton spell, it’s now on to the finals when the last four clash in the semifinals, with a floodlit final to follow.
Ayton will meet Cheshire side Chester Boughton Hall in their semi, whilst the other sides are Ashtead (Surrey) and Peterborough Town (Northamptonshire).
Great Ayton’s players and officials will travel down to Northampton on September 8, for an eve of finals day gala dinner hosted by the ECB which all four teams will attend, while several coaches full of supporters are expected to set off early the following morning to attend the big day itself.
Sky TV are also visiting the village to learn a little bit more about the short format cup kings, who qualified for the national rounds as the NYSD Premier Cricket League representative after winning the Macmillan Cup back in June.
A delighted club chairman Keith Wilcox said: “It’s a fantastic achievement for a village club to reach this stage of the competition, we have had great success in the shorter format of the game over recent years, and to play in the finals day is the greatest moment in the club’s history.”
NYSD president Chris West said: “We couldn’t be more delighted that Great Ayton have reached this stage.
Their record is quiteremarkable.”