Torquay slip out of ECB NatWest T20 to St Just

TORQUAY’S hopes of reaching the last eight of the NatWest Clubs’ T20 tournament ended in a 22-run defeat by St Just in the regional final.

Torquay, who defeated Bradninch two weeks earlier in the Devon final at Sidmouth, qualified for the West and Wales final at Newport.

St Just cracked along to 182 for five before the overs ran out – opener and captain Gareth May scoring 42 in a first wicket stand of 74 with Mark George.

Kazi Szymanksi and Ben Williams were whacked around at first, but Mitch Pugh (1-28), Matt Petherbridge (2-26) and Matt Beasant (1-25) reined in St Just during the middle overs.

It all went wrong in the last five overs as former Cornwall captain Gary Thomas – 31 not out from 22 balls – and Callum Donnelly (29 off 13) put bat to ball in a stand of 68.

Torquay made a cracking start through George Allen (54) and Pugh (31) topped up by skipper Justin Yau (31) as they reached 118 for two with six overs to go.

It was Allen’s second half-century in 24 hours as he took one off North Devon in the league the previous day.

Wickets tumbled to May (3-34) and when Jack Richardson was caught and bowled by Nick George it four men had gone in three overs for 18 runs added.

Williams with 18 not out off seven balls swished the timber at the end, but it was too late and Torquay ran out of time at 160 for seven.

St Just lost in the final to Frocester, who go forward to a play-off game against the London and South winners later this month.

Skipper Yau said ill discipline when bowling contributed to Torquay’s downfall.

“We batted well as a unit but our bowling was poor and we gave them too many extras (30) which was the difference,” said Yau.

“Take out bowling an additional 12 balls and giving them 20 extra runs and the game is much tighter.”

Yau said there were plus points though.

“It was great to play against another strong team and we can take a lot of positives from the game.

“George Allen was again superb and Matt Beasant and Matt Petherbridge outstanding with the ball.

“Beasant has been a magnificent signing for the club and will play a huge part in the future.”

St Just 182-5 (G May 42, G Thomas 31no, C Donnelly 29, M George 18; M Petherbridge 2-26), Torquay 160-7 (G Allen 54, M Pugh 31, J Yau 31, B Williams 18no; G May 3-34). St Just bt Torquay by 22 runs.