SPECTATORS were treated to a last-ball thriller which saw Fairford U13s progress to the semi finals of the Cotswold District Cup at the expense of a desperately unlucky Poulton.

Fairford U13s 125-8

Poulton U13s 124-5

Man-of-the-match Harvey New held the Fairford innings together with an outstanding knock of 54, and was well supported by Ethan Walker (19), Jake Summers (14) and Ed Miller (14) as the home side posted a respectable score of 125-8 off 20 overs.

Poulton replied well and looked certain winners needing just four off the last two overs to win, thanks to excellent contributions by Josh Gray (49) and Max Rastelli (35).

But New took a wicket and conceded only one run off the penultimate over of the match and Fairford sensed panic building in Poulton’s batsmen.

Fielders pressed hard to stop singles being scored in the final over bowled by Ferdi Van der Heiden, who held his nerve admirably bowling straight and true.

This made the batsmen edgier. Gray stepped back on to his own stumps trying to crack a winning stroke to the leg side boundary and the search for gaps in the field became even more frantic.

The shot played off the last ball was intercepted expertly by New who threw to the bowler's end, where Van der Heiden calmly flicked the bails off to claim a run-out and clinch victory in a splendid match.

Fairford U15s 26-1

Cirencester U15s 25 all out

THREE weeks before this Cotswold District League encounter, Cirencester had taught Fairford a cricketing lesson, beating them emphatically in a cup match.

But a lesson is of little value unless you learn from it and Fairford certainly did as last week’s nine-wicket obliteration of Cirencester manifestly proved.

Cowering bowlers were transformed into raging bulls as Fairford’s attack tore into Cirencester’s stunned batsmen.

With metronomic accuracy (11 overs without a wide or no ball), the wickets tumbled with alarming regularity.

Bowlers Will Chapman (4-14), Freddie Nuttall (2-3), Oliver Holland (2-4) and Charlie Bailey (1-4) were Cirencester’s chief tormentors, but Fairford’s fielders were also dynamic, quick to stifle any hopes Cirencester’s batsmen had of breaking their vice-like grip.

The game was finished in just the fourth over of Fairford’s innings, courtesy of James Alborough’s quick-fire 24 not out.