Flixton fade to Gray

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Linden Gray was the star of the show as Staxton finally lifted the AndyHire Harburn Cup at North Marine Road on Friday night.

After three consecutive defeats in the final of the competition, twice at the hands of Flixton, Staxton managed to get their hands on the cup.

It didn’t look likely until slow bowler Gray (pictured) collected amazing figures of of 7-28 as Flixton crumbled in the reply to Staxton’s 140-8.

Having successfully chased Staxton down in the past, Flixton won the toss and put their rivals into bat.

Opener Rob Pinder led a charmed life as he was dropped by Richard Malthouse with no score on the board.

He went on to take advantage of this by striking a couple of boundaries in his 13 before Malthouse made amends, claiming a catch off the bowling of Will Hunter.

Fellow opener Carl Joyce then grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck, playing some elaborate shots in his 30,

Joyce’s wicket was the first of two to fall in the space of two Ben Elvidge deliveries, with Chris Mann pouching both. James Armstrong being the second for a golden duck.

The wickets continued to fall after this, though a quick-fire spurt from Paul Witty kept the tally ticking on. Chris Dove held up the other end with 42 until he was well caught on the boundary.

The half-time score of 140 looked very attainable for Flixton, especially after a swift start from their openers Oliver Stephenson and Stuart Stocks.

Stocks plundered his way to 48, with Flixton on 70, when he was caught. Stephenson followed two deliveries later, the pair being the first victims of the deadly Gray.

Ben Elvidge and skipper Scott Cooper were then next to depart in double-quick time to Elliott Cooper and Gray respectively,

Jamie Nesfield stepped up though, blazing the next ball for six to leave Flixton needing 30 off the final three eight-ball overs.

Nesfield continued to power the ball to the boundary, though his partners at the other end fell. Will Hunter was caught by Chris Dove off Gray and then Malthouse was run out without facing a ball.

Harry Walmsley departed for a duck and Chris Mann fell to be Aussie Joyce’s first wicket.

Flixton were still in the game needing 15 from the final 11 balls, especially with Nesfield pinch-hitting his way through the late deliveries.

The blow came though when Nesfield finally fell as Dan Bulman clung on to a catch off Gray at the second attempt, leaving Flixton in big trouble.

The destructive Gray wrapped up the affair with just two balls remaining as he clean bowled the final Flixton batter.

After a gruelling tussle, AndyHire’s Andre Meunier presented the cup to a Staxton side, who richly deserved their silverware.