CHARLIE Brain played the starring role as Shipton-under-Wychwood cruised to a six-wicket victory over Challow & Childrey in yesterday’s Oxfordshire final.
Brain claimed two wickets in Challow’s below-par 141 all out, before carrying his bat with 61 not out, ensuring Shipton’s extraordinary 16-year winning streak at home continued.
However, the match was overshadowed by a nasty injury to Challow’s left-arm wrist-spinner Joe Harris, who suffered a badly dislocated left knee, which led to a hold-up of around half-an-hour while an ambulance was called.
Harris suffered the injury as he dived full-stretch on the deep midwicket boundary to try and prevent a Jason Hunt boundary.
Paramedics treated the youngster, before taking him to Oxford’s John Radcliffe Hospital.
Challow won the toss and opted to bat first, and got off to a decent enough start.
Captain Nigel Hume hit a quickfire 23, including four boundaries, but Brain,who finished 2-31 from his nine overs, had him caught by Joe Barrett, while fellow opener Steve Burry fell lbw to Hunt for 15.
Challow struggled to dominate a tight Shipton attack, with left-arm spinner Shaun Miller particularly miserly.
Miller finished with 2-13 from 8.1 overs, while Hunt claimed 3-37.
Shipton got off to a poor start in reply as Tim Senior fell for a duck to seamer Daniel Alderson.
But Brain’s unbeaten knock, containing eight boundaries, was chanceless, and it was fitting that he scored the winning runs.
Hunt’s big-hitting 30 came to an end immediately following the enforced break for the Harris injury, as he was caught in the deep by Olly Dimbylow off the bowling of off-spinner Ian Demain, but by then, Shipton were well on course.
It was left to Andy Hemming and Brain to share an unbroken fifth-wicket stand of 54 to see Shipton comfortably into the national stages, in which next Sunday they will visit Goatacre, who beat Cattistock by one wicket in the last over of the Wiltshire final.