Battle to reach Brightside Ground Begins as U19 T20 blasts off

The race to play at the Brightside Ground, Bristol has begun with the start of the Gloucestershire Under 19 Club T20 competition.

The 2018 tournament- sponsored by First Class Comms – has kicked off with 19 teams battling it out to reach finals day – which returns to the home of Gloucestershire Cricket after a year away.

The competition is played in coloured clothing and seeks to recreate the razzamatazz of the Vitality T20 Blast with points awarded for match day atmosphere including music, barbecues and off-field events.

The pick of the first round of matches came in the North Group where Cheltenham Chiefs  (pictured) claimed the local bragging rights with a local derby victory over Hatherley Hurricanes.

Rutwick Kulkarni in action for the Chiefs

Having won the toss the Hurricanes posted 121-9 from their 20 overs thanks to 47 (from 49 balls) by Rob Dent. The rest of the batsman struggled to get going as left arm seamer Josh Mill (3-20) and left arm spinner Rutwick Kulkarni (3-14) did the damage.

In reply skipper Ben Peglar top scored with 31 with contributions from Elliott Hayward (18), Saxon Campbell (24) and Jamie Theyer who made 26 not out having earlier taken 2-9.

The Chiefs were kept off the top of the North Group by Corse and Staunton who overpowered Winchcombe by 32 runs. Adam Robson (46) and Kiran Chakraborty (47) laid the foundations for Corse and Staunton before Henry Garner smashed 32 not out off 15 balls to take them to 177-5.

In reply Winchcombe lost an early wicket but consolidated with a partnership between Freddie Drysdale and Oliver leather who both made 22. Christian Willemstein (45 from 22 balls) and Christian Lambert (20 off 14) threatened to cause an upset but the run rate always proved out of their reach.

There was a huge upset in the first match of the South Group has two time Champions Bristol Buccaneers slipped to a four wicket defeat to Knowle. Having won the toss Bristol were kept to 92 as Dion Saunders ripped through the lower order with 4-2. Paul Johnson also impressed taking 3-16 as the home side collapsed from 82-4 to 92-9.

Knowle were cruising at 60-1 in response thanks to 31 from Lawrence Foster and 33 not out from Callum Jones. But they had to survive a late scare as two wickets apiece for Louis Shaw (2-12) and Josh Greenbury (2-16) saw them reach their target for the loss of six wickets.

In the Mid Group Winterbourne Dragons are the early pace-setters due to their opponents being unable to fulfill their opening fixtures.

The winners of each group and the best runner-up will go through to contest Finals Day at the Brightside Ground, Bristol on August 19.

For U19 results, scorecards and stats go to http://ecbu19clubt20.play-cricket.com