DOUBLE delight saw Cumbria County Cricket Club fire themselves into the T20 Super 12s.

The Cumbrians overpowered Cheshire in both of their matches in the group stage of this year’s National Counties Cricket Association (NCCA) T20 competition.

Cheshire might well have regretted their decision to put Cumbria in to bat in the first game as openers (and now Kendal CC team-mates) Freddie Fallows and Sam Dutton put on an opening stand of 86.

But then with the second ball of his third over spinner Harry Dearden sent the former’s bails flying. Fallow’s superb strike rate of 165.22 (38 off 23 balls, 2 x 4s, 3 x 6s) contributed to just the start Cumbria needed.

However, his dismissal brought Cheshire into the ascendency for the next seven overs.

Three balls later, thanks to a catch by Alex Money at deep square leg, Dearden sent Steven Croft (Lancashire CCC) back to the coop, nursing a duck.

Harry Singh (Lancashire CCC, 3) and Matthew Sempill (Cockermouth CC, 4) came and went quickly, each caught deep mid-wicket.

Last ball of the 15th over, Dutton edged one to Sam Perry at backward point.

His 60 off 44 balls (9 X 4s, strike rate 136.36) was the top score for Cumbria.

With strike rates of 158.33 and 127.27 respectively skipper Michael Slack (Carlisle CC) and Evan Williams (Kendal CC) turned the momentum back to the Sausages in the last five overs.

Slack’s 38 from 24 balls (3 x 4s, 2 x 6s) helped bring Cumbria’s final score to a defendable 163/5. Cheshire’s innings got off to a decent start, but they lost their first wicket in the fourth over when Sam Perry lofted a shot off Fallows towards mid-wicket.

Ed Moulton (Chorley CC) casually ran backwards a few yards and took it comfortably above his head.

From the sixth to the 16th overs the Lancashire duo of Singh and Croft took half of Cheshire’s wickets.

Croft was welcomed into the bowling action with a 6 off his first ball to Will Evans, but then got Henry Dobson trapped lbw with the last ball of his first over.

Singh bowled Cheshire’s top scorer Evans (30), Croft bowled Joe Cooke. Harry Dearden was stumped by Finlay Richardson (Kendal CC) off Croft, Luke Young’s shot off Singh went straight to Evan Williams (Kendal CC) on the boundary at deep mid-wicket.

Between Cooke and Dearden’s dismissals Patrick Ashling had been run out when Fallows cut off a boundary but overdid his throw in. Dearden and Ashling had tried for a second run but close fielder Nico Watt (Carlisle CC), backing up, was too quick for them.

Slack put in a captain’s over to finish things off, dismissing Rob Lord, Selby and Boyden to leave the hosts 91 all out off 16.4 overs.

In the second match, Cumbria won the toss and elected to bat.

Fallows crashed a number of sixes before falling to a catch by Young at extra cover.

His strike rate of 216.67 had helped put Cumbria on 34/1 off 3.1.

Dutton and Croft kept up the momentum, and the visitors were on 116 from 9.3 overs when the former (34 off 25) fired one straight to mid-on for a catch.

Croft scored exactly 50 (2 x 4s, 4 x 6s) before falling to a catch at deep extra cover, while Slack, Singh and Sempill took the score to 153/5 off 17.

And Richardson and Williams put on 11 in the last over to post 182/6.

In reply, second over Evans (8) fell to Fallows, before Dearden (21 off 10) was bowled by Croft two overs later.

Fallows then ran out Cooke and Money in the fifth and seventh over respectively.

Perry (35 from 23) fell to a Singh thanks to an impressive reflex catch from Dutton.

Sempill then took a good catch to see off Young from the bowling of Moulton.

Ashling was then caught by Sam Sharp (Kendal CC) and Slack got in on the action with a low catch.

Croft finished the innings off by trapping Lord Ibw and then catching as Cheshire were 104 all out from 15.1.

Cumbria’s other scheduled fixtures in the round robin of the T20 competition were all rained off. Topping the T20 NCCA T20 Group 1 table, Cumbria will host a Super 12 day (effectively the T20 semi-finals) on Sunday, May 19.

This Sunday, they host Bedforshire a t Keswick CC in the NCCA’s One Day Trophy (11am start).