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Doncaster Town reach ECB National Club Championship regional final

Luke Townsend, left, played a starring role in Doncaster Town's win over Sessay.
Luke Townsend, left, played a starring role in Doncaster Town's win over Sessay.

Skipper Luke Townsend hit an unbeaten 67 to guide Doncaster Town past Sessay and into the regional final of the ECB National Club Championship.

Townsend held firm as wickets tumbled around him to lead Doncaster to a nerve-jangling three wicket win at Town Fields with just three balls to spare.

Town, who this year celebrate the 20th anniversary of their famous win at Lord’s in the same competition, will now travel to ECB Yorkshire North Premier League high flyers Woodhouse Grange in the regional final on June 24.

After knocking out Harrogate and Hanging Heaton, Doncaster knew they were in for a tough afternoon against a Sessay outfit who have themselves reached Lord’s twice in the last two seasons for the final of the National Village Cup.

The visitors decided to bat and opener Mark Wilkie’s knock of 77 laid for the foundations for a good total.

After being 145-1, however, Sessay will have been slightly disappointed to close on 195-6.

An excellent spell by sixth change bowler Warren Graca of 4-25 helped keep the target under 200.

Doncaster set off in solid fashion through openers James Stuart (37) and Graeme Attenborough (25).

But their dismissals sparked a flurry of wickets as Town slipped from 67-0 to 116-6.

With the game finely balanced that was the cue for Townsend to take control, ably supported by Joe Gallagher (29).

They put on 76 for the seventh wicket and, although Gallagher departed late on, Townsend kept his cool to hit the winning runs in the 40th and final over to the delight of the Town balcony and home supporters.

An excellent weekend for Doncaster also saw them bounce back from their double defeat over the bank holiday weekend by beating Treeton on Saturday by five wickets.

James Stuart, Duncan Heath and Jack Shutt each took two wickets to restrict the visitors to 142-6 in a game reduced to 34 overs per side.

Stuart (52) and James Ward (43) were the mainstays with the bat in Town’s winning reply, which came with nine balls to spare.

Victory lifted Doncaster back up to fourth place in the ECB Yorkshire South Premier League.