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Bath v Ealing Sunday 27th July 2003 at North Parade

National Club Championship Quarter Final

The Background :

Whilst the 1st and 2nd teams were on way (once more) to League titles, National knockout fever was hitting the club once more and the question of whether we could make it to Lords and then make it 3rd time lucky was on everyone's lips. As omens go for the day of the quarter finals read what you like into the following headlines.....the world woke up to discover that actor/comedian Bob Hope had died, the truely inspirational and cancer-beating cyclist Lance Armstrong won his fifth consecutive tour de France without absolutely no help from performance enhancing drugs, EPO, blood transfusions, etc. whatsoever - not even a little bit -and the BBC reported that, after a long and extensive investigation of Loch Nesshat there was absolutely "no trace of a sea monster" whatsoever - not even a little bit! Some monsters of cricket, however, were at North Parade - Willie Murrie had found that he was English after all, Swinney and Stauton were still going strong and Simon Gwilliam had gone from Roman centurion/leader of the band in 1993 to on-field off-spinner in the space of 5 years.

The Game :

Another bumper crowd at NP saw Bath bowling first in this encounter - a method which served them well throughout the cup run of 2003. Ealing started solidly with an opening partnership of just under 50 before the introduction of spin (in the form of that former Roman centurion) who made the first breakthrough. The visitors slumped from 47-0 to a perilous 79-4 before their skipper, Peter Wellings hit an unbeaten half-century to shepherd his side to 177-8 after their 45 overs. Gwills finished with 2-29 and Stu Barnes had identical figures as Ealing posted a total which looked clearly below par.

It looked even more below par once the Bath openers, Will Murrie and Kim Watson, got going. In a re-run of the start that Bath got in 1998, the openers put on over 123 in less than 25 overs and the games was all but won. there was a small wobble as 3 wickets fell in quick succession before Tom hankins delivered the coup de grace with a brisk 34 not out. Watson scored 42 but it was the destructive Kiwi-turned-Englishman Murrie whose 81 launched Bath into the semi-final with 10 overs to spare. 

Next stop Bushey Park, Teddington, final desination Lords - all aboard the national knockout express!!

Scorecard for 2003 QF

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