The Craig family dynasty looks set to feature heavily on the local cricket scene for many more years to come.
Malcolm Craig played for Peterborough Town in a Jaidka Cup Final many decades ago and his son Adam made it with Nassington a few years back. Another son Duncan was a fearsome fast bowler in his day without ever reaching the final of the longest-running 20 over competition in the region, but consolation for him will be watching both of his sons perform in the 2015 decider.
And what talents they are. Fifteen year-old Harrison Craig looks as though he would blow over in a stiff breeze, but bowls left-arm spin with remarkable control for one so young, while 17 year old Conor Craig bats in a swash-buckling, eye-catching style - he’s the David Gower of Nassington CC.
It was the elder Craig who stole the show in tonight’s (June 17) Jaidka Cup semi-final win over Ramsey. Younger brother bowled well to return figures of 2-13 from four overs, but it’s fair to say Nassington’s well-worn track is a spinner’s paradise.
Talented off-spinner Kasim Ikhlaq suggested it was rougher than the Gaza Strip and low bounce and excessive turn were prevelant throughout on a strip getting it’s third outing in five days.
Ramsey were dismissed for 100 with four balls of their 20 overs remaining and even free-scoring Cambs player Michael Cafferkey found the going tough. He was last man out for 40 which occupied the best part of 16 overs and 50 balls.
The brains trust on the boundary felt that the visitors were still in with a great chance and when Nassington slumped to 10-3 with two star men, skipper Dan Robinson and Tom Norman out to the first ball they received, it looked a splendid prediction.
But Craig arrived to play an innings of such freedom the game soon turned again in Nassington’s favour. Opener James Pope (24) started the comeback and when he was dismised Craig combined elegance and power to take control of the contest.
Craig smacked four sixes and faced just 38 balls in finishing on 54 not out. Fittingly he won the match with a six that also took him past 50 - there were still more than five overs to go. Craig senior also claimed two catches and executed two run outs to run away with the man-of-the-match accolade.
Ramsey were without key men Taylor West and Mark Edwards because of injuries that will keep them on the sidelines for a month (they were so short former captain Michael Kay played his first game of the season and bowled well), but for Nassington it was business as usual.
This was a ninth win in nine Twenty/20 matches this summer. They’ve now reached two finals and a finals day with one more semi-final to come.
Nasington play Market Deeping in the final at Barnack CC on Wednesday, June 24 (6pm).
J. Markland c Pope b D. Bandaranaike 10
J. Cafferkey st Robinson b Ikhlaq 7
M. Cafferkey c C. Craig b D, Bandaranaike 40
T. Goers c C. Craig b Pope 5
J. Barningham run out 0
E. Cafferkey b H. Craig 2
O. Verrall b Duffy 6
M. Kay run out 3
M. Saunders b H. Craig 0
V. Woodward b Duffy 15
E. Manchett not out 1
Bowling: D. Bandaranaike 3.2-0-23-2; K. Ikhlaq 4-0-13-1; J. Pope 4-0-26-1; H. Craig 4-0-13-2; R. Duffy 4-0-17-2.
D. Robinson b J. Cafferkey 0
J. Pope b Kay 24
R. Duffy lbw Barningham 1
T. Norman st Markland b Barningham 0
C. Craig not out 54
K. Ikhlaq c and b M. Cafferkey 10
N. Walker not out 2
TOTAL (5 wkts) 101
Bowling: J. Cafferkey 4-0-22-1; M. Cafferkey 3-1-12-1; J. Barningham 3.3-0-32-2; M. Kay 2-0-8-1; T. Goers 2-0-21-0.