After taking his 49th wicket back on 11th May, Harry Rouse finally hit the 50 mark in a superb spell of 3-16 from 4 overs as the Yellows secured a spot in the MCC / Red Bull T20 Finals Day.
Having received a bye into the Qualifying Final following the late withdrawal of Newcastle University, the Yellows faced Durham MCCU following their 42 run victory over Bristol University. After choosing to bat first, Billy Root’s knock of 69 from 43 balls was the foundation of a total of 164 for 6, with other valuable contributions from Steve Bullen (21), Ryan McKendry (23*) & a last over blast from Chris Harwood (13 off 5) which included two monster maximums. The final 6 balls actually realised 19 runs, McKendry also lifting the ball over the ropes.
Two wickets in Alex Lilley’s first 8 balls reduced Durham to 7 for 2 before Steel & MacDonnell put on a threatening stand of 49 in only 4.1 overs before the Durham skipper Steel swung wildly at Joe Ellis-Grewal and lost his leg stump. MacDonnell was stumped by Wakefield off the same bowler, but it was Rouse’s tight spell and 3 wickets that really put a strangle on the North-East boys as they finished up losing the last wicket to the first ball of the last over with their total on 140.
Rouse’s hairstyles may have changed over his years in the squad but his consistency with the ball has remained. He becomes only the 10th player ever to hit the half-century of wickets in competitive games and now lies in joint 5th spot with Tom Glover on 52 scalps. However, he has some way to get the top spot of 85 wickets, shared by Daniel Woods and Alex MacQueen.
The win means that we now travel down to Oxford for the Finals Day on Monday 15th June. Durham also qualified as best runner-up on run rate and will be joined by the winners of the other two qualifying groups – Loughborough and Oxford. There will be two semi-finals (draw on Monday 8th) before the final – where the winners will get an all-expenses trip to India to represent England in the Red Bull Campus Cricket Global Finals.