Sessay CC were unable to deliver back-to-back National Village Knockout Cup victories, losing Sunday’s final to Reed CC of Hertfordshire at the home of cricket.
The defending champions went down to a seven-wicket defeat having posted just 164/9 batting first under grey skies at Lord’s.
Mark Wilkie’s side won last year’s title with a 119-run thumping of Kent’s Sibton Park, but it was soon obvious that Reed would offer a tougher proposition, especially after they won the toss and bowled in favourable conditions in the morning.
Skipper Wilkie, whose knock of 78 helped Sessay win the 2010 competition, managed only 15 this time before he smacked a Toby Fynn delivery straight to mid-off.
Stuart Smith had his second catch a few overs later when Joe Watson (11) tried to hit the accurate off-spinner Tom Greaves over the top, and Nick Thorne (2) was next to depart having failed to replicate his fine form of previous rounds.
Unobtrusive opener Mark Jackson – doing his best to anchor the innings – reached 28 off 54 balls, but then attemped to launch Greaves into the Mound Stand and only succeeded in picking out deep square-leg.
Wilkie’s men found themselves in real trouble at 81/6 after Karl Ward had Jacob Spencer lbw for 10, then Richard Wharton took a sharp legside stumping to dismiss Liam Carver (brother of Yorkshire spinner Karl) for a duck.
Chris Till, Sessay’s man for a crisis, then began the task of edging them up to a defendable score.
He took them past three figures in the 32nd over with a clipped four off his legs, and he and Tim Hall put on a fifty partnership in just 44 balls.
Hall had just struck Mitchell Cooper for a towering six into the Tavern Stand when he wandered out of his crease on 22 and gloveman Wharton did the rest.
Till continued on his way with quick feet and good running, reaching 46 up to the last ball of the innings, which he hit down extra cover’s throat as Sessay closed on 164/9 from their 40 overs.
In reply, Reed lost Will Heslam (6) to the bowling of Hall and Stuart Peirse got rid of Rob Lankester lbw for a duck to leave the scoreboard reading 46/2 before Wharton’s 61-ball half-century got the 2012 winners into a decent position.
As Sessay belatedly turned to their spinners, James Heslam began to branch out, reaching his own half-century, and he and Wharton (86 not out) put on 107 for the third wicket.
Heslam went for 54 in the end, stumped by Till off the bowling of Ben Scaling, but the winning six was then smashed towards the pavilion by Greaves just before 5pm, wrapping things up with 25 balls to spare.