Memorial match was a thriller

A founder member of Belton Cricket Club, Paul Knight worked tirelessly to establish a place for budding batsmen and bowlers to enjoy their sport in the borough. After his passing in 1995, the Paul Knight Memorial Trophy was set up by his wife and sons to provide a cricket competition for schools in the area.

In the 16th year of the event, the finalists were again Acle High School (holders for the past three years and eight times winners overall) and Lynn Grove High School (last winners in 2000).

Battle for the trophy started on Southtown Common in front of an ever-growing crowd. Two of Paul’s grandsons competed in the tournament this year, whilst his sons Dan and Tom took on the umpiring duties.

The 30-over match allotted bowlers a maximum of six overs each. Acle asked Lynn Grove to bat first, and the start saw batsmen come and go at regular intervals, Acle clinging on to six out of eight available catches.

Taylor top-scored with 14, whilst for Acle, Webster (four for 24) and Kelf (four for 21) did the damage with the ball, Lynn Grove dismissed for just 64 runs in 14 overs.

A glorious tea followed, then Lynn Grove skipper Savoury led his troops superbly. The fielding was sharp – and like their opponents, catches were safely pouched. An amazing fight-back followed, Lynn Grove turning the game in their favour as wickets tumbled.

Savoury took two wickets in consecutive balls, missing out narrowly on his hat-trick. The fall of Acle’s ninth wicket set up a barn-storming finish.

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With overs running out, it took a cool head and text-book batting to win the match, from Acle’s Fisher (27 not out).

Paul’s wife Sue Knight presented the trophies to the victorious Acle team and to man of the match – Lynn Grove’s George Savoury – for his leadership and five-wicket haul.

A special mention was made of the tournament’s organiser Rick Atkinson who is retiring this year, having run the event throughout its 16 years.

A splendidly exciting match played out in front of a rapt crowd, with sportsmanship uppermost. Paul would have been very proud of his legacy.