(Photo: Angela Davison)
By Charlie Peat
CELEBRATING a historic league and cup double is made that much sweeter when your youngest stars shine on the big stage, according to Berkshire captain James Morris.
Berks added the Unicorns Championship to their one-day trophy success when they beat familiar foes Lincolnshire by six wickets to become the first minor county to do the double.
And they had 17-year-old Jack Davies to thank for their red-ball success after he scored a magnificent 127 not out during the four-day final.
His heroics, along with an 11-wicket haul from Chris Peploe, saw Berks over the line and Morris was delighted by his side’s successful defence of their Championship crown.
“We’re very happy and extremely proud that we’ve made history with this incredible team that we’ve put together – it’s not an easy thing to do to win both competitions and I’m immensely proud of everyone that has been on the journey,” he said.
“After we lost the toss, we turned up thinking it might be a short day. It was a pretty green wicket and a used wicket too so we didn’t think it would go on for as long as it did. But that’s the mark of my side that we have somehow found a way.
“The most pleasing thing from my perspective is that for the second year running it’s one of the young lads who has done the business when it really counted. Jack Davies’ knock in the second innings was superb, 127 not out is a quite phenomenal achieve-ment and we’re very proud of him and everybody that has been involved.
“Chris (Peploe) has been brilliant, too. He’s been a constant throughout this whole process – once all was said and done I made a point of thanking him personally for all his hard work.
“He’s bowled an enormous amount of overs to an incredibly high level of skill and his wicket haul in the final was almost inevitable. We could not do it without him so it’s all that he deserves.”
Morris believes there is no end to Davies’ talent and hopes one day to watch him rub shoulders with some of the country’s best cricketers.
He added: “There’s always a little bit of luck involved but judging by his knock in the final then the sky is the limit. He’s very level headed at such a young age and so talented. That’s a great cocktail for success and we wish him all the very best – we could be watching him on television for many years, I hope.
“When you win trophies it’s great fun and you get to do it with your mates but the most pleasing thing from my perspective is seeing young players come through and shine – when it’s somebody who can go onto bigger and better things and we sincerely hope we don’t see him again.
“It’s hugely satisfying, we had some good celebrations last night and seeing how much it means to Jack at this age is really great.”
Lincolnshire will be sick of the sight of Berkshire having lost to them in the last two Championship finals as well as the one-day trophy competition this season.
But Morris believes the county should be congratulated and admits they make his side produce the goods.
“They absolutely bring the best out of us,” he said. “They are there to be congratulated on winning the Eastern and bringing the best out of us. The difference between the two sides is perhaps the levels of belief and fitness on our side and that really shone through at the end of the game.
“We know we are a good side and this season has confirmed the fact we are not just a good side but a great team. It will be a long time before what we have achieved is matched by anybody.
“I’m sure there will be a little changing of the guard in terms of the make-up of the side but the motivation is to keep the production line of young Berkshire players coming through.”
*This article was originally published in The Cricket Paper’s 1 September 2017 edition. Subscribe: www./bit.ly/TCP-Sub