Liphook batted in a rather reckless fashion and were dismissed for 126 after the North Yorkshire winners had recovered from 59-4 to post a competitive 198-8 at the Home of Cricket.
Ironically, the day could hardly have begun better for the East Hampshire side, who won the toss and put Flixton into bat in favourable early morning bowling conditions.
It was a departure from Liphook’s well rehearsed plan to bat first, but as the final progressed they found the tables turned.
“It was always going to be bat first, but when we got to the nets the ball was hooping and seaming around everywhere, there was cloud over the top and there was a tinge of green on the strip itself, so there was a quick change of mind,” Janczur
“We knew Flixton wanted to bowl first as they had chased successfully seven times out of the eight rounds they had negotiated.”
Lord’s finals in September would not be the same without the ball ‘doing a bit’ early on, and Folkton & Flixton found themselves in early trouble at 19-2 and later 59-4.
The first two wickets fell to Janczur (2-19), and the sight of them will live long in his memory - first Stu Stocks’ middle stump and then the leg stump of opening partner Richard Malthouse uprooted.
Flixton rebuilt with a fine stand of 85 between Matthew Nesfield (60) and teenage prospect Will Hutchinson (48), both strong off the legs.
Harry Walmsley, a lorry driver, gave the innings a rousing finish with 35 off only 17 balls, including a magnificent straight six into the sightscreen in front of the pavilion.
The eloquent Janczur reflected: “We started really well and kept the run-rate down.
“When we had them 59-4, I didn’t want them to get above 180, but their fifth-wicket boys got stuck down, which is something we didn’t do. They took their time, waited for the bad ball and capitalised.
“We were content at half-time. We expected to chase that. No offence to them but we probably faced better attacks in the quarter- and semi-finals, but Flixton held their nerve and the pressure on the day got to our batsmen.”
A total of 198 in 40 overs looked about par, but L&R made a rip-roaring start, at eight an over.
Lynchpin Ryan Covey, around whom Liphook generally build their innings, pulled his first ball to the mid-wicket boundary, but soon feathered a catch behind [17-1]
Liphook batted in T20 style and by the end of the fourth over had 39 on the electronic scoreboard when Rob Nicklin dollied the first of four catches to Malthouse and perished to 16-year old Jack Hatton, who on most Sunday afternoons this autumn will be found catching up on his GCSE coursework.
There was also some confusion when Harry Munt (16) looked to have been given out stumped, but the square-leg umpire cleared up the confusion by saying he has was pointing that the batsman was in, not sticking his finger in the air. Munt was reprieved, but perished soon after, a second victim for the influential Connor Stephenson, who won a leg before decision from the same umpire.
Liphook lost a fourth key wicket (55-4) next ball when Neave, racked by nerves, spooned up a straightforward catch to cover. It was now left to Ganguly and Grant Rouse, who added 20 before the all-rounder was bowled by Tom Norman, Flixton’s stand-out bowler.
The off-spinner took a wicket in each of his first two overs before removing Grant Rouse (25), who (apart from 29 extras) top scored as Liphook sank to a disappointing 126 all out.
Janczur (14) was able to show off some batting prowess before the end, while last man Dave Elliott remained undefeated, having made his indelible mark (on the outfield) earlier in the lay, uprooting a square-foot of the hallowed turf in making a stop at third-man. Retiring Lord’s curator Mick Hunt almost had a fit, leaving incoming Rose Bowl groundsman Carl McDermott will an autumn headache about how the repair the damage ahead of the 2019 ICC World Cup.
But at least it brought a smile to everyone’s faces and, the result apart, brought an end to a simply marvellous day in Liphook & Ripsley’s history. The Village Cup remained in Yorkshire custody for a fifth successive year, but that statistic is unlikely to take away a great memory shared by Liphook and their supporters.