08:30PM, Friday 15 October 2021
Berkshire's bold-hitting batter Dan Lincoln led the National Counties Cricket Association to glory in the inaugural Dream11 European Championship in Malaga.
The England representatives defeated Belgium by 10 wickets in the final of this 15-nation T10 tournament.
In addition to skipper Lincoln, the winning squad also included Wokingham duo Andy Rishton and Max Uttley as well as Henley's Euan Woods. They were coached by Berkshire performance manager Tom Lambert, assisted by former county player Richard Logan, the NCCA's operations director.
They generally dominated the event, suffering only two defeats - against Italy and Belgium - in a busy programme of 19 matches.
Slough batter/wicketkeeper Lincoln led from the front throughout the tournament, producing some venomous hitting and sharing match-winning partnerships with Oxfordshire's Harrison Ward.
The opening pair dominated the final held in perfect sunshine at the Cartama Oval, scoring an unbeaten 149 as they guided their side home with seven balls to spare.
Lincoln, who has played T20 cricket for Middlesex and for Kent in the County Championship in the last two seasons, struck six sixes and six fours in his unbeaten 80 from 31 balls and Left-hander Ward, who also plays for Sussex, made 61 not out from 24 balls, an innings that also included half-a-dozen maximums. Belgium had earlier made 148-6 following a third-wicket partnership of 89 between Sherry Butt (54) and Ali Raza (43).
Banbury's Ward finished the tournament with a total of 595 runs, which included 61 sixes and 39 fours. Former Finchampstead captain Lincoln virtually matched him with 594 that contained 54 maximums and 40 fours. He also hit the only century, 105 not out. The pair proved a glowing advertisement for the standard of Home Counties Premier League cricket.
Another highlight for Lincoln came in the game that saw them clinch the Group C title, blasting 105 not out from just 31 balls in a six-wicket victory against Italy. He received excellent support from Rishton, who smashed 24 from nine balls, three of which he hit for six.
When they played Spain in their first match of the second week, Lincoln and Ward produced an unbroken first wicket partnership of 178 to set up a crushing 93-run victory over the host nation. Ward scored 92 from 31 balls and Lincoln 82 from 30 balls, the pair plundering five sixes in a seven-ball over from Paul Hennessy that included a no-ball and cost 31 runs.