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Morris brothers call it a day as Berkshire end campaign with National Counties Trophy success

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Morris brothers James and Richard have ended their careers with Berkshire Cricket Club, the most successful English county side outside the first-class game, writes David Wright.

Their retirements were confirmed after Berkshire had cruised to an emphatic 151-run victory over Cumbria in the final of the National Counties Trophy at Wormsley last Thursday.

Newbury-born Richard, who will be 34 later this month, has skippered the side this season while 36-year-old James recovered from a knee problem that required surgery.

James and Richard Morris
James and Richard Morris

The former Falkland CC duo said their decisions were made due to family - both have young children - and work commitments. Elstree School teacher James, who was appointed county captain in 2013, has led the county during the most successful period in their history. Since 2016, the side coached by Tom Lambert, have won at least one national competition each season, although no competitive cricket was played last year owing to COVID-19.

Last week saw them win the 50/50 title for the sixth time since 2004, the margin of victory being the biggest in the history of the competition, bettering the 128 runs by which Berkshire defeated Shropshire in the 2013 final.

In front of a good-sized crowd at the private Buckinghamshire venue, the holders posted an impressive 260-8 on the back of excellent knocks of 84 from opener Savin Perera and 76 from Toby Albert, the pair sharing a second-wicket stand of 132.

In contrast, Cumbria lost both openers for just two runs and their sixth wicket went down at 31 in just 12 overs before their lower order managed to raise the total to 109. They had lost 2019 final to Berkshire by just one run.

Former Thatcham player Andy Rishton took 4-16 from 10 overs to earn the man-of-the-match award, while Luke Beaven claimed 3-20, Tom Nugent 2-27 and Chris Peploe 1-23, six wickets falling to lbw decisions.

The 40-year-old Peploe, another father with a young child, has also ended his career with Berkshire, having played a pivotal role in their glory years since making his debut in 2009 and taking more than 300 wickets in all competitions.

Richard Morris commented: "A few us have decided to call it a day due to other commitments, family and work, and it's time to pass the baton on to others, so there will be a bit of a rebuild at Berkshire.

Berkshire are crowned champions
Berkshire are crowned champions

"There is a consistent crop of really good young cricketers coming through the county's pathway and it is time for them to start putting their hands up for some of the leadership positions."

Summary: Berkshire 260-8 (Savin Perera 84, Toby Albert 76, James McGown 4-50) beat Cumbria 109 (Andy Rishton 4-16) by 151 runs.

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