EALING became the first club to retain the Evening Standard Challenge Trophy, London's prime knockout competition, adding to a clean sweep of honours in the ECB Middlesex Premier League.
Ealing, playing at their own Corfton Road ground, beat Sunbury by two wickets in their fifth final during the 17 years of the competition and their fourth in a row, the last to be sponsored by the Evening Standard. They had already won the ECB Middlesex Premier League for a record-breaking fourth year in a row and took the second and third team leagues. The club also won the Middlesex under-17 league and cup.
The Evening Standard final was switched after the Oval day had been rained off the previous week and an exciting contest proved to be a rewarding final match as captain for Luke Stoughton and a memorable swansong for Ian Blanchett in his final appearance for the club before his imminent departure for New Zealand.
John Maunders, the Leicestershire and Essex batsman, hit 102 for Sunbury, though his Middlesex colleagues David Nash and Adma London failed with the bat. Off-spinner Sameer Patel took five wickets to spark a collapse to 202.
Ealing's county experience was provided by all-rounder Chris Peploe, out of favour at Middlesex as a left-arm spinner, and Rajesh Rao, formerly Sussex, though it was a former Middlesex all-rounder Blanchett, with 45 not out, who squeezed out a victory against the odds after wickets had fallen regularly.
At the award ceremony after the game, the bowler of the match award went to Patel, and Maunders won the batsman of the match award, but in a very sporting gesture he passed the award over to Blanchett in recognition of his match-winning innings.