BARNARDS Green came agonisingly close to winning Birmingham League’s T20 Challenge Cup as they lost to C&R Hawks in a thrilling final.

Captain Ash Brewer and his men were set 189 to win after their Division Two opponents amassed a formidable 188-7.

But Green produced a valiant chase, with Oli Swift cracking 56 not out before his side fell just seven runs short of victory. Despite the defeat, the Malvern side will be proud of their efforts having knocked out Barnt Green to make finals day and saw off Berkswell in the semi-final.

About 30 Green fans made the trip to Walsall last Sunday and they went on to have an enthralling day.

It did not start well though as Andy Ford was caught behind off the first ball.

But Dannie Rees and Ryan Tongue hit big and took their team past 100 in the 10th over.

With the score on 119, Rees was clean bowled as he finished on 56. Tongue fell four runs later for 64 as he holed out. Although more wickets fell Green managed to reach an impressive total of 171-7.

Liam Gately scored 39, but when he went Berkswell were 88-5 and were left needing 84 runs off eight overs.

Berkswell rallied with James Neale hitting 43 not out off 29 balls, but it was not enough as Green won by seven runs.

They then took to the field against C&R Harks who beat Wolverhampton in the other semi-final.

After losing the toss and being asked to field, the Malvern side reduced C&R Harks to 32-3.

But strong batting from Shazad Malik (38) and Mubeen Rashid (59) put their team back in charge.

Facing a daunting target, Green started well, racing to 39 before Ryan Tongue was caught for 31. After Ford (23) was removed, Swift came in with the score on 75-2. He kept plugging away as Green needed 42 off four overs before scoring 10 in an over.

Despite Swift’s best hitting, Green’s innings ended on 181-5.