A BRUTAL innings by wicket-keeper Jack Seddon made the difference between potential defeat and victory for Buttershaw St Paul’s in their Jack Hampshire Cup quarter-final.

When Seddon came to the crease, St Paul’s were 146-3 in the 29th over at home to Sandal and in need of acceleration.

Although he took a few balls to get his eye in, pavilion roof tiles, tall trees and even dormer bungalows towards cow corner were in danger as Seddon made 85 not out off just 43 balls, including seven fours and eight sixes.

It was the impetus that the hosts’ innings needed and without it there was every chance that it would have been a tense finish against the Conference League promotion chasers.

St Paul’s, eyeing promotion themselves from Championship Division Two, ended up with 271-7 off their 40 overs and, although Sandal’s openers cashed in on some half-trackers on leg stump in a stand of 74, they collapsed from 153-3 to 186 all out with almost 10 overs unused.

Buttershaw skipper James Sawyer said: “Without doubt it would have been close without Jack’s innings but he is one of those players that can take a game away from the opposition, which he did.

“Having played against him when I was playing for Bankfoot about four or five years ago, I know that he is one of the biggest hitters around, but he is fantastic to have at the club, he is powerful, he is only 23 and if he used his head he would get a few more runs - and he is a good stumper as well.”

Sawyer added: “Before the last five overs we were about 220, and he hit 50 in those last few overs to put us in good stead, but Sandal are a good side, a tough side from the Conference and came out all guns blazing, as they had to.

“Their ground fielding shocked us it was so good for 30 overs and then they tailed off, but I am a big believer in keeping teams out for 40 overs regardless of what score you get.

“It didn’t happen for our opening bowlers and we were missing our main spinner in Ben Platt.

“I was worried when they were 140-2 with 19 overs left but with a side containing eight players who had come through our juniors we showed our spirit and the change bowlers did it for us.”

Pritesh Mistry took 2-17 off five, Sawyer 4-47 off eight and Aiden Winnard 3-21 off six.

Of course, someone still needed to lay a platform for Seddon’s pyrotechnics, and cheerleader-in-chief Jonathan Burston provided that role, with the opener making 80 off 97 deliveries, including 11 fours and two sixes, adding 76 for the third wicket with Jamie Robson, who was just going through the gears when he was dismissed for 32.

Sawyer is happy with his top four batters, saying: “They are firing at the moment.

“Kev McDermott has 450 runs, Jonathan Burston got 96 on Saturday and 80 here and our No 3 James Crossland, who has returned to us after an eight-year sabbatical, has over 600 runs, and Amer Ayoub, who didn’t play against Sandal, is doing well too and setting it up for later batsmen such as Jack and Jamie.”

As for their prospects in the Jack Hampshire Cup, Sawyer said: “You know that you are not going to be drawn against a team from a division above so it is all to play for, and one more win and we are into a cup final.

“Next Sunday we have a full-strength side out at home against Townville in the semi-final of the Heavy Woollen Cup.

“They are like us in that they promote from within and I know that they are two levels higher than us, but it is a one-off game and sometimes the underdog has his day.”