Reed opener Richard Wharton put in the pivotal performance with bat and gloves to deny Yorkshire’s Sessay back-to-back Watsons Village Cup titles at Lord’s.
Wharton, 25, who works as a Special Constable in Hitchin, came through a tough early spell to score an unbeaten 86 from 113 balls, steering Reed – the Hertfordshire League Championship club – to a seven-wicket victory with 25 balls to spare.
In the field, Wharton stood out with two stumpings as Reed restricted Sessay – who enjoyed promotion in the York Senior League this year – to 164-9 from their 40 overs.
It is Reed’s second victory in a Lord’s final against Yorkshire opposition – after their 2012 win over Woodhouse Grange.
Sessay won last year’s title with a 119-run thumping of Kent’s Sibton Park, but it was soon obvious that Reed would offer a tougher proposition, especially after they won the toss and bowled under grey skies in the morning.
Mark Wilkie, whose 78 helped Sessay win the 2010 cup, managed 15 this time before he hit Toby Fynn straight to mid-off.
Stuart Smith had his second catch a few overs later, when Joe Watson tried to hit the accurate off-spinner Tom Greaves over the top.
The unobtrusive Mark Jackson, trying to anchor the innings, reached 28 off 54 balls, tried to hit Greaves into the Mound Stand but picked out deep square-leg. Greaves’ spin proved Reed’s trump card, and he finished with 3-19.
Sessay were struggling at 81-6, after Karl Ward had Jacob Spencer lbw, then Wharton took a sharp legside stumping to dismiss Liam Carver (brother of Yorkshire spinner Karl).
Chris Till, Sessay’s man for a crisis, began the task of edging them up to a defendable score. He took them past three figures in the 32nd over with a clipped four off his legs, and he and Tom Hall put on a fifty partnership in just 44 balls.
Hall had just struck Mitchell Cooper for a towering six into the Tavern Stand when he wandered out of his crease on 22 and Wharton did the rest.
Till continued on his way with quick feet and good running, reaching 46 up to the last ball of the innings, which he hit down extra cover’s throat.
In reply, Reed lost Will Heslam (6) to Hall, before Wharton’s 61-ball half-century, with eight fours, edged them to victory.
As Sessay belatedly turned to their spinners, James Heslam began to branch out, reaching his own half-century, and he and Wharton put on 107 for the third wicket. The winning six was smashed towards the Pavilion by Greaves just before 5pm.