OXFORDSHIRE left-arm spinner Tom Hinley played a starring role as England won a European tournament.

National Counties XI, representing England at the Dream 11 European Cricket Championship, overcame defending champions Netherlands with an emphatic eight-wickets victory in the final at the Cartama Oval near Malaga.

A superb unbeaten 71 from 24 balls from Hinley swept National Counties, who also won the competition in 2021, to a target of 146 with 11 balls to spare. 

Hinley thumped eight sixes in a thrilling display of clean hitting that helped National Counties to avenge their defeat by the Dutch in the final 12 months ago. 

It was the second win for National Counties over Netherlands on finals day as it followed a 15 runs victory in a qualifier.

READ ALSO: Oxford City Stars head coach wants to see progression match financial input

National Counties had earlier finished top of their group in Championship Week. They made an excellent start with a crushing 79 runs victory over Jersey. 

Hinley claimed wickets with his first two balls, with Elliot Corbel picking out Tommy Sturgess at deep square leg and Sam Patidar being smartly stumped by Dan Lincoln. 

National Counties then had mixed fortunes on the second day of Championship Week. Having easily disposed of Germany by 130 runs in their opening match of the day, they came up short against the Netherlands and were beaten by six wickets with seven balls to spare.

Against Germany, Hinley clobbered nine sixes and six fours in his 86 not out from just 25 balls. A brace of impressive victories over Italy and Spain followed for National Counties, before progressing to finals day despite suffering a six-wickets defeat against an Ireland XI.

Witney Gazette: Click here to sign up to the Oxford United newsletter Click here to sign up to the Oxford United newsletter (Image: Newsquest)

Prior to Championship Week, the England side initially made a solid start to their Group E campaign, with victories over Switzerland and Malta at the Cartama Oval near Malaga.

Having eased to a six-wickets win with 10 balls to spare in their opener against Switzerland, National Counties then needed a nerveless innings from Wales NC and Glamorgan batter Tom Bevan to get them home in a tense finish against Malta. 

Hinley played an excellent aggressive supporting role with 27 from eight balls in a fifth wicket partnership of 59 with Bevan, and National Counties were helped by being awarded five penalty runs because of Malta’s tardy over rate.

National Counties then maintained their unbeaten start with emphatic victories over Cyprus and Romania. 

The team routed Cyprus by eight wickets in their first match of the day on Tuesday, and then shone under the floodlights by beating Romania by seven wickets. 

National Counties then suffered a shock eight-wickets defeat against Switzerland, but Berkshire seamer Toby Greatwood then took a hat-trick in the Group E final.