Woodlands edged out in final thriller

Adam Wood of Woodlands turns after a run
Adam Wood of Woodlands turns after a run

WOODLANDS second team suffered an agonising last-ball defeat to Keighley in a thrilling Sovereign Health Care Priestley Shield final at Farsley last Sunday.

Keighley had claimed three top flight scalps, including holders Gomersal, on their way to the final but when the Division Two side were reduced to 167-9 in reply to Woodlands total of 206-8 it appeared the Shield was on its way to Oakenshaw.

However, Richard Wood and Hammy Shahzad had other ideas and took the game towards a thrilling climax.

Shahzad hit Robert Medcalf for a six and a four at the start of the 46th over to give Keighley renewed hope of pulling off an unlikely win.

The final pair edged Keighley towards their target and by the start of the final over, they had reached 201 and wanted just six runs to win.

Elliott Richardson added to the drama by bowling a dot ball and restricted Keighley to singles from the next three deliveries before Shahzad levelled the scores with a two.

Woodlands knew a dot from the last ball would give them victory by virtue of losing fewer wickets and they brought everyone in to prevent the single only for Shahzad to clip the final delivery for four to spark celebrations among Keighley spectators.

Wood finished 35 not out and was named man-of-the -match by former England captain Ray Illingworth, while Shahzad ended 29 not out from just 18 balls.

Keighley’s innings had earlier been disrupted by two breaks for rain and although opener Paul Wilkinson (38) and Luke Chapman (34) made useful contributions it appeared Woodlands were on the brink of victory.

Medcalf claimed 4-50 including two wickets in successive balls in the 43rd over to dismiss Alex Towler and Dave Hall but although Rahat Shah chipped in with 3-36, Keighley’s last pair saw them to a thrilling win as they lifted the Shield for the first time since 1983.

Defeat was particularly harsh on Medcalf after he had earlier rescued his side’s innings with a half-century.

Medcalf hit a six and eight fours in a fine knock of 54 which enabled his side to recover from 108-5. He was well supported by Elliott Milnes (25) in 71-run sixth-wicket stand.

Liam Brearley was bowled by Shahzad for nought before captain Cieran Garner and Adam Wood built a decent partnership.

Garner hit 11 fours in an impressive innings of 54 while Wood supported with 35 before Steve Reape (3-32) sparked a collapse which saw Woodlands slide to 108-5.

Medcalf and Milnes led a spirited recovery as Woodlands closed on 206-8.

Although Woodlands thought they had one hand on the Shield, late heroics from Wood and Shahzad snatched it from their grasp in what was an excellent advert for second team cricket.

Although Woodlands were disappointed with their defeat, they still have a chance of silverware this season as they will meet fellow Bradford League side Baildon in the final of the Crowther Cup at Shepley on Bank Holiday Monday (August 27).

The previous day, East Bierley and Manningham Mills first teams lock horns in the final of the Sovereign Health Car Priestley Cup at Spen Victoria.