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Bushey beat Kings Langley to reach the Watford Observer Fourteen14 Plate Final
Bushey squeezed into the Watford Observer Fourteen14 Plate final by the narrowest of margins, beating Kings Langley by just two runs after a dramatic final over.
A flurry of late wickets – including several careless run-outs as Kings chased down Bushey’s total – looked to have put Bushey in the driving seat but Richard Whitlock and Josh Oldham did their bit to ensure an entertaining end to the contest at Watford Town's Woodside home.
Having won the toss, Bushey elected to make first use of the wicket, with openers Chandan Sharma (44) and Shahid Ashraf (34) building a good partnership as the runs flowed early on.
Matt Wells (none for 40) and Andrew Burnell (two for 28) struggled to get to grips with the pair, who hit an array of excellent shots, each chalking up a number of boundaries - the highlight a big six from Ashraf.
It was Ashraf who fell first, though, caught and bowled by Burnell during a economical over which saw him concede four runs off of just two deliveries.
At 70 for one, Bushey were well on their way to a competitive total when Mikey Foley (15) came to the crease and put on a partnership of 31 with Sharma before the latter was run out off the bowling of Christian James, despite some poor handling in the field.
A combination of the loss of their openers and the introduction of Christian James (three for 36) saw the Bushey run-rate slow noticeably.
Lakhmir Singh (5) wasted little time in getting in on the run-scoring act but paid the price when he was run out almost immediately after.
On 115 for three, Bushey faltered once more as Foley was caught off James with just two runs added to the total.
Naren Gogna (nine) joined Neil Jackson (nine) at the crease briefly, hitting a big four prior to being caught deep off the bowling of James as he chased another boundary.
Imran Mustafa was then bowled for a golden duck before 15-year-old Sulaymaan Ahmed Jnr (four). showed composure beyond his years to help Bushey to a total of 150 for seven.
The Kings Langley innings got off to a faltering start when opener Tom Sanbrook was caught driving down the wicket by Jackson off the bowling of Farouq Hameed (three for 30) Opening partner Paul Ashford (38) did his bit to drag the Kings’ score up and could twice have lost Harry Sandbrook (4) before Hameed bowled him to leave Kings on 37 for two.
Simon Walker was next to partner Ashford but made just one run before being removed leg before wicket by Ashraf (three for 43).
Struggling on 46 for three, Burnell (37) announced his arrival in style, scoring four from his first delivery and only a superb left-handed stop from Mustafa denied the all-rounder another score with the next ball.
Having impressed with the bat, Ahmed Jnr. continued his composed showing in the field, scurrying around the field to prevent a smart Burnell shot reaching the boundary.
After a slow start, Kings were enjoying a more profitable spell with the bat; Ashford adding to his total with two quick fours, the second a smart sweep across the leg-side.
Just as Kings looked to have settled, Ashford was dismissed, leaving his side on 79 for four.
Christian James (11) joined Burnell at the crease and the pair combined to ease Kings to 107 after ten overs.
Kings Langley were living dangerously as they chased the required runs, with Dharmin Naih coming within a whisker of taking a catch and Jackson seeing a smart run out attempt thwarted before Foley caught James off of a Hameed delivery.
With the number of overs running out, the loss of Burnell - caught deep by Foley off a full toss from Hameed - left Kings eight short of the win with an over left.
Matt Wells (2) and R.Clark (1) were both run out in quick succession, leaving Whitlock (3) and Oldham (1) needing seven from five balls to seal Kings’ place in the Plate final.
Wicketkeeper Sharma hesitated when the opportunity to stump presented itself, leaving Kings needing four from the final ball. A single followed, confirming Bushey’s place in the Plate final.