The batting power of Radlett proved too strong for Abbots Langley as the Cobden Hill side secured an emphatic nine-wicket victory to lift the Watford Observer Fourteen14 Shield tonight.
Abbots’ total of 141 for four at Chipperfield Clarendon’s ground looked on the light side, unless they were able to take early wickets, and so it proved as openers Joe Cooke and Joe Armitage had their side ahead of the run chase from the outset, paving the way for man-of-the-match Shane Burger to once again demonstrate his class to wrap up the win with 21 balls to spare.
This was Radlett’s second appearance in the final and they maintained their 100 record in the climax to the competition following their 2011 triumph. For Abbots though, this was their fifth crack at the final hurdle and the fifth time the Shield has eluded them.
After Langley skipper Matt Dunstone had won the toss and elected to bat in his side’s first final appearance since 2004, Ben Balmforth and Peter Metcalfe laid a solid platform for the rest of the order to build on.
The openers kept the scoreboard ticking over but they didn’t enjoy a really strong over with the exception of the third when Neil Lederman conceded 16 as Metcalfe and Balmforth struck a boundary apiece.
Metcalfe was the first batsman to fall in the ninth over when he fell for 25, bowled by Ben Lederman with the score of 59.
Ben Lederman (two for 27 off three overs) then removed Balmforth (29) leg before wicket in his next over to leave Abbots on 70 for two in the ninth over – still in need of adding some impetus to their innings to set a really challenging total.
Number three Jimmy Davies did his best, making 48 before he fell in the last over, while Michael Burgess (22) struck Langley’s only six during a third-wicket alliance of 61, with the pair predominantly responsible for putting on 43 in the last three overs.
Although he finished wicket-less, the pick of the Radlett attack was Burger, who conceded only 20 runs from his four, eight-ball overs.
Radlett made their intentions clear from the outset as Armitage hit Dunstone (nought for 26 off three) over the top. Eleven without loss off the first over soon became 32 for nought off two from Steve Wallis’ sole over (nought for 20 off one). From that point, Radlett never looked back.
Armitage (28) struck another maximum but Cooke was also looking in excellent touch as the pair carried their side to 66 without loss before the former was caught by Davies going for one shot too many off the bowling of Nick Gurney (one for 41 off four) to leave the score at 70 for one off six overs.
Cooke (34 not out) looked in good shape to make his half-century but he increasingly had to play the supporting role as Burger took centre stage, mixing one and twos with some fine boundary shots.
Any slim hope Abbots had was ended in the tenth over when Buger cracked Gurney for three fours in four balls before launching the spinner for a six as 111 for one quickly turned to 131 for one.
And fittingly it was the Radlett number three who brought the scores level with another four before securing the win in the most empahtic way possible by launching Ibby Usman into the trees (nought for 10 off 0.3 overs) to finish undefeated on 56.