It was a final in which neither side was able to claim the upper hand for long until the very end but Dave Tyson’s control and experience was to prove key as Leverstock Green got the better of Bushey by 12 runs to win the Watford Observer Fourteen14 Plate tonight.
The Green stalwart was awarded the man-of-the-match award after his four-wicket haul finally helped swing a captivating final at Met Police Bushey’s Aldenham Road ground in his team’s favour, although the destiny of the trophy remained very much in the balance until the closing stages.
In a final in which the batsmen struggled to make any real impact, Levvy’s innings of 114 for nine – amended from an initial total of 110 for nine after a four-run wide under competition rules at the end of the fourth over had not been picked up by those scoring – looked markedly short of a challenging total.
Within five overs of their reply though, Bushey were in real trouble at 25 for four, only for captain Lakhmir Singh to seemingly turn the tide back in his side’s favour as he wasted little time in hitting a boundary-heavy 30.
Had Singh continued in a similar vein for a couple of overs more, he would probably have made the decisive contribution. But the skipper edged a delivery from his opposite number Sam Mazurek behind to wicketkeeper Richard Walker, who had a good night behind the stumps, to make it 70 for five before the Green captain turned to Tyson.
He immediately pinned down Neil Jackson (16), bowling seven consecutive dot balls before the Bushey batsman was caught off the final delivery of Tyson’s wicket-maiden opening over to open the door to what had looked like an unlikely win after his side had batted.
Imran Mustafa briefly raised his side’s hopes again with a couple of boundaries in the 11th over off Mazurek before Tyson struck twice again, removing Nomaan Ilyas, via a sharp caught and bowled chance for a duck, before also accounting for Mustafa (9).
Fittingly, Tyson also claimed the final wicket as Bushey were dismissed for 102. An hour-and-a-half beforehand though, his side’s prospects hadn’t looked so bright.
Mazurek’s decision to bat after winning the toss was the right call on a track that looked set to favour the batsmen. Openers Nick Merrett (10) and Kyle Claxton (21) got off to a steady start as Levvy reached 43 for two by the end of the fifth over, only for something rather unusual to happen.
It is relatively unusual to see a maiden in the Watford Observer format of the game – it was to Tyson’s credit that he was to take a wicket having not conceded off eight deliveries later in the match – but for a team not to score off two consecutive overs is very rare.
But that is what happened to Marc Simonds (13) and Lewis Koch (1) at the midway point of their side’s innings as they got tied down by Shahid Ashraf and Farook Hameed at a time when the batsmen would have hoped to inject some impetus.
After both had fallen, Kris Jadeja (27) and Tyson (17) did manage to build some momentum before the latter was needlessly run out in the 13th over as a flurry of Green wickets fell at the end of their innings.
Ultimately though, it was their opponents who were unable to capitalise on what had looked a great opportunity to lift some silverware at the halfway stage of the contest.