Matches against Radlett in the latter stages of the Watford Observer Fourteen14 Shield do not hold fond memories for Abbots Langley. The two teams met in the 2014 and 2015 finals and on both occasions it was the Cobden Hill club who came out on top to lift the trophy. But the tables were turned on Tuesday as Abbots won a close, low-scoring encounter by four wickets to reach their third final in five years.

Holders Kings Langley or Langleybury, who are due to meet in the second semi-final tomorrow, now stand in the way of Abbots and a first success in the limited overs event in what will be their seventh appearance in a final. Such was the close nature of the semi-final though, it could have been Radlett contemplating being one more win away from a fourth Shield success in eight years had they given themselves 10 or so more runs to work with.

After captain Navjot Sidhu had won the toss, Radlett started at a rate that would have seen them surpass 150 had they maintained it for the duration of their 14, eight-ball overs.

Openers Duncan Fraser (7) and top-scoring Chris Gallagher (32), who cracked a six and four fours, were both caught off the bowling of Anish Khiroya inside the opening four overs, but by the end of those 32 deliveries Radlett had reached 49-2.

Matt Parkins was then introduced by Abbots and although he got off to an inauspicious start – seeing his second delivery cost eight after a no ball had raced to the boundary – he responded by claiming the prize wicket of Kabir Toor (9) as Radlett progressed to 61-3 at the end of the fifth over. Only one further over in the innings was to cost 10 runs or more as Abbots turned the screw in the field.

Khiroya picked up two more wickets in the eighth wicket to finish with figures of 4-42, but it was Parkins who was arguably the pick of the Langley attack.

Taking away his eight no balls, the bowler conceded only 15 runs from his remaining 3.7 overs and was to claim a further wicket as the Radlett innings continued to falter at 87-6 by the end of the ninth over.

David Cleary was also to weigh in with 2-17 off his 2.7 overs as their opponents took until the 12th over to reach three figures, before their innings was ended for 118 when Rashed Zaman (4) was run out off the penultimate ball of the last over.

Needing a little over a run a ball for victory, openers Cleary and Parkins could afford to pace themselves as Sidhu opted to start with spinners Adil Zareef and Toor.

Abbots put on 24 before Cleary (8) became the first of Zareef’s (3-30 off 4) three victims, but his fellow opener looked in good form and sought to find the boundary where possible, including hitting Toor for six in the fourth over to advance the score for 36-1.

Nick Gurney (5) and Will Graves (8) were to perish before the end of the seventh over, and by the time Parkins was tamely caught and bowled for 30 by Zareef in the ninth over, the scoring rate had slowed leaving Abbots behind the chase.

Michael Burgess and Jack Bishop did what was required, scoring 25 off the next 16 balls, to put their side back in control, only for Toor (2-34 off 4) to respond by removing Bishop (19) and Lawrence Watson (0) in successive deliveries to make it 102-6 and leave Abbots needing 17 off the last 16 deliveries.

Another late wicket or two may have led to a different outcome, but Burgess (26 not out) was an assured presence in the middle and in unison with Matt Longworth (13 not out), the pair kept the scoreboard ticking over and demonstrated the composure required to secure victory with four balls remaining.