Abbots Langley have been one of the more frequent finalists in the Watford Observer Fourteen14 Shield yet the ultimate prize had always eluded them.

The club had never lifted the trophy in their six previous final appearances, but seven was indeed a lucky number last night when they comfortably beat neighbours and holders Kings Langley to triumph by five wickets in the 50th anniversary final at Chipperfield Clarendon’s ground.

It fell to Simon Hamilton to strike the winning run off the second delivery of the 12th over as Abbots crossed the winning line with 22 balls to spare, yet this victory was essentially constructed in the field.

Captain Michael Burgess’ decision to field after winning the toss in the final of the 14, eight-ball over event appeared something of a gamble – previous finals have shown it can be difficult to chase as the light deteriorates – but it was rewarded handsomely by the performance of his teammates.

The fact Abbots needed three figures to win was only due to an expensive final over costing 21 runs; prior to that a tight bowling display had been supported by good fielding and some poor shot selection as Kings’ hold on the trophy was all but ended before it was their turn to bowl.

Matt Dunstone, much to his clear surprise but pleasure, was named man-of-the-match for setting the tone of what followed with good figures of 1-17 off four overs. But the wicket that fell in his first over was down to the sharp work of Anish Khiroya, who ran out Harry Sambrook (0) with a direct hit.

Although Kings’ progress to 26-1 after five overs wasn’t rapid, a couple of boundaries from Simon Walker had suggested the innings could be accelerated.

But the opener was to perish for 19 off the first ball of the sixth over, caught by Will Graves off a rather high-looking Matt Parkins (1-25 off three) full toss, and the game was to increasingly turn in their opponents’ favour.

Dunstone was rewarded in his final permitted over, the seventh, when Paul Ashford (2) presented David Cleary with a simple catch to make it 38-3, before Nick Gurney was introduced and turned the screw even further.

Although the spinner’s third ball was wide – costing four runs under competition rules – he trapped Liberty Maher (0) leg before wicket before bowling Varman Ratnakunaran also for a duck two deliveries later.

Two wickets in three balls became three in four for Gurney off the first ball of the 10th when Ben Joyce (0) picked out Graves to leave Kings in deep trouble at 51-6.

Number three David Burnell was still in at the other end though, with it looking increasingly likely he would have to bat through the remainder of the innings if his side were to make it to three figures. But when he was bowled by Khiroya (1-18 off three), trying to give himself some room, the chances of that happening were fading first.

But Gurney (3-37 off 4) was to spoil his figures in the final over - when normal cricket rules apply regarding wides - delivering two to turn it into a 10-ball over.

In tandem with Tom Clark (7 not out), captain Christian James (22 not out) tried to push on and three fours helped add 21 to the total in that last over to see Kings close on 99-7.

The total didn’t look enough – and the manner of Abbots’ subsequent victory served to underline that – but it at least gave Kings some hope as the theme of low-scoring contests in the latter stages of this year’s competition continued.

Although Gurney (1) was bowled by Ratnakunaran in the second over, David Cleary and Jack Read came together, with the latter looking in good touch as he struck three fours in two overs to help put his side aside ahead of the chase.

Abbots’ cause was further aided when the first delivery of Sambrook’s first over, the fifth, cost eight wides, two deliveries later he dismissed Read (17) to a tame caught and bowled before new batsman Matt Parkins ‘scored’ a six off the last ball due to four overthrows.

When Parkins (7) was adjudged to have edged Joyce (1-17 off 2) behind in the next over to leave Abbots 52-3, the door was briefly ajar for their opponents if they could have taken more quick wickets.

But with Cleary well set at one end, captain Burgess was confident from the outset as the pair set about seeing their side over the finishing line.

The pair were untroubled in putting on 42 for the fourth wicket, but there was to be a late twist as Cleary (30) was caught behind off Andrew Burnell (2-6 off 1) and two balls later he bowled Burgess (26).

It mattered little to the outcome though, as Hamilton struck the first ball he faced for four before adding a single to start the celebrations as Abbots became the 17th club to add their name to the competition’s roll of honour.