Watford Town A avenged last year’s Watford Observer Fourteen14 Plate final defeat at the hands of Watford Grammar School for Boys with a 20-run semi-final victory last night to set up a trophy showdown with Leverstock Green A.

The Rickmansworth Road school side had been hoping to reach back-to-back finals and move within one more victory of a fifth title in eight years, but they come up second best as Town comfortably defended their total of 152-4 from their 14, eight-ball overs at Abbots Langley’s ground.

Town will now return to the Manor House Ground on Thursday to face Green in the final of the competition for the eight sides who were knocked out in the first round of the main Shield event.

The foundations for the victory were laid by a 98-run first-wicket partnership between Syed Ali and Jigar Shah as their opponents were left to rue not capitalising on their opportunities.

Town won the toss and elected to bat but they should have been a wicket down off the final delivery of the mix up when a miscommunication between the two batsmen presented Grammar with a straightforward run-out opportunity, only for it to be squandered by a poor throw at the stumps.

It was a let-off the openers were to punish as, aided by 12 extras under the competition’s four runs for a wide rule, they moved to 51-0 by the end of the fourth over. However, the breaks continued to go in Town’s favour, with Shah dropped behind at the start of the third over before a bottom edge narrowly missed hitting his own stumps in the next over.

Grammar captain Luke Samarasinghe, so often the key figure in his side’s success in the competition, introduced his spin into proceedings and helped slow the scoring rate, only for Ali to hit Aushan Gosrani (0-41) for the only six of the innings as 18 runs came off the eighth over to lift the score to 89-0.

Ali (46) was looking set for his half-century, but fell four runs short in the ninth over when he was bowled by Samarasinghe, but Town were still continuing to build towards a good total.

Shah did reach his 50 in the 11th over, but perished to the next delivery he faced, stumped by Stephen Hussey off the bowling of James Dyson (1-32).

Samarasinghe (2-25) and Jack Doodson (1-50) took further wickets before the end of the innings, but Gunjan Hazarika’s unbeaten 25 helped see his side beyond 150.

Grammar’s start to their reply suggested they may be able to keep up with the chase as Samarasinghe and Doodson took the score to 31-0 by the end of the third over.

That remained the case by the midway point of the innings, with the school side not far behind at the corresponding stage of the match at 62-0 at the end of the seventh. Samarasinghe had scored a six in the fifth, but boundaries were otherwise in short supply as Town’s decision to operate with a spin attack was paying increasing dividends in protecting their position.

It was a position that was to improve even further in the next over when Samarasinghe (29), who would have been crucial had Grammar been able to accelerate in the second part of the innings, was bowled by Anup Vyas.

Opening partner Doodson almost batted through the innings, making 62 before he was run out off the third ball of the final over, but by the stage the final outcome was already clear.

Grammar closed on 132-4, a solid performance in the field by Town having largely restricted the Plate holders to singles and twos as they were unable to build any scoreboard pressure.

Thursday’s Plate final is due to start at 6.15pm, the same time as the Shield final 24 hours earlier when holders Abbots Langley will bid to successfully defend their title against Watford Haidery. Wednesday’s game will be played at West Herts’ Park Avenue ground.