The margin of victory was perhaps closer than it should have been but Leverstock Green A held their nerve in the final over to beat Watford Town A by five runs and win the Watford Observer Fourteen14 Plate last night.

Having set a total of 141-9 from their 14, eight-ball overs in the final at Abbots Langley’s ground, Green looked to be in control until expensive 11th and 12th overs costing a combined 37 runs gave Town renewed hope.

A further 10 runs off the penultimate eight deliveries meant Watford needed 13 from the final over to lift the trophy, although 12 would have been sufficient due to losing fewer wickets.

Abbas Ali had not bowled in the match but he was entrusted with the responsibility of the final over. A single, a wide and a four from the first four deliveries boosted Watford’s prospects, leaving them requiring seven from the last five balls.

The victory may well have been achieved had captain Obbad Shahid remained in the middle. Having struck that boundary to move to 38 though, the Town skipper was bowled by Ali off the next delivery.

New batsman Sohail Khan (1 not out) ran a single to leave Watford needing six off three balls, but Ali held his line and delivered what his team required with two dot balls before uprooting Ajinkya Gothoskar’s (12) stumps with the final delivery of the match to clinch victory.

While Green were able to celebrate, their opponents were left to ponder what might have been. And if they were looking for reasons why they lost the match, the extras column was a good place to start.

One aspect that makes the Watford Observer cricket competitions different is that any wides bowled in the first 13 overs of an innings cost four runs. Town conceded nine of these, five of which came in successive deliveries in a very unusual third over of the match that saw 21 runs conceded by Usman Ahmed (0-33) with only one scored off the bat, enabling Green to ease to 42-0 without too much work.

Ahmed’s shortcomings also undermined the efforts of teammate Anup Vyas, who bowled with fine control and was rewarded with excellent figures of 3-18 from his four overs, winning him the man of the match award.

Vyas accounted for Mahela Wijayalath (4) in the fourth over, got Nahim Iqbal (8) to edge behind in the sixth and then switched ends to end a quick-fire 38 from Charlie Mahanama when he was caught by Gunjan Hazarika.

The arrival of Mahanama had seen Green accelerate their scoring, moving from 66-3 at the end of the seventh to 112-3 in the next three overs.

Captain Lewis Koch played a supporting role in that fourth-wicket partnership of 50. He was to top score with 40 before becoming the first of three wickets taken by Ali Mitru (3-28) in the final over, with five falling in the last 10 deliveries of the innings.

Although Green would have liked a few more on the board, the total increasingly looked being more than enough as Imran Iqbal (3-37) and Adam Thomas (2-26) restricted Town to 49-3 by the midway point of their reply.

Koch (0-48) came in for some punishment in the eighth, as Mitru looked to up the rate with a four followed by successive maximums.

Green still looked to be in control though, until Shahid – first with Haseeb Khan (12) and then Gothoskar – attacked Mahanama (0-15) and Imran Iqbal in overs 11 and 12.

It helped set up a nervy finish but Green, and particularly Ali, held theirs to secure victory.