Hatfield & Crusaders on the brink of the title after nerve-jangling Bentley Heath win
PUBLISHED: 12:00 29 August 2018
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Hatfield & Crusaders stand on the verge on the SHCL Division Five A title after a thrilling one-wicket win over Bentley Heath sealed with just one ball to spare.
It means they need a solitary point from Saturday’s final game of the season away at St Albans 2nds to clinch the crown.
If they do, and it would be a huge shock if they didn’t, then this win will be remembered as a key moment.
The remaining two batsmen for the hosts, captain Gareth Wynne and Aman Sofat, needed 21 from the final two overs in rapidly-gathering gloom.
And with nerves jangling on the sideline, Sofat opened his shoulders and struck three powerful boundaries to restore some hope.
When he took a single in the final over, leaving three runs required from the final two deliveries, the chance to be the hero fell to the skipper and long-standing club legend Wynne.
And he delivered in style, unveiling a flamboyant pull shot in the near-total darkness to dispatch the ball to the fence.
The pair added a priceless 26 for the final wicket, Sofat finishing on 18 and Wynne six.
Bentley Heath had earlier won the toss and elected to bat but found Ian Golder in magnificent form with the new ball.
He took 3-18 in 10 unchanged overs and with Sofat (2-36) providing excellent support they had Heath at 55-5.
They recovered slightly to 103-5 but after a rain delay, Hatfield responded in style with three quick wickets, Wynne taking 2-27.
A late flurry got the visitors to 196-8 from 46 overs but the hosts still fancied their chances, something that hadn’t changed as they raced to 105-1, heath Bond smashing an impressive 64.
A mini-collapse followed and although Deepak Hasiza stemmed the flow of wickets with a determined knock of 39, an excellent spell of 4-25 from Francis had H&C teetering on 172-9.
Thankfully for them though there was still the late drama to come.
The seconds fell to a two-wicket defeat at Old Elizabethans, Ben Pulham hitting 56 and Yasir Shafi claiming 3-22, and a pleasing season for the thirds ended in a disappointing defeat at Stevenage.