Hatfield & Crusaders on the brink of the title after nerve-jangling Bentley Heath win

PUBLISHED: 12:00 29 August 2018

Najib Haroon survives a shout from lain Golder in the match between Hatfield & Crusaders and Bentley Heath. Picture: DANNY LOO

Najib Haroon survives a shout from lain Golder in the match between Hatfield & Crusaders and Bentley Heath. Picture: DANNY LOO

©2018 Danny Loo Photography - all rights reserved

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.

Sam Edge prepares to bowl in the match between Hatfield & Crusaders and Bentley Heath. Picture: DANNY LOOSam Edge prepares to bowl in the match between Hatfield & Crusaders and Bentley Heath. Picture: DANNY LOO

It means they need a solitary point from Saturday’s final game of the season away at St Albans 2nds to clinch the crown.

Najib Haroon faces a delivery from Sam Edge in the match between Hatfield & Crusaders and Bentley Heath. Picture: DANNY LOONajib Haroon faces a delivery from Sam Edge in the match between Hatfield & Crusaders and Bentley Heath. Picture: DANNY LOO

If they do, and it would be a huge shock if they didn’t, then this win will be remembered as a key moment.

Hatfield & Crusaders in the field in the match between Hatfield & Crusaders and Bentley Heath. Picture: DANNY LOOHatfield & Crusaders in the field in the match between Hatfield & Crusaders and Bentley Heath. Picture: DANNY LOO

The remaining two batsmen for the hosts, captain Gareth Wynne and Aman Sofat, needed 21 from the final two overs in rapidly-gathering gloom.

lain Golder bowls in the match between Hatfield & Crusaders and Bentley Heath. Picture: DANNY LOOlain Golder bowls in the match between Hatfield & Crusaders and Bentley Heath. Picture: DANNY LOO

And with nerves jangling on the sideline, Sofat opened his shoulders and struck three powerful boundaries to restore some hope.

lain Golder bowls in the match between Hatfield & Crusaders and Bentley Heath. Picture: DANNY LOOlain Golder bowls in the match between Hatfield & Crusaders and Bentley Heath. Picture: DANNY LOO

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.

lain Golder bowls in the match between Hatfield & Crusaders and Bentley Heath. Picture: DANNY LOOlain Golder bowls in the match between Hatfield & Crusaders and Bentley Heath. Picture: DANNY LOO

And he delivered in style, unveiling a flamboyant pull shot in the near-total darkness to dispatch the ball to the fence.

lain Golder bowls in the match between Hatfield & Crusaders and Bentley Heath. Picture: DANNY LOOlain Golder bowls in the match between Hatfield & Crusaders and Bentley Heath. Picture: DANNY LOO

The pair added a priceless 26 for the final wicket, Sofat finishing on 18 and Wynne six.

lain Golder bowls in the match between Hatfield & Crusaders and Bentley Heath. Picture: DANNY LOOlain Golder bowls in the match between Hatfield & Crusaders and Bentley Heath. Picture: DANNY LOO

Bentley Heath had earlier won the toss and elected to bat but found Ian Golder in magnificent form with the new ball.

Ollie Hubbard faces a delivery from Sam Edge in the match between Hatfield & Crusaders and Bentley Heath. Picture: DANNY LOOOllie Hubbard faces a delivery from Sam Edge in the match between Hatfield & Crusaders and Bentley Heath. Picture: DANNY LOO

He took 3-18 in 10 unchanged overs and with Sofat (2-36) providing excellent support they had Heath at 55-5.

Najib Haroon runs between the wicket the match between Hatfield & Crusaders and Bentley Heath. Picture: DANNY LOONajib Haroon runs between the wicket the match between Hatfield & Crusaders and Bentley Heath. Picture: DANNY LOO

They recovered slightly to 103-5 but after a rain delay, Hatfield responded in style with three quick wickets, Wynne taking 2-27.

Sam Edge prepares to bowl in the match between Hatfield & Crusaders and Bentley Heath. Picture: DANNY LOOSam Edge prepares to bowl in the match between Hatfield & Crusaders and Bentley Heath. Picture: DANNY LOO

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.

Najib Haroon gets back into his crease in the match between Hatfield & Crusaders and Bentley Heath. Picture: DANNY LOONajib Haroon gets back into his crease in the match between Hatfield & Crusaders and Bentley Heath. Picture: DANNY LOO

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.

Ollie Hubbard faces a delivery from Sam Edge in the match between Hatfield & Crusaders and Bentley Heath. Picture: DANNY LOOOllie Hubbard faces a delivery from Sam Edge in the match between Hatfield & Crusaders and Bentley Heath. Picture: DANNY LOO

Thankfully for them though there was still the late drama to come.

Hatfield & Crusaders in the field in the match between Hatfield & Crusaders and Bentley Heath. Picture: DANNY LOOHatfield & Crusaders in the field in the match between Hatfield & Crusaders and Bentley Heath. Picture: DANNY LOO

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.

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