Hertfordshire upset Cardiff Met in BUCS cricket finals
PUBLISHED: 11:38 27 February 2017 | UPDATED: 11:38 27 February 2017
The University of Hertfordshire indoor cricket team caused an upset as they took part in the BUCS Super 8 Finals day for the first time.
The side from Hatfield were unlucky not to progress from the group stage, but did claim a major scalp in the competition at Headingley for the best eight university indoor teams in the UK.
Competing at this stage for the first time in their history, Herts knew they would enter as underdogs.
However, with the format the same as the semi-finals in Cardiff, anything was possible with this group.
The first group game at Headingley Indoor Cricket Centre saw Herts bowl first against a strong Sheffield Hallam side.
Herts made a good start and picked up regular wickets, including a fine one-handed catch by keeper Youngs off the bowling of Gonzalez, to leave Sheffield in trouble at 60-5.
Sheffield were let slightly off the hook though and managed to set Herts a competitive total of 88.
In reply, Herts got off to a quick start, but the loss of both openers in quick succession put Sheffield in the driving seat.
Rosson (21) and Jhala (14) came together and put on a promising stand to take Herts past 50, but both soon fell just as it appeared as though Herts had gained the momentum.
As the 10 overs were completed, Herts scraped up to 77 and were beaten by 11 runs.
Herts went into the next game against Cardiff Met feeling as though they had nothing to lose.
With Cardiff Met an MCCU institution, they were one of the favourites to lift the title.
Skipper Jhala picked up an injury in the first game so Youngs took charge as Herts were asked to field first.
Cardiff put on an indoor batting master class for the first six overs, where they managed to gobble up 82 runs.
Suhalka was handed the ball and gave Herts some inspiration when they most needed it, taking two wickets in two balls and effecting a run-out with the following delivery.
This team hat-trick changed the dynamic of the game and Cardiff finished on 124 from their 10 overs when it looked as though they would score many more.
Youngs and Ahmed played freely in response to the big total and when Youngs retired in the fourth over, Herts were motoring along towards 50.
Ahmed (16) soon fell, leaving William (18) and Rosson to continue the chase towards this unlikely total.
Herts once again lost two quick wickets leaving Eva and the returning Youngs to see what they could achieve in the last three overs.
With two overs remaining, Youngs (30) was run-out leaving Eva to continue as last man standing.
Eva stroked the ball to all parts of the hall and the boundary as Herts went into the last over requiring 11 runs to pull off the biggest upset of the Championships.
Nerves were high on the boundary edge, but Eva (36no) continued on his merry way as Herts clinched victory from the final delivery, sparking wild scenes from all players and spectators.
It was a truly remarkable run chase which amazingly left Herts with a chance to qualify for the semi-finals.
The final game of the group stage saw Herts face Northumbria, who had won both of their two game.
Herts were asked to bat first and again made a good start in what was a must win fixture.
After their 10 overs, Herts had reached a competitive 104 with Ahmed (61) blazing his way to a half century aided by the man of the moment Eva (16).
Northumbria approached the chase steadily and going into the final two overs, the game was set in the balance with 18 runs required.
The Northumbria batsmen kept composed and crossed the line with two balls to spare.
This result meant that Herts, Sheffield Hallam and Cardiff Met had all recorded one victory in the group stage and therefore qualification to the semi-finals would be decided by net run-rate.
Unfortunately, Herts narrowly missed out and Cardiff Met were the beneficiaries of this rule.
Nevertheless, it had been an outstanding day for the Herts squad who had not only competed in every game, they had managed to deservedly beat an MCCU institution.
It has been a remarkable achievement by Herts across this indoor campaign and it should not be forgotten that this feat had never previously been reached by a University of Hertfordshire team.
Every player (and coach Jon Mather) should be immensely proud of what they have achieved and this indoor season should be remembered and celebrated for years to come.