|The player of Pudsey St Lawrence and Great Ayton with umpires Steve Malone and Nick Oddy
©Ray Spencer The All Rounder Cricket Bradford Premier League
Yorkshire Premier League play-off semi final
Pudsey St Lawrence are off to Abu Dhabi to contest the first Yorkshire Premier League Championship final after a thrilling seven-run win over Great Ayton at Headingley.
They held their nerve in a tense finale to set upo a clash with The All Rounder Yorkshire Premier League South champions Wakefield Thornes who beat Harrogate by three wickets at Scarborough.
Both teams will now travel to Abu Dhabi on October 22 for the day night final at the magnificent Zayed Stadium on October 27.
Pudsey St Lawrence skipper James Smith said: "I am still struggling to take in what we have achieved. Just playing at Headingley has been an unforgetable experience.
"This shows what a wonderful concept Premier League cricket is. We realise that this is a 'once in a lifetime opportunity for us'.
"It is an experience we may never have again so we want to savour it. I am just pleased that we have seized the opportunity to play in the first final and experience playing in Abu Dhabi.
"It is just amazing and it was a great game. Great Ayton will be disappointed but they made us fight all the way. It has been a great day."
The match was a real nail-biting contest throughout. Great Ayton struck two early blows after St Lawrence won the toss and chose to bat first. Lewis Harper removed both Adam Waite and Matthew Duce to reduce the Saints to 38-2.
Mark Robertshaw, so often the rock that St Lawrence build their innings on, held firm and found an in-form partner in Barrie Frankland.
They gradually seized the initiative and moved the score on to 116 before Frankland aimed a wild shot at a ball from spinner Stephen Pennock and was bowled for 42.
His departure wwas ti precipitate a collapse. Skipper James Smith and Chris Marsden both surrendered tamely to spinner Tom Leng with poor shots.
At 129-5 St Lawrence were suddenly looking in danger of failing to post a challenging total. Thankfully, Tom Hudson played with good sense and helped Robertshaw keep the scoreboard ticking over before being dismissed for 25.
Robertshaw, who had played cslmly throughout, opened his shoulders to launch one six and brought out the ramp shot to move to 93 before attempting it again and being bowled by Harper (3-42). Robertshaw's innings contained one six and eight fours.
St Lawrence finished on 200-8 and realised they had been made to work hard for their runs against a Great Ayton attack which maintained good lines throughout.
The Great Ayton innings mirrored St Lawrence's almost every step of the way. Parth Patel and Harper both went cheaply as the North Yorkshire South Durham League side were reduced to 24-2.
Skipper Chris Batchelor didn't let the early wickets disturb him as he began to take the attack to the bowlers. The left hander was quick to punish anything off line and while he was at the wicket, Great Ayton were in with a great chance of winning.
Perhaps the most crucial spell of bowling in the entire match came from Chris Marsden. Clearly troubled by a knee injury, Marsden didn't let it affect his bowling as he bowled ten overs of off spin for just 18 runs.
It was clear that the slow bowlers were making it difficult for the batsmen to score and it was spinners Tom Hudson and Steve Watts who were to strike the blows which eventually proved decisive.
Batchelor, who hit a six and six fours in a superb innings of 87, was trapped lbw attempting to reverse sweep leg spinner Hudson.Watts followed up with two more wickets, but Great Ayton simply refused to lie down.
They kept taking the fight to St Lawrence and were left wanting 13 from the last over from Richie Lamb to win.
Lamb held his nerve and restricted them to just five.
St Lawrence celebrated their success with their supporters on a day when Yorkshire Premier League Cricket was the real winner.
|Mark Robertshaw on his way to top score of 93 for Pudsey St Lawrence
©Ray Spencer The All Rounder Cricket Bradford Premier Leagu