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Schmulian and Ahmed seal final spot

Schmulian and Ahmed seal final spot

 

Brad Schmulian provided Woodlands with the perfect parting gift - a place in next Saturday's Yorkshire  Premier League Play-Off final at Emerald Headingley.

The Kiwi star flies home to New Zealand on Sunday morning having played another masterful innings to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat against the Yorkshire Cricket Southern Premier League champions Appleby Frodingham.

Brad Schmulian and Kez Ahmed leave the field fter their match-winning partnership Picture: Ray Spencer

Woodlands were in deep trouble at 112-8 when Schmulian found a match-winning ally in Kez Ahmed. They added 52 for the ninth wicket and secured a two wicket win.

Schmulian showed his class and experience in making an unbeaten 62, but he would be the first to acknowledge the outstanding role Ahmed played with his 29 not out.

Sadly for Woodlands, Schmulian will be back home in New Zealand when they take on the Yorkshire Premier League North champions Castleford who had an even more dramatic one run win over North Yorkshire South Durham title winners Richmondshire.

Woodlands will certainly miss a man who has topped this year's Premier Division batting averages in their biggest game of the season, but his absence may just act as an added spur to a side keen to erase the memory of their narrow defeat by Sheriff Hutton Bridge in the 2019 final.

The semi-final clash at Appleby Frodingham proved to be another test of Woodlands' resolve. The home side have enjoyed an outstanding season and they showed to all who watched the match that they are a talented outfit with a strong bowling attack.

Woodlands might have been content to bowl out Appleby Frodingham for 165, but they soon discovered that scoring runs against the home attack is not easy.

Schmulian had the patience and the resolve to do that. He took 92 balls making his 62 runs and only hit five fours, but crucially he stood firm when wickets were falling around him.

Woodlands lost three wickets for just three runs to Kieran Lindley (4-40) as they slipped to 32-3. With Paul Hilton (3-50) cranking up the pressure, Woodlands continued to lose wickets and defeat seemed the likely outcome.

Schmulian and Ahmed were in no mood to throw in the towel. They seized the initiative and saw their side home with 21 balls to spare.

When Woodlands reflect on the game they will also be pleased with their bowling effort. Muhammad Bilal (3-42) and Ahmed (3-48) were the chief wicket takers but Chris Brice (2-34) was key to keeping the scoring rate in check.

Jamar Ifill hits out for Appleby Frodingham during his knock of 55 Picture: Ray Spencer

Jamar Ifill, who hit three sixes and five fours while making a brisk 55, was the only batsman to score with some freedom for the home side after opener Alex Grimes made 30.

Final opponents Castleford featured in an even more dramatic finish.Chesney Hughes 8took two wickets with the final two balls of the game to secure a one run team for his side.

He removed Richmondshire's top scorer Matt Cowling for 65 before bowling Craig Marshall with the last delivery. It crowned an amazing finale to the game.

Richmondshire had needed seven to overhaul Castleford's  180-7 when Hughes started the final over. The first three balls failed to produce a single run before Cowling struck a four from the fourth delivery.

A wide took Richmondshire closer to their target, but Hughes was not to be denied. He claimed the key wicket of Cowling before striking the dramatic final blow.

Briggs was unquestionably the man of the match as t was his unbeaten 46 which enabled Castleford to make 180-7. Liam Hyde (38) and Chesney Hughes (33)  were the other main contributors.

Appleby Frodingham v Woodlands scorecard
Castleford v Richmondshire scorecard

Kez Ahmed attacks the bowling during his vital 29 not out. Picture: Ray Spencer

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