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Schmulian leads Woodlands to play-off glory with magnificent final century

Schmulian leads Woodlands to play-off glory with magnificent final century


Brad Schmulian said he was determined to make it third time lucky for Woodlands in the Yorkshire Premier Leagues Play-Off final and he certainly delivered on his pre-match words with an unbeaten century as they cruised to a nine-wicket win over Appleby Frodingham at Headingley.

After making exactly 100 not out, taking 3-41 with his leg spin and exacting a direct hit run out, it was no surprise when he was named player of the match as Woodlands finally got their hands on the White Rose Trophy.

The agony of narrow defeats to Sheriff Hutton Bridge in 2019 and Castleford last year had made Woodlands ever more determined to make this their year.

This was the one trophy missing from their impressive honours list and when Schmulian raised it aloft it crowned a glorious finale to their season.

As his team celebrated with their spectators after the game, a beaming Schmulian said:” Who would have thought six weeks ago that we would end up winning three trophies. First, we won the T20, then the league and now this.

“I could not be prouder of my team. We kept believing even when New Farnley were ahead of us in the league. We just kept believing, and after winning the league we then had the opportunity to take part in the play-offs.

“Getting to Headingley and winning after two near misses has been our goal, and I am so proud we have been able to do it.”

Just like Sheriff Hutton and Castleford before them, Woodlands arrived in the play-offs with momentum which is so important. This was their 14th straight win and one they will savour for some time.

Thanks to Schmulian, Woodlands won the game with 20.3 overs to spare, and their margin of victory was the biggest in the six-year history of the play-offs.

The only thing that Schmulian did wrong all day was lose the toss. The pessimists among the Woodlands fans may have feared it was a bad omen as they lost the toss on their previous Headingley appearances and had to bowl first.

Appleby Frodingham started steadily against the new ball with openers Alex Grimes and Jordan Cook putting together a stand of 47.

Chris Brice applied the brakes to the scoring and took three vital wickets. Picture: Ray Spencer

They looked to be building the foundation for a score of over 200, but the game was to change with the introduction of spinner Chris Brice.

First, he slowed the scoring rate and then he lured Cook down the wicket to have him smartly stumped by Greg Finn.

South African Jordan Neil has been in outstanding form this season and he had moved to 16 when he hit a full toss from Brice straight to Kez Ahmed to make it 79-2.

It was a big blow for the Yorkshire Cricket Southern Premier League champions and when Kieran Lindley was caught behind off Brice, they were 92-3.

The pressure was building on the batsman and a brilliant pick up and direct hit throw from Schmulian removed Jack Harrison to make it 109-4.

Brice completed his 15 overs with figures of 3-33 and his success was backed up by fellow spinners Schmulian and Ahmed as the Appleby Frodingham innings faltered. Drew Sylvester was caught and bowled by Ahmed before Schmulian trapped Simon Taylor lbw to make it 124-6.

Alex Grimes battled hard for his 59 but nobody was able to give him support. Picture: Ray Spencer

Skipper Alex Grimes who had batted patiently for his 59 was stumped by Finn to give Schmulian his second wicket as he tried in vain to force the pace.

Schmulian bowled Kieran Watson and Mattie Harris was run out before the 50 overs expired with Appleby Frodingham 150-9.

Schmulian (3-41) and Ahmed (1-29) backed up the good work of Brice in an Appleby Frodingham innings that saw only 11 boundaries hit.

That figure was in stark contrast to the six and 13 fours Schmulian hit as he became only the third player to score a century in a play-off final and the first to do it at Headingley.

In full flow. Brad Schmulian produced another outstanding innings. Picture: Ray Spencer

Appleby Frodingham might have thought they were in with a shout when Neil removed Sam Frankland, caught and bowled for two, but that brought in Schmulian, and the Kiwi soon made his intentions clear.

Tim Jackson shared in a stand of 146 Picture: Ray Spencer

A sumptuous cover drive was the sign of things to come. While Tim Jackson accumulated quietly and provided solid support, Schmulian unfurled a succession of fine shots.

He raced to his 50 from 43 balls and went on to make his century from 94, just before Jackson struck the winning boundary as he finished 41 not out. Together Jackson and Schmulian added 146 for the second wicket which is a record for any wicket in a play-off final.

 Schmulian will head home for New Zealand on Tuesday a happy man. This was mission accomplished and another top-quality performance from an outstanding player.

Brad Schmulian with the player of the match award Picture: Ray Spencer

Brad Schmulian lifts the White Rose Trophy aloft Picture: Ray Spencer

The Woodlands team celebrate their victory - back from left: Connie Pearson (scorer), Muhammad Bilal, Greg Finn,  Liam Collins, Tom Clee, Elliot Richardson, Sam Frankland. Front: Kieran Collins, Chris Brice, Kez Ahmed, Brad Schmulian, Scott Richardson, Tim Jackson. Picture: Ray Spencer


Final Picture Gallery

Yorkshire Premier Leagues Play-Off Records

The two teams observed a one-minute silence in honour of Queen Elizabeth II


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