Division Two side Keighley scored a thrilling one-wicket win over Woodlands at Farsley today to lift the Sovereign Health Care Priestley Shield for the first time since 1983.
Keighley seemed down and out when Robert Medcalf dismissed Alex Towler and Dave Hall in successive ball to reduce them to 167-9 with 6.1 overs to go.
Woodlands’ score of 206-8 looked to be out of reach, but last-wicket pair Richard Wood and Hammy Shahzad had other ideas.
Shahzad was quick to show his intentions in the 46th over when he hit Medcalf’s first two balls for a six and a four.
All of a sudden Keighley’s supporters started to believe that victory was a possibility and with Wood using all of his considerable experience, the last-wicket pair seized the initiative with some sensible cricket.
The target was whittled down to just six from the final over. No runs came from Elliott Richardson’s first ball, but singles came from the next three balls before Shahzad leveled the scores with a two.
With all of the fielders in close to prevent the single, Shahzad clipped the final ball of the game through the legside for four to spark wild scenes of celebrations.
Wood, who was named man of the match by former Yorkshire and England captain Ray Illingworth, finished 35no, while Shahzad ended 29 not out from just 18 balls.
Their unbeaten partnership of 43 had turned the game on its head and brought an absorbing match to a thrilling climax.
Until Wood and Shahzad’s intervention the Keighley innings looked to be petering out. Two breaks for rain didn’t help their cause, but they won’t worry about that now.
Opener Paul Wilkinson (38) and Luke Chapman (34) made useful contributions but departed when their side needed to up the tempo.
Medcalf (4-50) and Rahat Shah (3-36) checked Keighley’s progress until the wily Wood and the uninhibited Shahzad delivered their devastating counter punch.
The Woodlands players looked shell shocked as they left the field. Nobody was more crestfallen than the admirable Medcalf.
In addition to his four wickets he had earlier rescued his side’s innings with a well-crafted half-century when it was in danger of falling apart.
He hit a six and eight fours in a fine knock of 54 which enabled his side to recover from 108-5 to post a score of 206-8. He was well supported by Elliott Milnes (25) in a sensible sixth-wicket stand of 71.
Until Medcalf and Milnes came together, Woodlands looked in danger of squandering the good work of their skipper Cieran Garner and Adam Wood.
Coming together after opener Liam Brearley had been bowled by Shahzad for nought, they seized the initiative.
Garner struck 11 fours in his knock of 54 while Wood made 35 before Steve Reape (3-32) sparked a collapse which saw Woodland slide to 108-5.
Medcalf and Milnes led a spirited recovery, but a final total of 206-8 looked below par on a perfect Farsley wicket and so it proved even if the subsequent rain slowed the outfield and affected run scoring in the Keighley innings.
Keighley didn’t let the two short rain breaks disturb their concentration and their victory was a triumph for persistence.
The dramatic finish crowned what was a memorable day. Farsley proved to be an excellent stage for the match and the player of both sides produced a contest that was a fitting advert for JCT600 Bradford League cricket,