Castleford crowned Yorkshire champions after thrilling final
Castleford crowned their fantastic season when they triumphed in a closely contested Yorkshire Premier League Champions Play-offs final.
Up against Bradford League champions Woodlands in a game played at Yorkshire CCC’s Emerald Headingley, David Wainwright’s men kept their nerve to win by six runs and can now proudly call themselves the Yorkshire champions for the first time.
The Yorkshire Premier League North champions came through a nerve-jangling semi-final against Richmondshire the previous week and once again had to back themselves in a finish almost as close.
In ideal sunny cricket conditions, Woodlands looked to be falling well short of Castleford’s 241-9 total when they were reduced to 159-7, but their never say die approach kept the result in the balance right down to the final over.
Elliot Richardson (40) and Greg Finn (23) put on 64 for the eighth wicket and took their side to within 18 runs of the first innings score before the former was caught on the boundary by Brayden Clark off the bowling of 17-year-old Jack Young.
Finn suffered the same fate two runs later, again holing out, to Matthew Rees off Young.
This left last pair Kez Ahmed and Chris Brice with the task of scoring 17 from the final seven deliveries to win. Ahmed did hit a four from Young’s last ball to make it 13 wanted from the final over, to be delivered by Castleford last-over hero in the semi-final the previous week, Chesney Hughes.
One more boundary was hit by Ahmed, but three dot balls in the over did for Woodlands, who ended their 50 overs on 235-9.
Young proved the pick of the Castleford bowlers with figures of 5-54 that earned him the man of the match.
Castleford had earlier opted to bat first and made a strong start with their former county player, Hughes, leading the way.
He once made a double century for Derbyshire against Yorkshire at Headingley and was quickly into his stride, going on to hit seven fours and a six in a 57-ball knock of 61.
Together with Liam Hyde, who hit six fours in an innings of 43, he was part of an 103-run opening stand, but both batsmen fell to spinner Brice just five runs apart.
Clark (34) and skipper Wainwright (29) ensured Castleford stayed in charge and although no-one was able to go on to make a big contribution a handy unbeaten 25 from Christopher Briggs ensured a good target was set.
Brice was Woodlands’ best bowler with 4-59, but Castleford’s 241-9 proved just enough and the White Rose Trophy was to make its way to Savile Park.