REED made it four Keatley Cup triumphs in succession on Tuesday evening – but they were made to fight all the way by Royston. A tense and entertaining game went down to the final ball, with Royston needing a six to tie the game and to win on fewer wickets
REED made it four Keatley Cup triumphs in succession on Tuesday evening - but they were made to fight all the way by Royston.
A tense and entertaining game went down to the final ball, with Royston needing a six to tie the game and to win on fewer wickets lost.
However, Richard Temple skied the ball from Chris Jackson, leaving James Bell with a simple catch to wrap up victory.
Reed had gone into the game as hot favourites to continue their domination of the competition, flying high in Herts League Division Two and having won their regional final in the National Village Cup.
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In contrast, Royston have suffered another miserable season in the Tucker Gardener League, and following relegation last season are bottom of division two.
A repeat of Reed's comfortable win in the 2004 final looked on the cards, but a fighting performance from Royston belied their league position, and left them agonisingly close to snatching the trophy.
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There have been three changes to the competition format this season, with 15 eight-ball overs replaced by 16 six-ball ones. Teams now only need four bowlers, and the final was played at Therfield rather than Royston.
Adam Newman proved to be Royston's main threat, and after seeing Baz Curtis dropped off the second ball of the game, he went on to dismiss both openers on the way to excellent figures of 5-19.
Temple (0-19) also bowled well, and with Dave Sladen taking 3-30, the Reed wickets fell steadily.
Only Chris Jackson (21), his brother Simon (25 not out) and Richard Johnson (17) managed to score with any fluency on a difficult wicket, and Reed's total of 98-9 looked achievable for the hosts.
The loss of opener Paul Miller for a duck in the second over hit Royston, but they batted steadily and were 30-1 after six overs.
The seventh over proved to be crucial with Johnson dismissing Matt Graham and Craig Holson in the space of three balls, and with four overs remaining Royston still needed 32 runs - albeit with five wickets in hand.
A massive six from Newman kept Royston in the hunt, but with an over remaining they still needed 12 runs.
After scoring two off the first ball, Leak was run out, and Temple was left with the unenviable task of needing a six off the last ball . . . and his skied shot gave Reed the cup again.