THE DREAM of an all-Hucknall cup final to round off a compelling cricket season was shattered in a thrilling contest between the top two teams in the Gunn And Moore South Notts League.
ROLLS-ROYCE LEISURE 231
Rolls-Royce Leisure were hoping to join Hucknall in the Popkess Cup final at Attenborough.
The derby would have given them the chance of revenge after suffering two costly defeats at the hands of the New Gatehouse Ground in their Division A title-chase this summer.
However, despite a century from Ahmed Shah, they were pipped by just seven runs in their semi-final against league champions Plumtree last Sunday.
Buoyed by their clinching of the Division A runners-up spot the previous day, Rolls put Plumtree into bat. But they failed to make the early breakthrough they needed as home openers Hassan Azad (39, four fours) and Sam Storey (37, three fours) put on 84 for the first wicket.
The locals bounced back with three wickets in quick succession, including a couple in a polished spell by skipper Saleem Karim (two for 29 in nine overs). But then came another profitable stand for Plumtree, inspired by Michael Tew.
Tew hit an attractive 66, including two sixes and eight fours, and shared 73 for the fourth wicket with Matt Milnes (29, three fours).
Wasim Karim (two for 38 in seven overs) kept Rolls in the hunt before further runs from Chris Mortimer (23 not out, three fours) enabled Plumtree to post a healthy total from their allotted 45 overs.
The visitors’ reply got off to an awful start as they slid to 26 for three and 59 for five against the bowling of Scott Bailey (four for 34 in nine overs) and Milnes (two for 52 in 8.2).
But they were kept in the tie by some magnificent, single-handed defiance by Shah, who stroked 101 off 129 balls, including 15 boundaries.
Support came at last from Waheed Khan (22), with whom he shared 62 for the sixth wicket, and although Rolls wobbled again on 142 for seven, they refused to give in.
A partnership of 85 between Shah and Abdul Sultan Khan (33, three fours) took them to within sight of a most unlikely victory — only for the last three wickets to fall within four runs of each other in the last few balls of the innings.
Khan was run out by Tew, Shah was caught off Nigel Finney (two for 47 in nine overs) and last man Liaquat Ali was bowled in the final over.