Sarfraz signs off in style with Priestley Cup victory

Woodlands pictured with the Priestley Cup following their 115-run victory over Pudset St Lawrence at Spen Victoria last Sunday. Pictures: Paul Butterfield
Woodlands pictured with the Priestley Cup following their 115-run victory over Pudset St Lawrence at Spen Victoria last Sunday. Pictures: Paul Butterfield
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Woodlands gave the perfect send-off to retiring overseas star Sarfraz Ahmed when they defeated Pudsey St Lawrence to lift the Priestley Cup at Spen Victoria last Sunday.

Several hundred spectators were in the ground to witness the final and it was Woodlands who sprang a surprise by recording a 115-run win to end St Lawrence’s hopes of the treble.

It was the 12th trophy of a distinguished 16 year career that Sarfraz has helped Woodlands lift and he will surely go down as one of the finest overseas league cricketers to have graced these shores.

Tim Jackson’s decision to bat first proved correct as Woodlands posted 214-9 from their 50 overs.

Jackson led from the front, making 41 in an opening stand of 83 with Sam Frankland before was caught by Adam Waite pulling spinner Chris Marsden (1-28).

Woodlands were 100-1 at drinks but lost Frankland (44) soon after, stumped by Matthew Duce off Tom Hudson.

Alex Atkinson fell to a third Pudsey spinner Steve Watts, before Charles Parker claimed the wicket of Greg Finn, which brought Sarfraz to the crease for the final time.

Sarfraz has produced countless memorable knocks during his English career but he lasted just four balls before being caught on the long on boundary by Mark Robertshaw off the bowling of Parker.

When Richie Lamb dismissed Jordan Laban, Woodlands had been reduced to 153-6 with 7.3 overs to go.

Chris Brice hit a quickfire 17 before being bowled by Watts and Elliot Richardson was bowled by Lamb as Woodlands slipped to 173-8.

Logan Weston stood firm while wickets fell around him and looked to be heading for a well deserved half century when he was brilliantly caught by Callum Goldthorpe on the boundary off Lamb.

Scott Richardson came in an number 1o but made 24 priceless runs from just 14 balls, including three fours and a six, boosting the Woodlands total beyond 200.

Richardson shared an unbroken 21-run stand with Kez Ahmed as Woodlands closed on 214-9, although many in the crowd thought this was below par against a powerful St Lawrence batting line-up.

Woodlands gave Sarfraz a guard of honour as he took to the field for the final time and there was a sense his teammates were determined to give him the perfect send off.

Sarfraz had one lbw appeal turned down against Robertshaw be the very next ball one kept low and trapped the dangerman in front for 11.

Woodlands turned the screw as Adam Waite was caught by Logan Weston and Barrie Frankland was trapped lbw third ball, both to left arm spinner Chris Brice.

Brice is the man for a big occasion and had Lawrence captain James Smith caught by Weston before Marsden was run out for nought.

Brice ended with 3-14 in a man-of-the-match display, Sarfraz (2-23) picked up the wicket of Steve Watts before receiving a standing ovation by the crowd, while off spinner Kez Ahmed took 4-11 in 4.2 as St Lawrence collapsed to 99 all out.

With a tear in his eye, Sarfraz joined captain Jackson in lifting the Priestley Cup to the delight of his team-mates.