UCS Old Boys crowned champions of Chess Valley Sunday League
- Credit: Steve (UCS Old Boys)
UCS Old Boys were crowned champions of the Chess Valley Sunday League after securing a four-wicket victory over Hemel Hempstead.
Batting first, Hemel Hempstead put on 82 for the first wicket, before the bowlers sparked a steady flow of wickets to see them end their 45 overs on 215-9. Seamer Joel Grabinar took 3-35 and off-spinner Mark Jesnick 3-48.
David Goldsmith (33) and Alex Khosla (29) shared a 57-run opening partnership in reply, but victory looked tricky at 117-5, with less than 12 overs remaining and plenty of runs still to score.
Joel Grabinar (52 not out) and Kay Manzoor (37) then took the side to within five runs of victory with a brilliant fast-paced partnership, which was secured in the penultimate over with a huge six for a four-wicket win.
The club’s last league successes came in 2008 and 2009 when the team won consecutive Middlesex Sunday League titles in an increasingly weak competition.
In the search for more competitive action, they entered the Chess Valley League at division six level in 2010 and have spent the past 11 years working our way up the pyramid to now be crowned division one champions for the first time.
UCS Old Boys won five of seven league games this season, with one defeat (by just 14 runs) and one rained off.
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Chairman Ben Bloom said: "It's been some achievement to win the league after years of working our way up to the top division.
“Every club goes through cycles and we had some difficult times about 15 years ago, but winning this is testament to the steady improvement - both in strength and depth - we've had year on year since then.
“A huge acknowledgment must go to our club captain Ian Chapman because without all his hard work we would never have got here.
“We now have some real talent on the pitch and are stronger off it than we have been in a couple of decades.
“We're a one-team club, so to beat some of the heavyweight clubs in the area is really pleasing."