Caley century hands Saints the title

PUBLISHED: 17:21 11 September 2008 | UPDATED: 13:34 06 May 2010

Phil Caley batting his way to 125

Phil Caley batting his way to 125

Division One Letchworth 209-7 (49) St Albans 210-5 (40) ST Albans Cricket Club set themselves tough targets at the beginning of the year, non tougher than their firsts winning the Saracens Hertfordshire Cricket League s top division.

Phil Caley

Division One

Letchworth 209-7 (49) St Albans 210-5 (40)

ST Albans Cricket Club set themselves tough targets at the beginning of the year, non tougher than their firsts winning the Saracens Hertfordshire Cricket League's top division.

A huge amount of hard work was done over last winter to prepare the club for its assault on the title.

The season started well with a crushing victory over Hoddesdon where St Albans scored more than 350 in 50 overs. There have been consistent performers with both bat and ball. Yasir Arafat scored 600 runs at 55s and skipper Martin Jones hit 400 runs at 35s with Phil Caley firing 350 runs at 30s. Bowler Murtaza Hussain collected 40 wickets at 9s and Jimmy Goodwin claimed 25 wickets at 18s.

The firsts finished a momentous season and were crowned champions of the Saracens Hertfordshire Cricket League in a dramatic final day.

St Albans started the day in third place in the league with work to do away to league leaders and favourites Letchworth.

Captain Martin Jones lost the toss and was asked to bowl on a good wicket.

Club legend Richard O'Toole opened with Surrey spinner Murtaza Hussain and quickly tied the Letchworth openers down.

Wickets fell at regular intervals in-between a number of rain breaks.

Eventually the ball became very difficult to bowl with and Letchworth were able to take risks to lift their total to 209 from 49 overs. Murtaza claimed five wickets and the rest shared between Goodwin and Jones.

St Albans had to chase the tricky total of 209 to secure the league title, this was made more challenging because they only had 43 overs in which to do it.

The vastly experienced Phil Caley was sent out to take runs out of the Letchworth total quickly, what followed was a master class of brutal clean striking which makes Caley infamous in his county Suffolk.

His 125 came off 85 balls and gave St Albans the momentum they needed as he was supported excellently by Hussain and Sharp and eventually after his dismissal the game was finished clinically by James Goodwin and captain Jones.

The 2008 season was made even better for the club with the news that the St Albans II gained a final day promotion from Division Three of the Hertfordshire League.

A mixture of youth and experience have seen St Albans become one of the premier clubs in the county once more.

Chairman Richard O'Toole said: "What a season! The club has taken huge strides this year and can now hold its head up high as one of the top clubs in the region. Big congratulations to the 1s and 2s for a brilliant season. We now go away to plan for 2009, we welcome with open arms new players to the area and others who want to be part of our success.

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