Dave Toft produced a heroic display with bat and ball to fire Wakefield Thornes to glory against Pudsey St Lawrence in the inaugural Yorkshire Premier League final in Abu Dhabi.
Toft held Thornes’ innings together with a magnificent century before taking three wickets to bowl Pudsey out 57 short of their mammoth 297-run target. Mark Robertshaw (112) was almost the hero of the day for Pudsey but his defiant century was in vain.
Thornes become the first county-wide champion club in the first season since the Yorkshire League was separated into four Premier divisions. Both teams had won their respective leagues and a semi-final play-off to earn a place in the dream final in the United Arab Emirates.
The Abu Dhabi pitch proved run-friendly, seemingly why Thornes opted to set a target batting first – with both teams wearing coloured strips and using a pink ball. The showpiece proved a fitting end to the season as Taft smashed 138 from 110 balls to give Wakefield the initiative at the interval.
He was supported by Matt Jordan’s 48 as the Yorkshire League South champions totalled 296-6, with Richie Lamb (2-56) snaring two scalps. Pudsey’ reply got off to a disastrous start with opener Adam Waite and no3 Callum Goldthorpe departing for ducks.
But from 6-2, Robertshaw, who scored more than 1,000 this summer, rebuilt the innings and scored an excellent century of his own.
He shared in partnerships of 122 with James Smith (68) and Chris Marsden (46).
Robertshaw’s brilliance set Pudsey to require 67 from the final six overs but wickets tumbled in the Bradford League champions’ quest and they were dismissed for 257 in the final over.