Shoukat Ali (pictured above) blasted a crushing century to help Moorlands thwart Hoylandswaine for the second time this season as they romped to victory and claimed their second major silverware of the season by winning the T20 Trophy.
The enigmatic opening batsman has been in fearsome form this season and stepped up emphatically with a wonderful ton. Ali, who signed for Hoylandswaine in the pared down 2020 season before returning to Moorlands 12 months later, lashed 113 runs from only 59 balls to the delight of their home supporters after the visitors won the toss and inserted their rivals. His brash, aggressive style blended perfectly with the careful stubbornness of his fellow opener, James Rawlinson; another new boy in his first season with the club. Rawlinson was Moorlands’ man of the match when the teams last met in the Sykes Cup final a fortnight earlier and his 56 made from 44 balls was equally as crucial on this occasion to frustrate their illustrious opponents.
Moorlands bullied Swaine’s predatory bowling attack which dramatically withered against a barrage of boundaries by the opening duo. Ali galloped to his half century from only 32 balls as the pair put on a massive 159 runs for the first wicket. Ali’s century came up just 20 balls later and by the time he was out on 113 he’d found the boundary 19 times (13 fours and 6 sixes). Rawlinson succumbed in the penultimate over and Siraj Sajid made a leisurely 18no to set the visitors a daunting 199-3.
Hoylandswaine’s armoury is capable of overhauling just about any target presented to them, however Moorlands couldn’t contain their glee as their intimidating power batsmen; Chris Holliday (1) and Arron Lilley (11) were the first two wickets to fall at 23-2. Both victims of long-serving miserly bowler Andrew Walker who himself was unfortunate to miss out in the last final. Swaine’s sting had been ruthlessly extracted and they soon slipped behind the asking rate to slump to 76-6.
Faisal Irfan remained their last big hope and the mountainous middle order batsman, a mid-season signing from Wakefield Thornes, began to brutalise Eddie Walmley’s bowlers. Irfan raced to his half-century in precisely the same amount of balls it took Moorlands’ Ali as the big hitter caused brows to furrow. The captain himself was the man to dislodge Irfan, gathering the deciding catch to dismiss him on 60 after he’d scored 5 fours and 4 sixes in a 35-ball display.
The end came swiftly, although old stager Ranjith Bandula-Don (17) was allowed a moment to shine before he was run out by Nadim Hussain. James Stansfield claimed three wickets to finish the most successful of Moorlands’ six bowlers as Hoylandswaine were bowled out for 168 to spark similar jubilant celebrations that lit up Far End Lane two weeks ago.