TENSION, drama, excitement – players and spectators experienced all three emotions at Undercliffe as visitors Pudsey Congs reached their target off the final ball of the match.

It came in an eventful last over bowled by overseas fast bowler Fahim Ashraf to settle an even JCT600 Bradford League Division One contest on a near-perfect batting pitch.

The game ebbed and flowed in an absorbing second half after Undercliffe posted a large but by no means insurmountable 273-6, of which the experienced Gulsheraz Ahmed made an entertaining 93, including ten fours and three sixes.

Gulsheraz, out within touching distance of a deserved century, one of three catches by former Undercliffe wicketkeeper Luke Holroyd, was given good support, especially by Ahmad Raja (48) and opener Farakh Hussain (45).

Congs made a great start, former Undercliffe batsman Callum Geldhart (46) and Nick Lindley (60) putting on 95 for the first wicket. Solid contributions from experienced trio Gareth Phillips (37), Andrew Bairstow (37) and Adam Patel (31) kept them on course before all three were dismissed by Undercliffe skipper Michael Kelsey, who took five wickets in the middle of the innings to peg back the visitors.

Congs needed 37 from the last five overs with Patel going well but, when he was seventh out with 24 still needed, the game was in the balance.

Ultimately, it came down to nine needed off the final over with two wickets remaining, and former East Bierley all-rounder Kez Ahmed and Australian pace bowler James Pearson at the wicket.

Congs took singles off the first two balls before Undercliffe hopes were raised when Ahmed was bowled by the third delivery.

Home supporters groaned, however, when the fourth delivery was ruled a no-ball and new batsman, 19-year-old Joshua Holling, was able to run a single to give the experienced Pearson the strike.

That single proved to be crucial as Pearson levelled the scores next ball with a superb cover drive to beat the deeply-set field.

However, there was more drama as Congs failed to score off the next ball. The winning run off the last delivery was a bye as the ball went through to wicketkeeper Usman Salim, who was standing back to Ashraf.

The result was a disappointment to Undercliffe, who are trying to establish themselves in the top flight after winning the Division Two championship last season, and Kelsey admits survival is their main aim.

He said: "Going into the last ten overs needing 60, it looked fairly comfortable for them, but we bowled a few tight overs to take it into the last over and we were right back in the game.

"I thought if we could cut the boundary out in the last over we could do it, but James Pearson was always going to swing at any good-length ball and he did."

Congs skipper Phillips said: "We got ourselves into a good position and then nearly threw it away but good batting by James Pearson saw us through and that was a crucial boundary in the last over.

"We had an excellent start, which is why we should have finished the match slightly earlier."