HIMLEY suffered an agonising exit from the National Twenty20 competition at the regional finals round.

The Stourbridge Road side made the perfect start as they brushed aside Leamington Spa by 10 wickets in the semi-finals at Tamworth on Sunday.

But they succumbed to the hosts in the final, losing out by just two runs as they chased a target of 117.

Ashfak Hussain (4-18) had ripped through the Leamington top-order earlier in the day in the semi-final, as they were limited to 110-6 from their 20 overs, Jack Hawkes top-scoring with 25.

Himley’s opening pair of Chris Tranter and Nathan Round had no trouble knocking off the runs in just 10.5 overs.

Tranter scored 54 from 38 balls, smashing seven fours and two sixes in the process.

In the final, Tamworth were limited to a similar score, amassing 116-5 with Round (2-13) proving Himley’s chief bowling threat.

But this time they couldn’t chase down the score.

Tranter impressed again, cracking 61 but wickets fell regularly as Himley finished on 114-7, three runs short of the target.

Skipper Stuart Wedge said: “It was agonising to get so close and not win.

“It’s a real shame as if you can get out of the regional round you are only a few games from the televised finals.

“But the Birmingham League is one of the toughest in the country and it is always a big ask.”

Following Saturday’s washout at Knowle and Dorridge, Himley will now turn their attentions back to the Birmingham Premier League where they are very much in the title hunt, sitting third at the midway point of the season.

Wedge’s side visit lowly Leamington this Saturday with batsmen Greg Wright and Ben Smith both unavailable, meaning a probable recall for Waqas Ahmed.

The skipper said: “When you look at the league table, Leamington have not had a great season so far but I don’t think they are a bad side.

“Their batting line-up is quite strong and it only takes one player to get his eye in and you can be in trouble.”

He added: “We are halfway through the season and in a nice little position.

“The way things are going I think it is going to be a really close finish.”