HENLEY U13s edged past PANGBOURNE U13s in the first round encounter of the Berkshire Cup.
Pangbourne won the toss and elected to field and soon took an early Henley wicket. Dalrymple was then joined at the crease by Stone and the pair helped the score to 47-1 after 10 overs.
Once Stone was caught for 24, Pangbourne turned the screw, taking the pace off the ball and making runs harder to score.
Pangbourne’s medium pacers stepped up to the plate with some accurate bowling although Dalrymple still managed to score 31 not out, retired. Brief cameos from the middle order resulted in Henley posting 95-5.
In fading light Henley’s opening bowlers Batchelor and West both bowled a tight line and length restricting Pangbourne to just 15 runs off six overs.
The Pangbourne opening batsmen started to play their shots and it took a good throw from the boundary by Connell to break a crucial partnership.
Arjun Mather, arguably the strongest U13 player in the county, then came to the crease. Mather soon demonstrated his power by despatching a huge six over the mid-wicket boundary. However, with the penultimate ball of his spell, left arm spinner Stone removed Pangbourne’s danger man for eight.
Breathing a collective sigh of relief, Henley managed to keep the bowling tight until, with four overs remaining and the light fading badly, the home side were obliged to bowl only spin.
At the same time, Henley also began to rush decisions in order to get the tie finished. With the hosts losing their composure and organisation, Pangbourne took advantage with some free scoring shots leaving them with just eight runs to score from the last over and with three wickets in hand.
The pressure was now on Asghar who rose to the challenge with a disciplined and controlled piece of bowling as he managed to limit Pangbourne to seven runs.
As a result, both sides finished on the same score and it was Henley who edged through to the next round having conceded fewer wickets.
HENLEY LIONS U15s began their campaign with a disappointing loss against a strong KIDMORE END U15s side after being in the box seat for most of the game.
Winning the toss and electing to bowl first on a typical early season pitch in this first round cup clash, Henley constantly restricted Kidmore to five runs per over despite starting with 10 men.
Skipper Josh Perkins got the first wicket having Simmonds (26) stumped by Dan Jordan with the score on 37 before Sporle and Abbott put on a fine partnership.
Ryan Palihawadana made a timely arrival to the ground coming on to bowl and taking a wicket in his first over courtesy of a sharp catch by Adam Garrod at backward square leg to dismiss Abbott for 14.
The same partnership then struck again in Palihawadana’s next over removing Rogers for 5, and then a run out accounted for opener Sporle for 26 in the 17th over.
Fountain struck some fine boundaries in the closing overs of the innings to leave Kidmore with a total of 109-4 from their 20 overs.
Henley felt as though the 110-run target was well within their reach and openers Josh Perkins and Will Mackay got off to a steady start appearing to be in little trouble. Some tight bowling from Rogers and Stewart, and good fielding from the visitors put the brakes on the Henley run chase. With the pressure beginning to build Perkins attempted an ambitious single but was run out for 15.
Mackay and Harry Maskell were still well positioned with 50 needed off 10 overs and nine wickets remaining, but as the cloud cover thickened and the darkness encroached Kidmore tightened the screws as Mackay and Maskell fell in quick succession being lbw and caught respectively. Cameron Greig and Dan Jordan continued to struggle in the gloom as Henley’s run rate shrank.
Greig (0) skied a catch attempting to increase the rate which brought Adam Garrod to the crease. With 26 still needed from four overs the game was still in the balance but Kidmore sensed they had the upper hand as Henley struggled to get the ball away.
Garrod (15 not out) felt that the long handle was the way to go as he struck a four and a big six to inch closer to the target but overs were running out and Henley eventually finished 12 runs short of the finish line.