HENLEY were unable to sustain their resurgent performance against Harefield when they visited TRING last Saturday, conceding far too many extras when they bowled and then failing to chase down a relatively modest total.
As heavy rain showers enveloped Tring around 10am, the prospects of any cricket at all looked decidedly bleak. But efficient work from the groundsman, who had covered a large part of the square, improving and drying weather and a draining albeit lush outfield enabled play to commence at 1pm, with only eight overs lost to each side.
Winning the toss, Henley skipper Bjorn Mordt unhesitatingly elected to bowl. But rather generous bowling from Tahir Afridi and Tom Nugent ensured that the Tring openers got off to a flyer before Pritchard was taken low down at second slip by Michael Roberts.
Mordt replaced Nugent and by dint of taking pace off the ball, began to peg things back and accounted for opener Tomlinson, caught at mid-on by David Barnes.
That was it for a while as Tring skipper Jones and former skipper Payne put on 48 for the third wicket before Jones holed out to Roberts at long-on off the bowling of Euan Brock, following which the remaining seven wickets fell in less than the remaining 17 overs for just 59.
Smart thinking by wicket-keeper Ben McDermott saw Payne run out, having been sold down the river by his partner Dutch who would soon depart caught and bowled by Brock off a leading edge.
Apart from Afridi accounting for Maddison, Tring’s overseas player from New South Wales, caught by a scampering Nugent at long-on, the rest of the wickets were down to an outstanding demonstration of spin by Gurveer Singh, whose figures of 4-17 off 8.3 overs accounted for Helm, deceived by flight and caught behind, Deal, another Nugent catch in the deep, Dixon, stumped, and Stanway, also caught by Nugent trying to beat the field.
At face value, 166 in 42 overs looked eminently attainable though a slow wicket, big boundaries and a lush outfield were always going to complicate matters.
The target was a generous score, including as it did 29 extras in the form of 14 wides, two no balls, seven byes and six leg byes. The Henley bowling attack normally prides itself on giving away few extras and this was undoubtedly a blip that handed a significant advantage to Tring.
And that was the story of the game as Henley ended up nine runs short of victory. In fairness, batting was not easy and the Tring bowlers all stuck to their task with, Helm apart, plenty of pace off the ball.
Overall Henley did not display enough urgency until it was too late and were always behind the rate. As the innings unfolded, the gradient became steeper and made life increasingly difficult for the incoming batsmen.
Roberts went caught at slip with the score on 32 but not before he had carted Tom Helm for six into the car park. McDermott had his most productive innings to date, including an even bigger six before leaving a straight one from Payne. But it was the loss of Barnes, caught at slip who had grafted for 29 off 70 odd that stalled the innings and signalled the beginning of the end.
Brock’s gritty resistance was snuffed out by Stanway, Dave Allaway’s wild swipe was caught at backward point while Mordt and Macdonald grafted away for ones and twos before being bowled by Payne. In the closing stages only Stewart Davison was able to find the boundaries but there was too much to do and not enough time to do it in as 22 off the last two overs was just a bridge too far.
Tring picked up 20 Home Counties Premier League Division 1 points while Henley gained just seven.
R Pritchard, c Roberts, b Afridi 13
L Tomlinson, c Barnes, b Mordt 19
W Jones, c Roberts, b Brock 42
M Payne, run out 19
K Dutch, c & b Brock 5
T Helm, c McDermott, b Singh 9
D Maddinson, c Nugent, b Afridi 13
J Deal, c Nugent, b Singh 8
A Dixon, st McDermott, b Singh 1
D Fraser, not out 8
S Stanway, c Nugent, b Singh 0
• Best bowling: G Singh 4-17, T Afridi 2-40, E Brock 2-33.
M Roberts, c Jones, b Fraser 16
D Barnes, c Dutch, b Helm 29
B McDermott, b Payne 17
E Brock, b Stanway 15
D Allaway, c Helm, b Dutch 2
B Mordt, b Payne 32
W Macdonald, b Payne 9
S Davison, not out 23
T Afridi, not out 1
TOTAL (7 wkts) 158
• Best bowling: M Payne 3-42.