HARPSDEN triumphed in Tuesday’s home 40 over match against the Commonwealth Games bronze medal winning ENGLAND HOCKEY TEAM.
The hockey players team, who are based at Bisham Abbey in Marlow, were organised by 144 capped midfielder Adam Dixon who has good Harpsden links.
Harpsden won the toss and batted on a good pitch and once the openers, Neil Sweet and Horatio Cary, had survived good opening spells from Tom Carson and Dave Beckett, they started to accelerate.
With a fast outfield, a score of more than a run a ball looked possible.
Cary was the first to fall for a well constructed 34, caught and bowled by a Carson slower ball.
Alun Lloyd fell lbw to the next ball from a Carson in-swinger. Ben Hancock, having survived the hat-trick ball, settled in slowly and started to build a match-winning partnership with Neil Sweet. Dan Fox bowled a good spell of off-spin while goalkeeper George Pinner proved to be robust behind the stumps.
When Sweet fell in the 70s to Carson, and after a second Carson wicket in the same over, Zac Jones came to the crease.
Jones proceeded to smash a quick unbeaten 50 and was still able to give Hancock enough strike to enable to him start the last over on 93. By the last ball that had progressed to 98 — he then pushed the ball to the leg side for what would have been a comfortable one, or a suicidal two. With nothing to lose Hancock was only halfway back on the second run when the ball got to the keeper — a fumble allowed the diving Hancock to reach an unbeaten 100 whilst Carson ended up with all four Harpsden wickets to fall. The hosts ended their innings on 298-4
The hockey team openers were Dan Fox and Ollie Willars, who had 163 caps between them. Fox, whose cricket batting average is 73.75, was the wicket that Harpsden particularly felt they needed to get before feeling confident of a win.
After a few good early strokes from both batsmen, Fox got a ball from opening bowler Toby Stevens and was caught behind by Lloyd. Various of the hockey team’s batsmen made starts but were unable to go on and despite some fast running between the wickets and impressive hand-eye coordination and bat speed, nobody was able to go on to make the necessary big score.
There was some good catching by Harpsden, especially a caught and bowled by Horatio Cary and catches at mid-wicket by Sweet and at fly-slip by skipper James Paice.
The final pair of Alastair Brogdon and Michael Hoare brought some respectability to the hockey team’s total before Brogdon was caught and bowled by Ed Birkett. The England hockey side were all out for 151.
Two wickets each to Stevens, Paice, Cary and Rod Birkett helped Harpsden end up as comfortable winners.