Sunday, 20 June 2021

Woods & Nugent dig in to earn share of spoils

HENLEY can count themselves fortunate to have come away from GREAT AND LITTLE TEW with

HENLEY can count themselves fortunate to have come away from GREAT AND LITTLE TEW with a losing draw after a below-par performance in their Home Counties Premier League clash last Saturday.

The visitors were out-skilled in just about every department and particularly in the field where a litany of dropped catches allowed the home side to build a substantial total which proved too much for a Henley side that gave away far too many soft dismissals.

Winning the toss, Henley put the home side into bat. A light rain shower slightly delayed the start and Henley took the field under leaden skies with a strong wind that blew all day to the discomfort of players and spectators alike.

Tom Nugent and Zac Jones, in for an injured Tahir Afridi, generated a fair amount of pace but, one way or another, could not dislodge the Tew openers Smith and 17-year-old Jordan Garrett, a Gloucestershire academy player.

Zia Ashraf, replacing Jones tried an over of seam but thought better of it and reverted to spin whilst Nugent continued to steam in from the Road End. Smith, quicker off the mark, was first to a half century and brought up 100 for his team with a couple of square drives.

The game was then further delayed for an injury to Henley wicket-keeper Stewart Davison who fell heavily on his right shoulder which was operated on over the winter. Lunch soon followed by which time Garrett had brought up his half century, Tew were 116-0 to the good and had certainly had the best of the morning session. The various delays had reduced the overs to 61/54.

Just before lunch, Henley skipper Roberts brought on spinners Euan Woods and Gurveer Singh to bowl and now continued with them into the afternoon session.

Runs continued to flow as more catches went begging, allowing Tew to set a new league first-wicket record stand of 176 when Smith was bowled through the gate by Singh for 83.

Little by little the wickets came. Garrett was caught at slip off Singh who also had White stumped making it 193-3. With Matt Rowe now operating in tandem with Singh, the rate of scoring slowed and Euan Brock took a sharp catch at cover for Singh’s fourth, removing Aussie overseas Moreton, whilst Roberts’s catch on the long on boundary off Brock accounted for Slatter who had just clattered the bowler for a six and a four in much the same direction.

Brock had his namesake caught at deep square leg and took the last wicket to make it eight whilst in between, Singh brought up his fifer by having Tew skipper Harris caught behind.

In the end, a decent enough post lunch session for Henley and 258 might have been a below par score. But if it was, it proved wholly beyond Henley who, in the end, hung on for the draw seven down.

Roberts and Woods apart, no one made it past 20, and most wickets were given away rather than prized out. The one silver lining was a sparkling and confident debut by Jack Davey. It is some while since a since a 16-year-old has made a league debut for Henley and he did not look out of place or overawed.

That is to take nothing away from the Tew bowlers, particularly Warner, who bowled tidily and economically and especially left arm spinner Thomas, once again a thorn in the Henley side with figures of 14 overs, seven maidens 3-23.

Roberts, Ashraf and Davison all played expansive strokes to Thomas and found just an edge to slip rather than the middle of the bat. Momentum was lost and by tea if not before, holding out was the name of the game, particularly when an extravagant off-drive by Brock found only Smith at cover to make it 118-7 with 16 overs to go.

In Nugent and Woods Henley were possessed of two batsmen who batted with circumspection, care and common sense to see Henley through to 54 overs plus three more overs before 7pm. Woods was not content just to hold out and played his shots to fine effect earning Henley another batting point and engineering a 50 partnership between himself and Nugent to end on a positive note. Try as they might Tew could not take another wicket as the game ended in a draw.

In the end, a losing draw with just eight points to show for a day’s labour to Tew’s 14 which was a fair reflection of the two sides’ performance.

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