HENLEY rounded off the season with a convincing victory over Tring Park to take second place
HENLEY rounded off the season with a convincing victory over Tring Park to take second place in the Home Counties Premier League Division 1.
They ended up some distance behind champions Finchampstead but well ahead of the chasing pack.
Losing the toss, Henley were put into bat on an overcast morning.
Openers Matt Rowe and Jack Davies eased into the sort of form they had both shown at High Wycombe with some fine striking of the ball and plenty of rotation of the strike and Tring struggled to keep the run rate down as Seagrave, then Criddle proved expensive.
It was only when Michael Payne came on to bowl, joined by 18-year-old Zaib, a rising star at Northamptonshire, that Tring managed to exert any control and peg back the run rate.
Former Reading man Shelvin Gumbs also proved quietly effective as the most economic of the Tring bowlers, his 10 overs going for just 32 runs.
Nonetheless, there were 106 runs on the board in the 21st over when Rowe was adjudged lbw for a fine 62 to make it 559 league runs at an average of 32.88.
The field spread as Michael Roberts strode to the crease but the Henley skipper struggled to time the ball and was eventually stumped going down the track.
Meanwhile, Davies, now past 50, was joined by Richard Morris, leading scorer for Henley in 2016, who was quick off the mark and looking dangerous only to be run out. Davies was almost caught at mid-wicket and stood rooted to the spot as Morris went for the run. Stranded and unable to get back, he succumbed to a direct hit.
Davies was eventually bowled by Payne but rounded off half a season with 337 runs at an average of 42.13.
Despite the wicket offering more to the bowlers as the game progressed, 177-4 off 40 overs was still a solid platform to make hay off the last 10 overs and so it proved.
Ably supported by Euan Woods and then Stewart Davison, Zia Ashraf took the lead with 35 off 33 balls including four well struck fours as both Payne and Stanway took some punishment in their later spells. With rain predicted to arrive around 4pm, Henley’s aim was now to get the game done and dusted by then.
And so it proved as Tom Nugent was back in top form to nip out the top five Tring batsmen to leave the visitors reeling on 56-5.
Aussie overseas Abbot was adjudged caught behind and departed unhappily, Gumbs was brilliantly caught by Euan Woods over his shoulder at cover as he tried to whip a shot through leg and got a leading edge.
Zaib was then snapped up at slip by Roberts, followed by Payne, bowled, and Tring skipper Pritchard, who could only parry a vicious delivery, taken at point by Morris.
After that the spinners took over with Gurveer Singh leading the line with six overs, one maiden, 4-19 to round off the season with a haul of 39 league wickets.
Masters top-edged a sweep to Roberts at slip, Hawkes succumbed to an lbw decision, Criddle was bowled and Stanway was caught at cover.
Only Wastling offered resistance but lost his battle with Ashraf, the last to go in the 26th over, as Tring were denied any batting points, all out for 99.
As the game ended, heavy rain enveloped the ground right on cue, not that it would have mattered as Tring were so far behind the Duckworth Lewis rate as to make no difference.
And so ended a Â season which seems to have gone very quickly, far too quickly for the Henley faithful. May 2017 seems a very long way off.