Saturday, 19 June 2021

Immovable Stevens steers side to first win

HARPSDEN entertained the Cary All Stars in a 40-over Sunday friendly, keen to avenge a series

HARPSDEN entertained the Cary All Stars in a 40-over Sunday friendly, keen to avenge a series of consecutive defeats against a team that they had never beaten.

With a number of Harpsden’s star players playing for the Cary team, Harpsden were looking for early wickets and in doing so, the hosts’ skipper threw the new ball to the Shiplake College old boys, Sasha Burgess and Sam Imlay.

Both bowlers managed to extract significant bounce from the hard surface, most particularly Burgess, although a hook for six by Adam Birkett encouraged the bowlers to bowl a fuller length.

It was Imlay who took the early wicket of Hunter although that brought Ed Rothwell to the crease to join Birkett and they took the score, very comfortably, up to 93 in the 21st over.

But then Max Martin had Birkett caught at cover as the batsmen tried to accelerate — this, and the bowling change by the skipper, Johnny Wright, to bring himself on, turned the match in Harpsden’s favour.

Wickets then began to tumble at regular intervals and despite a late flurry from Horatio Cary, a total of 162 was never likely to be enough on a good batting track and a strong Harpsden batting line-up.

The Wards opened the batting for Harpsden with father Nigel not lasting long as Tom Cary encouraged him to chase a wide one and he was caught at gully.

Will Ward and Zac Jones built a steadying partnership before Ward departed for a well worked 27 which then brought former Harpsden Club Captain, Will Stevens, to the wicket.

After a steady start, Jones accelerated and was particularly merciless on Tom Hancock, taking him for 19 in an over.

But some tight bowling from Horatio Cary and Meehan shifted the balance somewhat which may have encouraged Jones into one big shot too many and he was bowled for a destructive 76.

With only six runs to win Meehan bowled Christian Whittaker and Sasha Burgess as they both tried to finish the game with a single blow.

It was left to renowned finisher, Stevens, to see Harpsden home and finish unbeaten for the 98th time in his Harpsden career.

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