Saturday, 31 July 2021

No happy return for former club stalwart

HARPSDEN ran out narrow winners in their home clash with CHUTE on Sunday.

Harpsden batted first with Justin Bradley and the in form Ed Birkett striding to the crease with confidence on a good surface. Birkett started positively as some good running combined with fine stroke play rocketed Harpsden to 46-0 off eight overs when Birkett was trapped lbw by Williams for a well made 45.

Lyle Heilbron kept the tempo of the innings high with a quick fire 26 off 21 balls before being caught. Harpsden debutant H Gummer started well, first with Bradley (5) and then with T Hancock who continued his fine form with the bat.

After Gummer was out caught for a promising 33, Harpsden captain Johnny Wright joined Hancock and together they put on 50 with Hancock the aggressor as he reached his second half century of the season. Once he had departed after some inventive stroke play for 72 off 58 balls, Hancock was replaced by Stevens, who together with Wright (34 not out) saw Harpsden to a competitive score of 232 off their 35 overs. The Chute innings never really took off as Birkett claimed the wicket of Appleby in his second over. Orange looked good for his 27 before being well caught by Heilbron behind the stumps off the bowling of Franklin, who bowled with good pace and control throughout his spell.

After Gummer completed a fine debut with a spectacular one-handed catch off M Stanley to dismiss Williams for 6, Harpsden were well on top.

Out strode Paddy Burtt, a Harpsden legend back to vanquish his old ally. Together with Struthens (41), Burtt added some respectability to the Chute score as his 53 not out as he rolled back the years. Even so, the Harpsden bowling was too tight to allow the Chute batsmen to score freely enough to chase down such a total.

After a caught and bowled by Wright removed Struthens, a hamstring injury to the bowler allowed two balls for 10-year-old Archie Bell to bowl at his dad and but for some poor wicket keeping, Archie could well have picked up the prize scalp off the final ball of the innings. As it happened, the ball ran for a bye to fine leg to leave Chute on 182-9, giving Harpsden victory.

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