Wednesday, 23 June 2021

Hussain’s ton helps side defeat county rivals

HENLEY all-rounder Andy Rishton took six wickets and made scores of 44 and 19 not out as the BERKSHIRE county team defeated OXFORDSHIRE by nine wickets in their first Unicorns Championship match of the season played at Wargrave this week.

His batting is regarded as his main asset — as he showed in last season’s Unicorns Championship play-off against Lincolnshire — but this summer he has also come on strong with his seam bowling. His 6-48 off 23.1 overs on Tuesday were his best figures for Berkshire and it comes six weeks after he took seven wickets when playing for Loughborough MCCU against Cambridge MCCU.

Whilst Henley’s Richard Morris contributed a valuable 82 off 79 balls in the first innings, Berkshire’s batting honours went to the man Rishton replaced, Waqas Hussain, who left the Home Counties Premier League club before the start of the season to join Cambridgeshire side Sawston and Babraham.

He missed Berkshire’s early-season games after sustaining serious facial injuries in an accidental clash of heads with a team-mate during a county training session, but is now intent on making up for lost time.

Last week he scored a century for Berkshire 2nds in their away win over the Isle of Wight and he followed up with an even more impressive batting display against a stronger Oxon bowling attack.

Hussain hammered 105 off 178 balls, with the help of 14 boundaries, in the hosts’ 388-7 off 90 overs. It was the second century of the match, with skipper Jon Cater making an excellent 114 not out for Oxon. Electing to bat first, he had seen his young side slump from 111-0 to 193-8 before coming to the rescue and starring in an unbroken ninth-wicket stand of 106 with Joe Thomas (25), taking them to 299-8.

Chris Peploe was the pick of the Berks bowlers, taking 4-114 after a marathon shift of 40 overs, which was certainly stamina-sapping in the boiling conditions.

Berkshire also made a brisk start to their innings with Hussain and Brandon Gilmour piling on 95 in 15 overs before the latter was lbw when one run short of his half-century.

The good-sized crowd continued to be entertained by a run fest with Rishton cracking 44, Richard Morris 82, James Morris 30, Joe Thomas 34 not out and Peploe 20, enabling Berkshire to close on 388-7 off their 90 overs, a healthy lead of 89.

The champions then strengthened their grip on the game as they took three wickets for 28 runs with all falling to catches by Thomas behind the stumps, two off the bowling of Rishton and one from Hussain.

Oxon suffered two more dismissals before wiping out their deficit with Rishton and Peploe causing the damage before Cater again offered stiff resistance, making 67 off 180 balls after occupying the crease for almost four hours.

But once he was bowled by Rishton, the tailenders offered little resistance and their 10th wicket fell at 179 in the 99th over.

Berkshire, needing 91 to win, lost Gilmour for 11 with the total on 15, but they went on to cruise to victory in the 16th over, with Hussain racing to 57 off 49 balls with three maximums and eight boundaries and Rishton 19 from 34 deliveries. Hussain hammered three balls out of the ground as he finished the game with two sixes and a four.

Considering they were missing a number of players, this was an excellent performance and shows the strength in depth that exists in the Berkshire squad.

Among the Henley players who missed the game was Euan Woods, who was playing for Hampshire 2nds.

Their next championship fixture is away to Wiltshire at Corsham on July 8 to 10.

More News:

POLL: Have your say