Saturday, 31 July 2021

Brown and Birkett guide Harpsden to maximum points away win

HURLEY crashed to a five-wicket Premier Division defeat at home against BALLINGER WAGGONERS last Saturday.

On a parched Shepherds Lane pitch blazed in sunshine a run fest looked on the cards but Hurley delivered a car-crash of an innings on winning the toss.

There was little sign of the looming carnage as Naeem Akhtar and Imran Arshad added 22 in six overs before Akhtar attempted a swatted pull off Adams only to balloon the ball back to the bowler.

Hurley hit the buffers adding eight runs in six overs as Adams and Clark applied the brakes. Arshad edged behind and Vik Bhagwani blasted 20 from Ian Davies’s opening over to manoeuvre Hurley into a comfortable 57-2 at the first drinks break of 16 overs.

Bhagwani fell to the all too obvious trap at long off before Ballinger switched to Petrie. His three wickets in successive overs tore the heart out of the Hurley middle order. Scott Taylor was bowled off his pads, Phil Ridgeway lofted to mid-off and Steve Taylor was also bowled off his pads.

Hurley folded quickly, declining from 65-2 to 79-6. Henry Graham and Shabob Riaz survived six overs without moving the score significantly.

The leg-spin of Fred Thompson bamboozled both batters in his opening over. Graham almost cleared long off and Riaz failed to pick the leg spin and was bowled. Hurley whimpered to 92-9 as Greg Double lasted just two balls. Two second team stalwarts showed the more talented batters the way, adding a defiant 24 for the last wicket, but Hurley were dismissed for 116 inside 42 overs.

Hurley’s hope of defending their meagre score received a boost as Draper sliced Riaz in the second over to point. The Hurley bowling showed more fight as O’Kelly was bowled by Akhtar and McIntyre was bowled by Riaz.

The two Thompson brothers added 34 in eight overs before the drinks break and switch to Arshad. His first ball had Mo Thompson pushing at cover to make the breakthrough and Petrie was bowled by Akhtar.

The visitors were wobbling at 65-5 but Fred Thompson and Ian Davies cruised Ballinger to victory with a sixth wicket stand of 53 in seven overs. Significantly the visitors hit the boundary twice as often as Hurley managed on the rock hard outfield.

HURLEY

N Akhtar, c & b Adams

10

I Arshad, c O’Kelly, b Adams

14

P Ridgeway, c Adams, b Petrie

16

V Bhagwani, c F Thompson, b Davies

28

Sc Taylor, b Petrie

0

S Riaz, b Thompson

7

St Taylor, b Petrie

1

H Graham, c M Thompson, b F Thompson

3

G Double, b McIver

0

N Fernando, not out

11

D Walton, c F Thompson, b Adams

13

Extras

13

TOTAL

116

Best bowling: T Petrie 3-12, N Adams 3-25, F Thompson 2-14.

BALLINGER WAGGONERS

R O’Kelly, b Akhtar

10

D Draper, c Akhtar, b Riaz

0

R McIntyre, b Riaz

14

F Thompson, not out

39

M Thompson, c Akhtar, b Arshad

6

T Petrie, b Akhtar

2

I Davies, not out

36

Extras

11

TOTAL (5 wkts)

118

Best bowling: S Riaz 2-27, N Akhtar 2-49.

In Division 1 visitors HARPSDEN 2nds ran out winners at AMERSHAM HILL.

The hosts won the toss and elected to bat first. Ed Birkett managed to get an early wicket with a good catch by James Moore as Cooper was surprised by a bit of extra pace and bounce and this was quickly followed up by Rod Birkett getting Khan well caught by Eslick at mid off and Brooks taking another good Harpsden catch, again off Rod Birkett, to dismiss Azad.

Naveen tried to counter-attack but was bamboozled by Moore’s off pace delivery and was caught by Adam Hurst in the covers. At 45-4 Amersham Hill looked to be in trouble but consolidated well and brothers Asif and Asim took the score up to 89 before skipper Brooks had Asif caught by Hurst.

This brought captain Nabeel to the wicket for what could have been the match-winning innings as he played aggressively and was particularly savage on anything over-pitched. Although wickets continued to fall at the other end, Nabeel was giving Amersham Hill a chance as the score moved past 150, a figure that may have been difficult to chase on a pitch that was starting to deteriorate in the heat.

Leg spinner Shazad Gulfraz bowled well and got just reward, with good catches from Ian Brown, James Moore and Ed Birkett and ended up with 3-15 off his 3.4 overs whilst Brooks finished with 3-30 in his seven overs. Amersham Hill finished on 164 thanks to good Harpsden catching, holding 10 of the 12 chances offered.

To chase down 165 to win Harpsden felt they would need a solid start which was not be as Tom Mitchell's pull shot went straight to square leg and Aneel held a juggling catch.

Adam Hurst came in to join Liam Eslick and watchfully the pair built the foundation for victory with a 61 partnership before Hurst was clean bowled by Baskar. At 74-2 Will Bevan entered the fray and after initial uncertainty against the pace of Nabeel and Taqeer he decided to attack. A straight drive for six off Nabeel was the start of some destructive hitting from Bevan and he moved rapidly to 48 before playing too early to a well flighted off-spinner by Khan and was bowled just short of what would have been his maiden Harpsden half century.

Eslick continued to be to be the rock on which the victory was built and was unfortunate to be run out by inches by a direct hit, again just short of what would have been another 50 for him for Harpsden. When Eslick departed, Ian Brown and Ed Birkett saw Harpsden home with few dramas for another useful 30-point win.

AMERSHAM HILL

Naveen, c Hurst, b Moore

26

M Cooper, c Moore, b E Birkett

0

R Khan, c Eslick, b R Birkett

8

Azad, c Brooks, b R Birkett

1

Asif, c Hurst, b Brooks

16

Asim, c Gulfraz, b Brooks

12

Nabeel, c Brown, b Gulfraz

48

Taqeer, c Moore, b Gulfraz

14

Mark, c Eslick, b Brooks

14

Baskar, c E Birkett, b Gulfraz

7

Aneel, not out

0

Extras

18

TOTAL

164

HARPSDEN 2nds

T Mitchell, c Aneel, b Mark

9

L Eslick, run out

47

A Hurst, b Baskar

31

W Bevan, b Khan

48

I Brown, not out

12

E Birkett, not out

9

Extras

12

TOTAL (4 wkts)

168

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