Sunday, 20 June 2021

Wonderful Whittaker wins it for home side

A CHRISTIAN Whittaker masterclass enabled HARPSDEN to beat PEPPARD STOKE ROW UNICORNS by three wickets in a thrilling friendly on Sunday.

Peppard Stoke Row chose to have a bat after winning the toss though they lost skipper Sam Kimber early on when he was castled by Rod Birkett.

Scott Harris (40) and Fergus Nutt steadied the ship until the former was caught on the off side boundary by James Moore off the bowling of Whittaker.

Tom Brown and Michael Chard — the latter trapped lbw by a cleverly-disguised quicker ball — both fell victim to leg spinner Shahzad Gulfraz (2-40), but Ricardh Ashton and Nutt kept the innings going.

Nutt (106) went on to record a century and with Ashton adding 44, the Unicorns closed their 40 overs on 222-7, Birkett dismissing Josh Perkins late on to record 2-25.

The Harpsden reply started briskly with Sacha Burgess smashing a rapid 27, but with Alfie Burnett bowling Matt Stanley and then having Carl Pohl caught by Chard — up to the stumps — and the wicket-keeper then stumping Burgess down the leg side, Peppard Stoke Row were on top.

Josh Perkins trapped Ian Whittaker lbw before Satheech Elaganathan bowled Matt Haddock, but Whittaker and Sam Imlay then shared a key sixth-wicket partnership to wrest the initiative.

Imlay made a 56 before being caught and bowled by Chris Humphreys (1-24 off eight), and Harris bowled Moore, but Gulfraz then hit three boundaries in four balls to keep Harpsden above the rate.

Fittingly, it came down to Whittaker to seal the deal, his match-winning straight six securing both his century (103 not out) and the victory with just four balls to spare in a fascinating contest.

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