Thursday, 17 June 2021

Birkett and Whittaker shine for Harpsden

HARPSDEN’S faint title hopes ended last Saturday despite the villagers running out winners at WELFORD PARK.

Chalfont St Giles’s win at Ley Hill meant that second placed Harpsden were no longer able to catch the league leaders who have topped the table all season.

Welford Park’s Will Herrington won the toss and inserted Harpsden into bat. Openers Adam Birkett and Sam Imlay got the away team off to a strong start with several cover drives. Chris Fox eventually out-foxed Imlay to break the opening partnership.

This brought Ben Hancock to the crease who hit a rapid 35 in a partnership of 69, before being caught at deep midwicket. Birkett had worked the ball around nicely before taking the initiative and going on the attack.

Whittaker, who had joined him, was an accomplice in some of the big hitting and saw the pair add 89 before Whittaker chipped one back to the dominant Welford Park bowler Naresh Konakandla (4-49 off 12).

Birkett continued to attack and brought his 100 by lacing a cover drive to the boundary. Birkett, who fell to Konakandla for 105, introduced John Griffths to the crease who eased the ball around the park scoring 26 and helping take Harpsden up to 266-6.

Harpsden took the field after tea looking for early wickets to peg back the Welford Park top order. Taking the old ball, Will Stevens removed Goldsworthy for a duck and fellow opener McManus for five as Welford Park were reduced to 12-2.

A small fightback between Ian Herrington and Austin Keep was crushed on arrival of the new ball as Tom Hancock beat Keep for pace to remove his middle stump.

Will Herrington punished anything over-pitched and after two catches went down in the slips, Harpsden finally got their man as another Ian Herrington cut resulted in an edge which was snaffled by Stevens at first slip off the bowling of Johnny Wright.

The re-introduction of skipper Whittaker opened the floodgates as the spinner used his height to his advantage and after bowling his opposite number, he ran through the Welford lower order to finish with 6-15 from his 12 overs.

The hosts had no answer to the bounce and spin of Whittaker as they ended 123 all out with 12 overs remaining.

HARPSDEN

S Imlay, b Fox

19

A Birkett, c & b Konakandla

105

B Hancock, c Ashton, b Hutchinson

35

C Whittaker, c & b Konakandla

37

W Stevens, c Pearson, b Konakandla

3

J Griffiths, c Ashton, b Konakandla

26

T Hancock, not out

14

J Wright, not out

0

Extras

17

TOTAL (6 wkts)

266

WELFORD PARK

M Goldsworthy, lbw, b Stevens

0

J McManus, b Stevens

5

I Herrington, c Stevens, b Wright

34

A Keep, b Hanocck

5

W Herrington, b Whittaker

35

M Pearson, b Whittaker

1

A Hutchinson, c Griffiths, b Whittaker

21

W Pearson, c Birkett, b Whittaker

0

N Ashton, c Stevens, b Whittaker

0

N Konakandla, lbw, b Whittaker

0

C Fox, not out

5

Extras

17

TOTAL

123

Best bowling: C Whittaker 6-15.

PEPPARD STOKE ROW crashed to an eight-wicket defeat at already-relegated CROWTHORNE AND CROWN WOOD.

After losing the toss, Peppard Stoke Row lost Jamie Sharrock, caught at mid-on at the second attempt, and Don Townsin, caught at slip.

Senthil Muniyasamy was taken at cover on a wicket which was holding in the pitch, and when Harry Jordan and George Lee were both bowled by spinners Imtiaz Shahzad and Joe Davies, Peppard Stoke Row were 48-5.

Australian Davies then induced the faintest of edges from Scott Harris before Shahzad also had Josh Perkins caught behind to leave the visitors 92-7.

Skipper Richard Ashton (40) battled gamely until a loose drive saw him caught at cover off Ravi Godbole — the 11th time he has been dismissed by the experienced bowler in the past decade.

Dion Sampson came and went quickly and with Michael Chard also removed by Godbole, Peppard Stoke Row were dismissed for 123 despite a gritty knock from Alfie Clifton.

The Crows’ reply started cautiously and Peppard Stoke Row gave themselves hope when Ganes Pun was caught behind by Chard and Dan Cartledge was cleaned up by Harris to make it 46-2.

That was as good as it got for the visitors, who endured an afternoon of seeing the ball increasingly evade outstretched hands, near-miss run-outs and a number of play and misses as Crowthorne wrapped up their first win of the season in the 41st over, captain Nick Outram ending 57 not out.

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