Thursday, 20 June 2019

Watson’s match-winning knock keeps hosts in pole position

Watson’s match-winning knock keeps hosts in pole position

HARPSDEN maintained their 100 per cent winning start to the season to remain top of the table after beating visitors BRAYWOOD last Saturday.

The day got off to an inauspicious start as visiting skipper Hassan won the toss and asked Harpsden to field in the heat on a pitch which appeared to offer little assistance to the bowlers.

Spirits were lifted as Tom Hancock had Ahmed caught in the covers early on for 6. The opener bowled well in tandem with Ed Birkett who extracted good pace and bounce from the deck early on. Stefan Franklin was then introduced to the attack and quickly removed Ahmed for 4 before Khaliq and Hogan Keogh took over. The pair bowled tight lines and lengths, building some good pressure which eventually told in terms of wickets, Malik Raza and Uddin falling in quick succession.

Hancock was then reintroduced to the attack and the opener ripped through the lower order to leave Braywood all out for 149. Key bowling performances coming from Abdul Khaliq with 3-31 from his 12 overs and Blake Hogan-Keogh with 3-18 from 11.

The Harpsden innings got off to the worst possible start with Hogan-Keogh being dismissed first ball of the innings. The Aussies prolific opening partner Adam Birkett was to follow soon after as the home side found themselves 7-2 after three overs.

Ben Watson arrived at the crease fresh off an unbeaten ton for the second team last week and the veteran picked up exactly where he left off. The number three was quick to dispatch anything short of a length and alongside skipper Christian Whittaker the pair set about breaking the back of the run chase.

Whittaker played several crisp drives through the covers but he was unable to see his side home, chipping Waheed up in the air to depart for 33.

Stevens joined Watson at the crease and played the role of finisher, manipulating the ball to all parts and allowing the well-set batsman to guide the home side to victory. Watson finished on a match winning 82 not out and Stevens with a useful 21 not out.

Mayank Kedia played a match-winning innings as CHECKENDON climbed to second place in the table with a three-wicket win at winless PEPPARD STOKE ROW.

The hosts elected to bat but slipped into early trouble as Nick Sedgwick was bowled by an Amol Tyagi yorker and his son Jake was then run out. U16 duo Owen Simmons and Daniel Watts showed a maturity beyond their tender years as they started the fightback, the latter dismissed by Kedia when on 15.

Home captain Richard Ashton looked in fluent touch as he struck a brace of cover drives before sportingly walking when a faint tickle was snaffled by wicket-keeper Manpreet Singh, the umpire signalling wide as Ashton departed before reversing his decision.

Simmons (59) went onto record his maiden 50 while Sam Fooks (39 not out) and Michael Chard added 55 for the eighth wicket to see Peppard Stoke Row to 192-8 in their 45 overs.

Checkendon’s reply started disastrously as they slipped to 0-2 after three balls, Jason Vaughan-Davies picking up a brace with the latter aided by a stunning one-handed grab by Nick Sedgwick in the gully.

Singh and Kedia rebuilt the innings and after the former survived an appeal for caught behind off Vaughan-Davies — who was later taken out of the attack with a tight hamstring — he was eventually trapped lbw by Dion Sampson for 37.

Tyagi came and smashed a rapid 42 to put Checkendon in pole position, but U14 Oli Sedgwick’s 2-14 — aided by a one-handed slip catch by Vaughan-Davies — gave Peppard Stoke Row hope, only for Kedia (87 not out) to see his side home.

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