Thursday, 18 July 2019

Rowe and Morris combine to maintain unbeaten run

Rowe and Morris combine to maintain unbeaten run

HENLEY made it eight games unbeaten this season and remain at the top of the Home Counties Premier League following a comfortable win at home against HORSPATH last Saturday.

Winning the toss, Horspath elected to bat, thereby condemning the home side to 64 long hot overs in the field as the visitors lost just five wickets on a flat wicket that favoured bat over ball.

However, a total of 227 was below par, reflecting a lack of urgency and attacking spirit until it was too late. As a total to chase, it was exposed for what it was as Henley cruised to victory.

Nine overs in, Tom Nugent had nipped out opener Coleman and had his replacement Rob Eason caught at slip but that would be the only wicket taking activity for the morning session as surviving opener O’Connor and South African overseas Daryll Brown went about their business relatively untroubled and steadily accumulated.

In the stifling heat the game developed a soporific almost slow motion feel, though that is to take nothing away from Henley’s assiduous fielding. On 101-2 at lunch after 21 overs, Horspath had probably shaded the morning session but although Brown had injected some momentum into run-getting with his shot placement and selection, the need to get a bit of a wiggle on was already apparent.

The struggle for runs continued into the afternoon, just 37 coming from the first 15 overs after lunch. By then, half centurion O’Conner had been snapped up, caught and bowled by Matt Rowe and less than 20 overs remained. Brown clearly sensed the need to push on but the show of urgency and concomitant flurry of runs was all a bit too little too late though Henley’s containment bowling should not be overlooked by any means.

Brown perished in the process, caught at long on, but Green and Hopper pushed on with purpose until Green fell with one ball to go to Scriven caught at long on by Charlie Homewood, giving the incoming Hawtin the opportunity to score just one run to make it 227.

Run chases in timed games can be tricky affairs, always bearing in mind that the side batting second have eight less overs to overhaul the score of the side that bats first which in turn must take 10 wickets for less than their score if they are to win. Sometimes, the tension between the two processes can produce exciting finishes.

But this was not one of them as Horspath found the business of wicket-taking even harder than their hosts. Horspath skipper Will Eason had an early success with his gentle medium pace to remove his opposite number, Michael Roberts, caught and bowled, a soft and frustrating dismissal on a day when there were runs aplenty to be had.

Tom Scriven was equally unhappy to be given out lbw when looking well set. It was left to opener Rowe and Richard Morris to show how it should be done, the pair keeping the pressure on the fielders the whole time with some excellent running between the wickets, seldom missing out on the boundaries when they were there for the taking.

Belcher toiled away for 21 overs for very limited return but the Henley pair showed plenty of intent and skill and Morris sealed the win with a boundary with 19 balls to spare.

Tomorrow (Saturday) Henley travel to the only other unbeaten side in the league, second placed Datchet, as the season reaches the half way mark.

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