Monday, 23 September 2019

Rowe hits century as side tighten grip on league title

Rowe hits century as side tighten grip on league title

ON a weekend beset by high winds and heavy showers, HENLEY emerged from their encounter with FINCHAMPSTEAD at Matson Drive with the better end of the draw and eked out their lead over Home Counties Premier League Division 1 second placed Datchet to 55 points with, now, just 80 points left to play for.

Wining the toss and putting the visitors into bat is Henley skipper Mike Roberts’ preferred option but, for a while, a combination of difficult windy conditions and some wayward bowling from seamers Tom Nugent and Andy Rishton combined to give Finch an electric start.

Very few away teams find themselves with 163 runs on the board at lunch in timed games, but that was exactly where Finch were, albeit with their two gun batsmen, Olly Soames and Dan Lincoln, back in the pavilion. Soames wildly flailed at Harry Jordan’s second delivery and had his stumps re-arranged while Middlesex Twenty20 star and Finch skipper, Lincoln, holed out attempting to clear the deep mid-wicket boundary.

Opener Smith pushed on, brought up a well-crafted century (16 fours and a six) and by the time he was out, Euan Woods’ third wicket, Finch were 201-4.

There were contributions all the way down the Finch batting order, notably from Bone who hit Rishton for 17 in the latter’s last over and former Henley seamer, Zac Jones, who struck some lusty blows on the way to an unbeaten 16 as the visitors completed their 64 overs on 298-9. This is the highest total anyone has made against Henley at home for long while. Woods, who bowled 26 overs, ended with 4-90.

Chasing down 299 for victory off 56 overs would have made for quite a challenge, but one well within Henley’s compass. Unfortunately, between innings, heavy rain intervened and Henley’s overs were correspondingly reduced to 45 which made life more difficult.

Openers Roberts and Matt Rowe embraced the challenge with gusto and style, and by tea, with 15 overs gone, were 69-0. But the rain returned in force, reducing the available overs to 36 which was always going to be a bridge too far.

Roberts departed on 68 in much the same way as had his opposite number Dan Lincoln, but Rowe, ably supported by Morris, brought up a century as the rain arrived for the last time to bring down the curtain on a game which was reduced to something of a farce by the visitors ringing the boundary and bowling with indifference.

Henley got past 200 and secured a third batting point which added to their overall lead in the standings.

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