Wednesday, 17 August 2022

Brothers keep their cool to guide side to victory against Strolling Optimists

HURLEY maintained their 100 per cent record in Sunday matches this season as they defeated visitors HAMBLEDEN at Shepherds Lane.

Hambleden arrived with only nine players due to late dropouts, so the hosts loaned them Yasir Gul and Mohammed Faizaan to ensure an 11-a-side contest.

Mo Basharat won the toss and opted to bat first in the sunshine. Openers Shoaib Kayani (27) and Haider-Ali Baig (60) got the home side off to a good start with a solid partnership of 46 ended when Kayani played a rash shot to Mahesh and was caught by Rosier.

A further 58 runs were added for the second wicket with Mubashir Nabi making a quick-fire 34. Baig, having started cautiously, gradually moved through the gears, playing some cover drives in the process.

The visitors were rattling through the overs as Grant bowled unchanged throughout the innings except to change ends. Mahesh had a five-over break as 13-year-old Faizaan bowled a spell of 0-32, no other bowlers were used.

Grant picked up three wickets in four overs to dismiss Mubashir Nabi, Mandeep Singh and Baig which put the brakes on what was looking like a massive score for the hosts.

Archie Wild (31 not out) and Usmaan Ali (seven not out) had added 21 for the eighth wicket, taking the score to 189-7 from 44 overs when Basharat declared.

The Hambleden reply got off to a devastating start with only a no-ball to show from the first over, followed by a double wicket maiden from Maz Nabi to dismiss Ollie Grant, caught at mid-on by a leaping Basharat, and Francis, clean bowled.

The ninth over saw a wicket-maiden from Hamzah Zaman, sending Crocket back to the pavilion with only four to his name at 19-3. This brought Yasir Gul to the middle and after a shaky start, he made the major contribution for Hambleden with 41 runs.

Usman Ali, playing his first ever game of adult cricket, dismissed Mahesh, clean bowled for a two-ball duck. At the start of the last hour, the match was beyond Hambleden, but Hurley still needed four more wickets to force a win.

Neither Liam Cole, Haider-Ali Baig or Joban Singh were able to break through some stubborn defence from Gul and James Grant, so Hurley turned to Mandeep Singh who started with two consecutive wicket maidens to get rid of Gul, caught behind, and Grant (24), bowled. Faizaan lasted 17 balls without managing to score before chipping Zaman to Basharat at short extra-cover, leaving Richards and Jackson to try and survive the last five overs.

Zaman sealed the victory with a delivery that proved too good for Richards, giving Hurley victory with 27 deliveries to spare.

Regular visitors READING LIONS batted deep at CHECKENDON as number seven Satish made 79 and the last five wickets accounte for 165 of the 233-run total. Despite this, there were strong performances from Checkendon’s three main seam bowlers, with Dil Pazir returning 4-33, 14-year-old Sudev Marar taking 3-30 and Rakesh Nair finishing on 2-21.

The home team’s run chase was heavily dependent on skipper and opening bat Sam Arrowsmith who struck his first century for the club, hitting 115 in 103 balls including two sixes and 17 fours out of a total of 195-8.

Dave Lambert’s 84 was the highlight of PEPPARD STOKE ROW MAHARAJAS’ performance as they went down by 64 runs to THEALE AND TILEHURST 2nds in a high-scoring run fest at the Les Clark Oval.

The hosts started well and picked up a couple of early breakthroughs, but a powerful century from first-team opener Tom White ultimately fired the visitors to an imposing 270-6 from their 35 overs. The target was always likely to be a tough one for Maharajas to chase, but with Lambert in form Sam Kimber hitting 38, the hosts put up a good show in totalling 206-6 in reply.

GREYS GREEN ran out winners in their home clash with STROLLING OPTIMISTS.

The hosts won the toss and decided to ask the Optimists to bat first as the wicket, although dry and true, did have a green tinge.

Optimists made a good start with 16 runs coming from the first over, eight from the bat of Mike Hinchcliffe and a further eight in byes due to the extravagant swing of Ahmed’s bowling.

Rugg bowled a fine opening spell offering little to hit while proving to be extremely dangerous to boot. He removed both father and son Mike and Max Hinchcliffe in the space of two overs.

Despite the loss of wickets the Optimist remained positive at the crease and scored freely. With three wickets down Greys changed the bowling and the pairing of Stanger and Singh set about their business. Marsh (16) and Janson (27) did well to weather the storm but both fell to good deliveries. Marsh was caught off a ferocious cut by Stanger while J’anson was caught at slip by Shafqat.

At this point the Optimists could have subsides to a below par score but O Symonds had other ideas. His counter-attack was one of the days highlights. He drove and cut his way to a well crafted 56 before being run out. Eventually the visitors were all out for 157.

Greys started their reply in a positive manner but lost Hoggart (nine) early. Pummary (27) and Singh (50) then put on a 50 run partnership before for former was bowled by Thorne.

Singh constructed a risk free and faultless 50 with the support of Shafqat (35 not out). Greys looked fully in control of the game at 129-2 but wickets started to tumble and soon they found themselves at 143-7. Throughout this collapse with everyone loosing their heads Shafqat remained calm and took Greys to victory in the company of his brother Ahmed who scored the winning runs with a four through midwicket.

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