Thursday, 29 July 2021

Henley stay top but victory run halted

HENLEY’S run of victories came to an end on Saturday, defeated not by the opposition but by the weather as

HENLEY’S run of victories came to an end on Saturday, defeated not by the opposition but by the weather as persistent showers through lunchtime and into the afternoon engulfed the Brakspear Ground and caused the game against POTTERS BAR to be abandoned with Potters Bar on 85-4 in the 27th over.

Winning the toss on a blustery and cool morning, Bar elected to bat and opener Dave Breeze was an early casualty, caught behind by Todd off a returning David Griffiths.

Progress was slow as Griffiths and Tahir Afridi exerted control and the hitherto prolific Sikandar was Afridi’s first victim of the day trapped plumb lbw.

Sogbogdor, the other opener, failed to cope with a bouncer from Afridi which he could only parry to Simon Wheeler at short mid wicket to make it 24-3, but that was it for a while as 17-year-old George Scott, a Middlesex Academy player, belied his years with an unbeaten 51 that included seven fours and two sixes and some stylish and eye-catching shots. Clearly a young player of some promise, he (almost exclusively) and Pascoe put on 47 for the next over before Pascoe was run out, Wheeler collecting at extra cover and returning the ball to the bowler Cameron Boyce who did the rest.

Bar’s 2013 overseas, Jomel Warrican from Barbados, was next up but the heavens opened and that was that. Other abandonments in Division 1 included North Mymms, home to Burnham, and High Wycombe away at Welwyn. Banbury and Slough drew but unfortunately from Henley’s perspective, Harpenden managed to win at Tring in a rain-affected game, Tring managing just 102-7 in 45 overs which Harpenden chased down with relative ease for the loss of four wickets in 22 overs, the much travelled Dan Blacktopp getting 53 of them. Henley remain top having not lost a game in 2013 but Harpenden are equal on points, both 23 points clear of Tring.

AN outstanding century from David Barnes and a five-wicket haul by Euan Brock enabled BERKSHIRE to reach the semi-finals of the MCCA Trophy.

They defeated CORNWALL by 61 runs in a rain-affected game at Falkland CC on Sunday to secure a date with Northumberland at Finchampstead on Sunday, July 14.

Berkshire were virtually in control for much of the game despite having their innings interrupted by a long day due to rain.

Having been put in to bat, they soon lost Harry Stephens, but Richard Morris smashed 58 off 49 balls while sharing in an 84-run partnership with Barnes.

In the process, however, Berkshire had to amend their game-plan, as rain caused a delay of 3 hours 45 minutes, which led to the game being reduced from 50 overs a side to 35.

But Barnes responded to the fresh challenge in magnificent style, pushing along the score at great gusto.

The in-form Henley opener reached his half-century off 76 deliveries, but needed just another 22 balls to reach his 100 with his third six of the day. He also hammered 13 fours. Barnes was eventually bowled for 106, being the fifth man out with the total on 211.

Brock, with 16, Shelvin Gumbs, 26 not out, and Richard Logan, 15, added valuable runs late on to put Berkshire in a healthy position at 247-6 off their 35 overs.

It meant Cornwall had to score at more than seven runs an over, which they hardly looked capable of achieving against a four-strong pace attack of Logan, Matt Carter, Tom Nugent and Simon Andersson.

Reading youngster Andersson was brought in at late notice to replace spinner Gurveer Singh, who had a family engagement. The pick of the four was Nugent, who struck in his first and fourth overs, dismissing both the Cornwall overs.

Singh’s absence heaped more responsibility on the shoulders of Brock in the spin department and the left-arm spinner rose to the occasion, achieving his best figures for the county of 5-49 off seven overs.

The pick of his wickets was his first.

Dan Davis lofted a ball high over his head, but Brock turned and ran 25 yards before diving to take a remarkable catch.

In the same over he trapped Neil Curnow for a duck.

He quickly followed up with two more wickets and with Stephens claiming one, the Cornwall innings had disintegrated from 102-2 to 117-7 in three overs.

A 37-run stand for the eighth wicket was ended by Brock before Nugent and Logan returned to the attack to finish off the job for Berkshire.

No 9 Rob Harrison at least went down with guns blazing, smashing 42 off just 23 balls as he hit five sixes and a four.

He was last man out, caught by Gumbs to give Nugent his third wicket of the game.

He had figures of 3-31, with 12 of those runs coming in his last over. Cornwall finished on 186 in the 29th over.

The other semi-final is between Hertfordshire and Shropshire.

Herefordshire are next up for Berkshire in the three-day championship, with the game starting next Sunday at Eastnor.

Richard Morris is unavailable, but Singh returns to the squad.

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