Sunday, 20 June 2021

Jones bludgeons century as top two settle for draw

HENLEY had to settle for a draw in their top-of-the-table clash with HARPENDEN at the Brakspear Ground on Saturday.

HENLEY had to settle for a draw in their top-of-the-table clash with HARPENDEN at the Brakspear Ground on Saturday.

The hosts’ lead at the top of the table was cut to 16 points after Harpenden took away 13 points to Henley’s 10 in their Division 1 Home Counties Premier League encounter.

This was a game which owed much to one big innings by Harpenden’s Will Jones and a failure by the home side to kill off Harpenden when they were 60-6, allied to a loss of momentum when Henley batted following the departure of Michael Roberts for the third wicket.

Skipper Bjorn Mordt won the toss on a warm and sultry morning, perfect bowling conditions, and lost no time inserting the visitors.

Blacktopp, a golden duck, was Afridi’s first victim. His replacement, Harpenden’s South African overseas player Chad Breetzke, having played several loose shots, fenced a Nugent delivery to Dave Barnes at point and it was 1-2 which became 15-3 when Nugent sent Frazer’s off stump flying.

A repeat of last year when Harpenden were shot out for 116 looked on the cards.

Opener Cooper and skipper Lamb endeavoured to consolidate before Cooper shuffled across his stumps and was adjudged lbw to Mordt.

Cameron Boyce, replacing Mordt from the Remenham Hill End, was immediately on the money as Lamb was caught behind and when Mordt caught Latham at slip off Boyce, Harpenden were teetering on the brink at 60-6 until Jones entered the fray.

Jones, a close season recruit from West Herts, took the game by the scruff of the neck and hit the ball all around and on occasions out of the ground. No one was spared as 12 fours and seven sixes bear witness. Anything within his arc was swiped mainly down the ground or to or over long-off.

Recognising that Jones had taken a real shine to the spin of Boyce and Gurveer Singh, Mordt rang the changes bringing back Nugent, himself and Afridi but it made little difference.

In between whiles, Pankhurst chipped in 32 runs before becoming Mordt’s second lbw victim. When Afridi, for the second time of asking, took a difficult catch at deep mid-wicket to dismiss Jones, the damage had been done and 60-6 had become 214-8. Jones’ 113 came off just 95 balls.

Boyce and Mordt rolled up the rest of the innings in short order and just 63 overs but Harpenden had built a defendable total.

Roberts and Barnes opened the batting for Henley. Jones reappeared as an opening bowler and charged down the pitch where Roberts nonchalantly deposited a couple of his deliveries in Remenham Lane and the allotments.

Jones succeeded in removing Barnes lbw for seven, a score equalled by both Fahim Qureshi and Dave Allaway. However, it was the loss of Roberts, caught low down by Breetzke at short and wide mid-on, off Fraser that stalled the innings.

Hamza Riazuddin ground out 39 off 90 balls, Mordt fell lbw to Jones for eight and Todd Ferguson ran himself out for 11.

With Frazer, who bowled 28 overs for 3-66, keeping things tight from one end and Henley unable to form any lasting partnerships, a draw seemed inevitable.

It was left to Boyce to give a hint of what might have been with an unbeaten 43 including nine fours. Such was the speed with which Harpenden bowled their overs that Henley were accorded another six overs before the witching hour of 7pm came around with the hosts ending on 190-7.


D Blacktopp, lbw, b T Afridi 0

G Cooper, lbw, b B Mordt 16

C Breetzke, c D Barnes, b T Nugent 0

B Frazer, b T Nugent 10

N Lamb, c T Ferguson, b C Boyce 19

J Pankhurst, lbw, b B Mordt 32

J Latham, c B Mordt, b C Boyce 4

W Jones, c T Afridi, b B Mordt 113

A Spencer, c B Mordt, b C Boyce 21

S White, not out 4

O Tuck, c T Nugent, b B Mordt 0

Extras 4


Best bowling: B Mordt 4-26, C Boyce 3-70, T Nugent 2.25.


M Roberts, c C Breetzke, b B Frazer 42

D Barnes, lbw, b W Jones 7

F Qureshi, st A Spencer, b B Frazer 7

D Allaway, lbw, b B Frazer 7

H Riazuddin, c D Blacktopp,

b J Pankhurst 39

B Mordt, lbw, b W Jones 8

T Ferguson, run out 11

C Boyce, not out 43

T Afridi, not out 11

Extras 15

TOTAL (7 wkts) 190

Best bowling: B Frazer 3-66, W Jones 2-43.

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