Thursday, 24 June 2021

Ali and Ridgeway’s knocks in vain as hosts have the edge

HURLEY began the new season on Saturday with a trip to BLEDLOW RIDGE, where skipper Naeem

HURLEY began the new season on Saturday with a trip to BLEDLOW RIDGE, where skipper Naeem Akhtar called correctly and opted to bat first.

The Hurley innings started steadily with Phil Ridgeway and the skipper taking their time to get used to the pace of the wicket.

The opening partnership passed 50 in the 14th over but was broken two overs later when Akhtar tried to slog across the line to Rory Spiers.

Denis Day’s stay at the crease only lasted five deliveries, with only a bruise to show for it, courtesy of a full length delivery from Spiers which thudded into the batsman’s foot in front of middle and leg.

Josh Cole whipped his first delivery, a full toss, for a boundary but Spiers got his revenge and a third wicket two deliveries later as Cole junior edged on to his stumps.

Ridgeway started to get his eye in and a succession of boundaries and a couple of sixes followed as he shared in a fourth wicket partnership of 60 with Abdullah Ali. Saeed Ajmal got the much needed breakthrough for the home side dismissing Ridgeway for 69, at 125-4 in the 29th over.

Ali continued the acceleration, notching up eight boundaries and a maximum in his total of 70.

Wickets tumbled as the lower order batsmen looked to up the scoring rate, with Ali being the last to go in the final over as the visitors finished on 211-9.

The hosts’ innings started in similar fashion, with an opening stand of 52 in 13 overs between Jake Easton and Paul Cheshire.

Cheshire survived a loud appeal for leg-before off the bowling of Junaid Akhtar early in his innings before being trapped in front by the left arm spin of Ridgeway at 127-2.

With 15 overs remaining and 80 runs still required for victory, the game was evenly balanced but some hard hitting from Spiers and Simon Lloyd took the game away from Hurley.

Another wicket for Ridgeway and one for Junaid Akhtar couldn’t prevent the home side from reaching their target with six overs to spare.

HURLEY’S Sunday side opened their season with a first ever match against LUDDITES in what proved to be a low scoring affair.

The home side opted to bat first and the opening pair of Stephen Wright and David Morgans looked to be getting the better of Luddites’ opening attack, racing to 20 inside three overs before both openers gave their wickets away with loose shots, Morgans slicing Dehal to backward-point and Wright chipping Mountgrave to square-leg. The veteran pairing of Steve Taylor and Pat Hinnell set about rebuilding the innings with a solid partnership of 35. No Hinnell innings would be complete without a run out scare and only a botched attempt by the fielders saved Hinnell from being run out by several yards after setting off for a suicidal single and being sent back by his partner.

The Hurley innings became bogged down as all the batsmen found difficulty in getting the ball away and inevitably wickets were lost to catches as they tried to force the pace.

Andy Williams, with a combination of long hops and wide deliveries, saw off the lower order and only a last wicket partnership of 22 between Ben Fraser and Dave Walton gave the Hurley score some respectability and a fighting chance of victory.

The visitors’ reply suffered an early setback losing Oakley and Williams to the spin of David Morgans in the sixth over with only 10 runs on the scoreboard.

Dave Maunder made the most of his good fortune as Hurley spurned at least three chances to dismiss him, which ultimately proved decisive in the outcome of the match. Morgans struck again to bowl Harlow and Blair.

The dismissal of the Luddites skipper by Ross Brown at 40-5 put Hurley firmly in the driving seat but Maunder and Simon Taylor turned the tables with a 50 run partnership for the sixth wicket.

Ben Fraser bowled a tight line and was rewarded with the wicket of Taylor to give the hosts renewed hope before Maunder and McGrady saw their side home with eight overs to spare.

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