Sunday, 25 July 2021

Henley prove too strong

OPENER Michael Roberts made a club–record score of 155 as HENLEY hosted newly–promoted HORSPATH in the Home Counties Premier League

OPENER Michael Roberts made a club–record score of 155 as HENLEY hosted newly–promoted HORSPATH in the Home Counties Premier League on Saturday.

The visitors won the toss and asked Henley to bat in favourable bowling conditions, with  Roberts and David Barnes seemingly intent on building a solid foundation for the innings against Australian left–arm pace bowler Adam Price and seasoned skipper Will Eason with his probing away swing. 

By the end of the 10 over power play, a trio of fours had helped the score on to a modest 19–0 but, with the introduction of right arm seamer Faruq as first change bowler, the openers steadily began to open up and, by the end of the 20th, the score had moved to 65, including a huge six by Roberts.

The introduction into the attack of Horspath’s newly signed all–rounder Adam Mould, previously of Bledlow and Dinton, had some impact.

Although he was unable to stem the flow of runs, he did progressively take wickets, eventually accounting for all of Henley’s top five. 

His first victim was Barnes, caught by the keeper on 27 with the score on 92. 

By this stage Roberts had passed 50 and was joined by lefthander Rowe, who evidently enjoys batting on Henley’s wicket. 

He began purposefully, hitting the ball hard and true and, by the time of his  dismissal for 44 from 50 balls and concluding a partnership of 122, Henley were on 214–2 in the 42nd over.

Roberts had reached his century five overs previously and was now playing uninhibitedly, smashing 16 fours and six sixes on his way to a club record of 155, eventually being stumped off Mould in the 46th over, to universal and well–deserved applause.

Horspath battled away as Henley’s later batsmen came and went in the understandable desire to push on the score.

The visitors introduced two talented 15–year–old spinners into the attack, including Lloyd Belcher who had taken four wickets away at Banbury. On this occasion his only victim was Davison who, brought in at No 6, hit a typically enterprising and productive 22 off 11 deliveries. 

Henley finished on 296–7, a steep target for any side batting second.

Nugent was reunited in the attack with Afridi, returned from injury, and the former soon had Horspath’s opener, Kitt Cutter, caught by keeper Davison.

Things settled down for a while as Oxfordshire’s No 3 James Phillips joined the other opener, the young left handed debutant Harrison Ward.

As dark clouds gathered to threaten rain, skipper Mordt quickly introduced spinners Rowe and Ashraf to speed up the overs, and it was in fact Rowe who accounted for Phillips lbw, becoming his first victim for the club.

As the weather held off, Horspath inched their way to 68–2 when in the 21st over Robbie Eason, batting at four, flashed outside the off stump to give another catch to Davison, this time from the bowling of Carter.

Mordt continued to ring the changes, using as many as eight bowlers to work their way through a succession of Horspath batsmen, none of whom got beyond 20 runs.

The outstanding exception was young Ward, still there resolutely almost to the end, finally falling just short of his half century, lbw to Brock who also picked up four other tail end wickets as the visitors finally succumbed all out for 153.

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