Monday, 14 June 2021

Singh’s exploits not enough as county side crash out of cup

BERKSHIRE failed to get past the first round of the Unicorns Counties Twenty20 competition at Harpenden on Sunday

BERKSHIRE failed to get past the first round of the Unicorns Counties Twenty20 competition at Harpenden on Sunday despite Henley’s Gurveer Singh and Richard Morris producing the two best individual performances on the day.

They defeated BUCKINGHAMSHIRE by eight wickets in their opening game which was reduced to 16 overs each following a break for rain.

But they then lost by 23 runs to BEDFORDSHIRE, who had earlier defeated hosts Hertfordshire by five runs in an eight-over slog.

Berkshire were forced to make several changes to the 13-man squad they had named last week. Henley trio Euan Brock (hamstring), Stewart Davison (thumb) and Matt Carter (shoulder) were all ruled out through injury, as was Finchampstead bowler Callum Gregory, while Henley opener Michael Roberts was not available.

Into the side came Finchampstead batsman Dan Lincoln for his first since appearance since 2012, along with Reading duo Sukhi Kang and Andy Rishton. They joined club-mate Martin Andersson, who was making his senior debut for the county.

In their opening game, Berkshire shot out Buckinghamshire for 96 after Singh had taken four wickets for five runs in the space of four overs, which included a double-wicket maiden. The left-arm spinner also took a high catch on the long off boundary to dismiss Falkland all-rounder Hamza Riazuddin for 20 to give teenager Andersson his first Berkshire wicket.

Berkshire only needed 10 overs to win the match at 101-2 after a spectacular display of powerful hitting by Richard Morris who hammered 78 not out off just 33 balls.

Fellow opener Chris Peploe was dismissed for a duck, while Dan Lincoln was bowled for 14 with Waqas Hussain left unbeaten on four.

With James Morris winning the toss for the second time in a matter of hours, Berkshire again fielded first against Bedfordshire. With his third ball, Peploe trapped Luke Thomas lbw and three overs later Andy Rishton ran out Nick Lee to leave their rivals 30-2.

Beds then strung together three useful partnerships, 37 for the third wicket, 48 for the next and 33 for the fifth. They finished up at 156-6 off their 20 overs with Andy Reynoldson making a half-century off 45 balls.

Peploe again opened the batting, but soon lost Lincoln, who was bowled for two off the first ball of the second over.

However, Peploe and Richard Morris got the Berkshire innings moving along nicely and they lifted the total to 74.

Morris was out for 30 in the 11th over, while Peploe and Hussain added another 21 before the latter was dismissed for four.

It was now 95-3 in the 13th over and at this point Berkshire were looking the slight favourites. However, that quickly changed. James Morris was dismissed for a duck, Stephens was bowled for five in the next over and soon afterwards Peploe was unluckily ran out when just one short of his half-century.

Having lost four wickets in three overs, Berkshire had fallen behind the required run rate and their tailenders were never able to catch up. They finished on 133-7, with Andersson left unbeaten on 18.

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