Thursday, 24 June 2021

Henley snare Harefield to move clear at top of table

HENLEY extended their winning run to five straight Home Counties Premier League Division 1 wins in

HENLEY extended their winning run to five straight Home Counties Premier League Division 1 wins in their home match with HAREFIELD on Saturday.

The visitors won the toss, elected to bat, and surprised everyone by setting off at a rapid rate.

Captain Simon Macey hit the first ball for three and his new opening partner Jalpesh Vijay took it from there: by the end of the second over, some five fours and a six later, he had taken the score to 30-0.

By the time Afridi had him caught by Barnes, Vijay had made 42 including eight fours and his six; he had taken the score to 59 and it was only the seventh over.

Macey and Scott Friend kept up the pace and by the end of the 10th over, with the score on 75 and Zimbabwean star Chamunorwa Chibhabha recently flown in and yet to bat, onlookers wondered where it would all end.



However, the ability of Bjorn Mordt, his bowlers and his fielders to regain control is a mark of the team. Mordt himself helped to apply the brakes, induced a much better spell from Nugent from the far end, and then set his spinners to work for the remainder of the innings.

Ashraf bowled tidily for 10 consecutive overs from the pavilion end, the second of which being a wicket maiden to account for Macey, well caught at cover by Nugent.

Chibhabha hit a couple of fours before succumbing to a casual loft to deep midwicket, nicely taken by Barnes. The batsmen had crossed but Friend would regret it as Ashraf’s next ball enticed him lamely to dab a catch to Doran at slip. Ashraf’s subsequent over was another wicket maiden, coaxing Richards to loft a high catch to Roberts at cover, giving him figures of 4-25. At the other end Singh wheeled away for nine overs, costing only 18 runs and picking up the wickets of Tidey and Ogden in the middle order.

Matt Rowe got into the act with his own right arm off-spin, his second over being a double wicket maiden, and he polished off Harefield’s tail with his third victim in the 40th over. Harefield’s score was 151, merely double their tally after 10 overs.

For Henley’s reply, Harefield believed they had learnt the lessons of their own innings and deployed spin at one end to complement Chibhabha’s brisk and nagging seam from the pavilion end. He was soon causing problems as he despatched Barnes and then Rowe without scoring, bowled and caught behind respectively.

Doran entertained with a couple of fours and an effortless six into the allotments from Chibhabha’s length ball, before being caught on the long-off boundary by Friend off Morris’ spin. At the other end, opener Michael Roberts sailed on with a faultless display of batting, not taking undue risk but dispatching the bad balls to good effect.

Ashraf came in at number five in the 13th over with the score on 48, sedate by the standards of Harefield’s start but well within the required run rate. He clouted a couple of fours to long-on in Morris’ fifth over, but was shortly caught and bowled by Chibhabha as he misjudged a slower ball. It was the Zimbabwean’s third victim but he had bowled himself out. Henley were not out of the woods but Mordt steadied the ship with a captain’s innings, steadily accumulating 32 runs including five fours in a partnership with Roberts of 56, before being caught at square leg off the bowling of Ogden’s right arm spin. Henley now required 27 to win but had plenty of time to get them, and they bat deep. Next in was keeper Davison who has impressed this season with the high quality of his batting, and he and Roberts calmly saw out the match without alarm. Roberts finished not out on 61, including six fours, having done exactly as the team required.

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