County rivals no match for unbeaten league leaders
HOME Counties Premier League Division 1 leaders HENLEY brushed aside OXFORD at the Brakspear Ground in a match
HOME Counties Premier League Division 1 leaders HENLEY brushed aside OXFORD at the Brakspear Ground in a match that was all over by 2pm.
As with the previous week, Bjorn Mordt won the toss and opted to field, and it did not take long for Henley’s sure-fire opening bowlers to make serious headway into Oxford’s batting line-up.
Tahir Afridi and Tom Nugent had both excelled in the previous week’s county match between Wiltshire and Berkshire, albeit on opposite sides.
This time they operated in harness to claim three wickets apiece in Oxford’s top six. Afridi’s second over saw the end of both openers, the Australian Ryan Carters, who played across the line to lose his middle stump, and the left handed Vishane Perera, caught behind for a duck.
Nugent, bowling with real pace, was soon in on the act, inducing an intemperate shot from Hands which found Roberts at slip. In the next over, only the seventh and with just half an hour gone, Afridi bagged his third, striking Crosby’s boot for a successful lbw appeal.
Shami Mendis joined Clough in the middle and the two of them tried to counter-attack, cutting and driving a number of stylish boundaries, but Nugent soon accounted for them, both caught behind.
In the 16th over Mordt brought himself on and, whilst Barrett bludgeoned a couple of fours back past him, he fell lbw in the Henley skipper’s third over, a wicket maiden.
Doran and Singh were introduced to the attack and needed only four overs between them to mop up the tail, Singh bagging Freddie Simon with his first ball before completing his maiden over. A feature of Henley’s attack was its intensity throughout, and the fielding was top drawer, seven catches including two exceptional efforts, both low down, the first by keeper Davison to his right and the second by Nugent at third slip, to his left. This ruthlessness put paid to Oxford, all out for 78 having used just 25 of their permitted 64 overs.
Henley required just half that number of overs to overhaul Oxford’s total. David Barnes returned to good form, hitting 36 runs from 28 balls. His eight fours were split equally between the brisk bowling of Will Rooney, including some lovely shots through cover, and the leg spin of Shami Mendis, mainly on the leg side but also a well-controlled lofted shot to long off. Mendis it was who had the last word, getting one to bounce which Barnes edged to slip. Two overs later Michael Roberts fell to Mendis lbw for 12 and with a late supporting role from Rowe, Jake Doran held the stage for his last innings for Henley before joining up with Australia U19s. Doran faced nine balls and hit two sixes and four fours in typical fashion. The coup de grace was a towering effort which disappeared somewhere over long on in the vicinity of White Hill. Befitting the manner of his contribution to Henley this season, he was applauded off the pitch, unbeaten on 28, by Oxford as well as his own teammates and supporters.