Friday, 18 June 2021

Stern test for Henley in league showdown

THE winners will take all tomorrow (Saturday) as Henley host High Wycombe in the last

THE winners will take all tomorrow (Saturday) as Henley host High Wycombe in the last game of this year’s Home Counties Premier League, a 50:50 match starting at 11am.

Wycombe lead Henley by eight points but would be overtaken if the home team gain the 20 points on offer for a win, since the maximum bonus points for losing would be 10. They have only lost one match this season, against Slough, and certainly have strength in batting.

Adam Hose averages over 40, his tally including 108 not out against Burnham, and his opening partner Gavin Baker also has more than 400 league runs this season.

Paul Sawyer has been batting at three in the second half of the season, standing in for the injured Benning, and the all-rounder has an average above 30 including a 100 against Horspath. Topping them all is their skipper Nathan Hawkes, who invariably bats at four. The 26-year-old ex-Banbury man has 796 runs this season including four 50s and three 100s. Thanks to seven not-out innings, he has an average of 99.5 with a strike rate of not much less than one a ball.

Their seam attack has been led by Jonathan Burden though their spinners Kyle Simmonds and Adam Dobb have had the best returns. Simmonds, Wycombe’s left-arm overseas registered player from South Africa, is the league’s leading wicket taker with 38 including two five-wicket hauls. The right-arm off-spinner Dobb had the best figures of 4-37 when Wycombe beat Henley in early July. Young leg-spinner Amjaid has also featured in recent games.

Henley for their part have Michael Roberts on 801 runs, five more than Hawkes, and one of the strongest bowling line-ups in the league, with Afridi, Singh and Nugent all in the top-10 wicket takers this season, and Ashraf not far behind. Fielding is also likely to play a big part and the home team will be strengthened by the likely return of Brock and Carter.

This should be a cracking showdown as Wycombe could win the league for the first time since 2012 or Henley achieve a third successive championship for the first time in the league’s history.

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