Friday, 18 June 2021

Nugent’s pace proves too much for visitors

HENLEY maintained their 100 per cent start to their Home Counties Premier League campaign on Saturday

HENLEY maintained their 100 per cent start to their Home Counties Premier League campaign on Saturday as they defeated SLOUGH by 23 runs in an enthralling encounter.

The match, played out on a true hard deck at the Brakspear Ground, increasingly became a batsman’s paradise as the day wore on with 559 runs being scored.

Winning the toss on an overcast morning, ideal for bowling, Slough put the home side into bat hoping for early wickets.

Openers David Barnes and Matt Rowe got their team off to a solid start and when Nawaz bowled Rowe, there were 51 runs on the board. Barnes soon followed caught at slip. By then, Slough had been deprived of the bowling services of Shaan Khan who had succumbed to a groin strain.

Barnes’s departure brought Richard Morris to the crease to join skipper Michael Roberts and the game entered what would prove to be a crucial phase as Slough’s quest for wickets was frustrated by both batsmen who never let the ball dominate. They kept the scoreboard moving steadily along with an array of fine shots including a couple of sixes into Remenham Lane by Morris, and some nifty running, taking advantage of an increasingly spread field and a dropped catch or two.



HENLEY maintained their 100 per cent start to their Home Counties Premier League campaign on Saturday as they defeated SLOUGH by 23 runs in an enthralling encounter.

The match, played out on a true hard deck at the Brakspear Ground, increasingly became a batsman’s paradise as the day wore on with 559 runs being scored.

Winning the toss on an overcast morning, ideal for bowling, Slough put the home side into bat hoping for early wickets.

Openers David Barnes and Matt Rowe got their team off to a solid start and when Nawaz bowled Rowe, there were 51 runs on the board. Barnes soon followed caught at slip. By then, Slough had been deprived of the bowling services of Shaan Khan who had succumbed to a groin strain.

Barnes’s departure brought Richard Morris to the crease to join skipper Michael Roberts and the game entered what would prove to be a crucial phase as Slough’s quest for wickets was frustrated by both batsmen who never let the ball dominate. They kept the scoreboard moving steadily along with an array of fine shots including a couple of sixes into Remenham Lane by Morris, and some nifty running, taking advantage of an increasingly spread field and a dropped catch or two.



By the time Roberts was given out lbw, missing a Green delivery, a job had been done and a valuable 105 run partnership had put Henley on course for a competitive score.

Morris was now joined by Zia Ashraf and the pair continued the good work. Initially Ashraf was content to ease himself in, picking off singles and supporting his more established partner, who now began to press the accelerator, bringing up 200 for the team in the 42nd over and celebrating that milestone with another six.

A second century of the season was not long in coming and was followed by a trio of sixes that peppered the Pavilion End. By now Ashraf was joining in the fun and finding the boundary. Eventually, Morris was bowled round his legs by Hussain for 125 that included nine fours and six sixes.

Having amassed 289 runs for the loss of just four wickets in 49 overs, the last over descended into farce as Henley lost five wickets for just two more runs. Euan Woods was caught at long off, Ashraf added the final two to the total for 51 before Stewart Davison was run out standing out of his ground without facing a ball, followed by Ashraf, lbw, Afridi, stumped and Mordt caught at short midwicket, both first ball ducks.

This was a good over for Slough skipper Sher who picked up a hat-trick and saw his figures improve from 0-63 off seven overs to 4-65 off eight.

This was a creditable and eminently defendable total for Henley, but now, with the sun shining and the wicket flat, Slough would have the best of the batting conditions. The Slough innings would eventually divide into four distinct parts — disastrous start, brilliant fourth wicket partnership, dangerous fifth wicket partnership and tense end game.

First the disaster as Slough found themselves three down for just 13 runs in three overs as Avas, then Baig then Hussain had no answer to Tom Nugent&rsquos pace, all three caught behind. But the dust settled and Patternott was now joined by Yousaf, Slough&rsquos overseas professional from Pakistan, and the duo began to accumulate runs with relative ease.

At mid-way drinks with the score on 135, both batsmen well set and Slough on course, Henley were in dire need of a wicket or two. In the event Patternott gave his wicket away when he went down the wicket to a Gurveer Singh delivery and was stumped.

This began phase three of the Slough innings as Sher now joined Yousaf and the score continued to mount ominously, 200 coming up in the 36th over. Yousuf celebrated his century in the 41st over with the score on 220 but, like Patternott, gave away his wicket by holing out to Woods at long on off the spin of Rowe.

This proved the decisive turning point. Whilst Sher remained at the crease, Slough were still in with a chance but with the departure of Yousuf went the game.

Roberts now brought back Afridi and Nugent into the attack. Green played some shots, finally slapping Afridi through the covers for four only for an unfazed Afridi to bowl him next ball.

In hobbled Khan, returning to the pavilion just three balls later, bowled Nugent, Sher fought on and it took a catch by keeper Davison, diving low to his right to remove him. Even then with 39 needed off the last four overs, it was game on.

Nugent removed Rana&rsquos off stump, but Nawaz and Raja threw bat at ball and took 13 off the 48th over leaving 24 needed off the last two overs. However, Nugent then removed Raja&rsquos middle stump to win the match and end with figures of 6-26.



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