Saturday, 19 June 2021

Skipper in fine form as side progress

HENLEY booked themselves a place in the Home Counties Premier League Twenty20 finals day at Harefield next month thanks to two victories against Division 2 opposition on Bank Holiday Monday.

This year rounds one and two of the competition took place on the same day with Henley part of a four club group that included Banbury, Buckingham Town and Wokingham. On a day when an overcast start morphed into a sunny and warm afternoon, a large crowd was treated to some enterprising and entertaining cricket.

First up were hosts Banbury and Buckingham Town. The home side posted 148 which, for the first half of the Buckingham innings, looked as though it was going to be more than enough. But in T20, games can be turned on their heads in no time at all and some mighty hitting from Callum Price and Jack Parish saw Buckingham home with five balls to spare.

Next up were HENLEY against Division 2 newcomers WOKINGHAM. Some fine and measured batting from skipper Michael Roberts (63), Dave Allaway (36) and Richard Morris (46) saw Henley to a total of 173, which Wokingham (74-6 in 20 overs) never seriously challenged.

This brought HENLEY and BUCKINGHAM together for the day’s decider. Electing to bat, Henley once again posted a challenging 171-2. Once again skipper Roberts was to the fore with an unbeaten 75 not out assisted by the destructive Morris (58) and Zia Ashraf (15 not out).

This time around, defending that total proved more of a challenge. At half distance, Buckingham were 69-1 as Henley had been and by the end of the 17th over, which went for 21 off spinner Euan Brock that included three mighty sixes by Price, Buckingham were 147-3 and an upset looked on the cards. But Tom Nugent returned for the 18th over and Buckingham could manage just four runs.

In the 19th, Brock held his nerve and adjusted his length and accounted for Price, stumped by Mikey Williams. Just two runs came, leaving Buckingham needing 18 off the last over. It was not to be, and with Nugent again on the money, Buckingham were short by 14.

All in all, a good all-round display by a Henley side with some good work in the field and some excellent keeping by youngster Williams who ended the day with three stumpings and a run-out to his name.

Henley will be joined at finals day on July 22 by Slough and High Wycombe with the identity of the fourth participating side yet to be determined.

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