Sunday, 15 December 2019

Davies smashes century as Henley retain league title

Davies smashes century as Henley retain league title

HENLEY confirmed their status as Home Counties Premier League champions with a thrilling, edge of the seat victory over HIGH WYCOMBE in front of the largest crowd seen at Matson Drive for quite a while.

No other club has won the Division 1 title eight times or won three consecutive championships.

On Saturday, Henley had to strain every sinew to maintain their unbeaten record against a High Wycombe side determined to show that a season of underachievement does not represent the undoubted quality of the group.

Heavy dew made for a half-hour delayed start, Henley winning the toss and deciding to bat.

Groundsman Charlie Jacobsen had produced a fantastic cricket wicket that just got flatter and flatter and made for the 670 runfest that unfolded.

Henley openers Mike Roberts and Matt Rowe got off to a decent start against Parsons and Hampton but both were undone by the gentler pace of Chandrasegaram. who induced two rather tame dismissals, both caught at shortish cover.

That brought together the most fruitful 174-run partnership of the day between Jack Davies and Richard Morris.

Middlesex youngster Davies’ 119 really showcased his undoubted talent, scoring all round the ground at more than a run a ball.

Morris, too, followed up last week’s efforts at Buckingham with an equally compelling performance.

The score mounted steadily, the Wycombe bowlers powerless to staunch the flow. Even skipper Dan Marles, more of a part-time bowler, had a go, but his four overs cost 40 runs. He was not alone.

In the circumstances, Parsons’ 10 overs for 45 runs was pretty good but Dobb, Hampton and Burden were expensive.

It was little different when Henley bowled. If anything, the wicket was even more of a batsman’s paradise and it was not long before a distant 337 looked like being chased down with overs to spare.

By then substitute fielder, Ronnie Brock, father of Euan, who turns out for the Berkshire over-60s had written himself into the annals by taking the catch that put paid to Russell, Wycombe’s first wicket — much to the delight of his new teammates.

But after that, it was all one way traffic as Callis and Marles went to town, Henley a bowler down with Scriven injured. When Callis was out, Louth kept up the barrage. By the end of the 31st over, Wycombe were cruising at 212-2 and 125 in 19 overs looked a doddle.

But the game now entered a key phase as the spin of Ali Raja, Euan Woods and Matt Rowe exerted some much needed control. Marles and Louth are big hitters when they can free their arms but having balls darted at their feet was not to their liking and crucially slowed the run rate. Even then, 85 off the last 10 overs was still within range.

Vitally, Henley prised out Marles, smartly caught at cover by Roberts, and then Louth caught in the deep by Morris, both down to Nugent although the 45th over that removed Louth went for 15. The loss of momentum that wickets bring was all important. But Wycombe were not done yet. 21 off 12 became 11 off six. A single off the first, a four off the second, a dot ball third, and Casterton run out by the bowler Rishton in the fifth left Parsons needing a boundary for victory.

All he could do was play it into the covers for a single and that was that, once again this year between these teams, albeit in reverse, to the massive relief and elation of the home support and the disappointment of the travelling support.

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