Cricket: Bride, groom, horse and helicopter stop play!

Harlow 5th 179-8
Belhus 5th 180-4

Harlow hosted this Shepherd Name Essex League fixture at the unique Hatfield Heath ground, which is set in the centre of the village. The outfield is dissected by the Matching Road – complete with tarmac and a certain volume of domestic traffic.

Additionally, the match was halted for the passing of combine harvesters and various other farm equipment. However, the most impressive “delay” was the arrival down the route of a four horse drawn carriage conveying a bride to the adjacent church; play having been suspended earlier by the helicopter arrival of the groom.

After the ceremony with church bells peeling, the newlyweds departed in the carriage once again through the outfield receiving a hearty round of applause from the Belhus fielders and the numerous spectators.

Now to the game, on “both sides” of the highway. Being asked to bat, Harlow’s Steve Wotton took a liking to the seam attack and while wickets fell regularly at the other end, the home opener struck some hefty blows to keep the scoring rate around the four an over mark until he fell victim to a hamstring injury that forced his retirement with 69 runs to his name. This slowed the run accumulation as junior member Billy Maidment joined veterans Mike Randall and Barry Ruck with two wickets each. .

After an excellent tea, Randall showed his prowess with the bat, ably assisted by a promising Belhus youngster, Ben Garwood, who scored 19, while 23 from John Wilson helped the Belhus cause still further. Randall carried his bat for 92 not out to match a personal best for Belhus while achieving the highest score ever recorded for the fifth team. The visitors eased to a six-wicket victory off 32 overs despite the valiant efforts of a very young and enthusiastic Harlow side. A memorable day all round.

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