Cricket: Weekend Round-Up: Harlow CC held by Epping

Weekend Round 8th June 2019 – Harlow CC

PROLONGED overnight rain ensured that Harlow’s cricketers arrived at their various grounds to be met by green drying wickets that would be challenge to bat on. Consequently, Saturday saw mixed results as the 2nd & 4th XI’s maintained their current tremendous form to claim victories, the 1st & 3rd XI’s were held to tight draws whilst a youthful 5th XI lost for the first time in four games.

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Harlow’s first XI entertained local rivals Epping CC who were a much-changed outfit from that comfortably beaten in pre-season by the side from Marigolds. The toss was always likely to be crucial and unfortunately the coin didn’t go our way and the Epping skipper took no time in asking Harlow to bat first. Exaggerated variable bounce and some tight bowling ensured the runs were in short order as we struggled to 24-1 in 12 overs after the loss of Lee Jessey. Key all-rounder, Jason McNally, arrived at the crease and added some much needed impetuous to proceedings firing 43 at slightly better than a run a ball before being deceived by a slower delivery.

Opener Ben Yeats, & Rehman Ahmed then consolidated before pushing the scoring rate along with Ben making a hard fought 72 until he was caught with the score at 162. Late accumulation by the middle order batsmen (Rehman Ahmed 44, Charlie Coleman 21, Luke Monger 17 not out) who all scored at around a run a ball took our total to what appeared to be a highly competitive 227-6 in 50 overs.

In reply Epping found life every bit as difficult as their Harlow counterparts early on as Joe Riddell and Luke Monger tormented the batsmen with consistent quick & accurate delivery after delivery with numerous false shots and play & misses. At 59-4 after 22 overs Harlow probably were sensing a comfortable victory was within their grasp only to be frustrated by a combination of dropped catches and some fine stroke play by Epping batsmen Mujakkir Hussain (77) and Quazi Mubbasher Ahmed (51) as they added 98 for the 5th wicket.

When Jason McNally claimed the 6th wicket shortly afterwards, bowling Aswad Mohammed, there appeared to be opportunity for the much-needed home win only for Epping number 8 batsmen Manan Patel to almost completely turn the game on its head. Patel launched into the leg spin on offer blitzing 34 off his first 11 deliveries taking the visitors to within sight of a shock win. Harlow skipper, Ryan Jessey, turned back to his opening pace duo of Joe Riddell & Luke Monger for the final three overs and although the latter dismissed the destructive Patel the home side were unable to take the final two wickets needed as Epping concluded their innings on 216-8 (45 overs)

Joe Riddell 1-25 (11 overs), Luke Monger 4-53 (14 overs), Jason McNally 2-53 (8 overs) Sarfraz Ahmed 1-67 (8 Overs) Mitch Howarde 0-18 (4 overs).

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The top of the table 2nd XI travelled to Hadleigh & Thundersley and claimed a comfortable victory. Having won the toss skipper Rob Coldwell inserted the home side and watched his bowlers back up his decision with a superb effort to dismiss the opposition for 116 in 45.2 overs with Jake Messenger producing an outstanding spell of spin taking 5 for 38 in 16 overs. Jake was ably supported by Lewis Aldred 3-26 (7.2 overs), Matt Hart 1-14 (5 overs), Waheed Azam 1-19 (10 overs) and Callum Sykes 0-14 (7 overs).

It only took a fraction over 25 overs for Harlow to knock off the runs required with Syed Hassan scoring an unbeaten 45 with contributions from Zabi Hakimi (22) and Sunni Ali (25) leading to a comprehensive 8 wicket win.

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The 3rd XI were involved in an incredibly tight game at Chelmsford CC where huge credit must go to the bowling unit who defended their total of 171 all out to ensure a draw.

Batting first Harlow got off to a good start in the conditions with Faisal Javed top scoring with 54 alongside support from Asad Baig (25), Amir Farroq (19) and Ilhan Mustafa (17) but a flurry of late wickets left the home side on top at the mid innings break.

Dan Stone quickly dismissed the two Chelmsford openers before a third wicket partnership between Fard Waqar (51) and Jordan Campion (49) threatened to undermine Harlow’s bid to avoid defeat. It is to the enormous credit of all the bowlers that the two set batsmen were unable to get on top of the required rate and despite a desperate late bid to get over the line Harlow held their nerve to claim the draw as CCC reached 168-7 in 49 overs.

Amir Farooq 2-32 (11 overs), Dan Stone 2-32 (10 overs), Thomas Smith-Hughes 1-28 (7 overs), Faisal Javed 1-37 (8 overs), Abdullah Farooq 0-11 (6 overs) and Tyler Dobson 0-25 (7 overs).

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There was a sensational finish on Spicers as Harlow’s 4th XI somehow beat Horndon on the Hill 3rd XI in the penultimate over. Despite being put into bat in unfavourable conditions Harlow made an exceptionally good 246-9 with excellent mid order batting from Mustafa Zaman (57 not out), Haider Rasool (53), Syed Ali (41) and Omar Qureshi (22).

Some steady top order batting and a lack of early wickets suggested the game was drifting towards a draw when the ball was thrown to the evergreen gnarled veteran Dave Whellams. He took the key wicket of Ian Clark for 61 swiftly followed by a further brace but even at that point the draw was significantly odds on. In a crazy last two overs Whellams won a tight LBW decision leaving two wickets needed from the last 12 balls with the light fading. Inexplicably Horndon tail ender Steven Twigg shouldered arms to Mutafa Zaman and lost his off stump before Harlow took the last wicket needed in the most bizarre fashion as last man Swami Bala was run out going for a completely unnecessary & irrelevant second run to the pleasure of the sizeable crowd who had gathered to watch the game draw to its end.

Dave Whellams 4-8 (7 overs), Mustafa Zaman 3-46 (14 overs), Ali Zahid 2-55 (11 overs)

The 4s remain very much at the top of their division which is hugely encouraging considering they play virtually all their league fixtures against 3rd XI opposition.

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A youthful 5th XI travelled to top of the table Stanstead Hall & Elsenham but could not maintain their own excellent recent form losing by 70 runs. The home side batted first making a creditable 183-8 on a damp wicket which was always going to be as tough challenge against an experienced home bowling attack. Harlow were eventually dismissed for 113 in reply but it’s another learning experience for many of the side who are aged 13 and 14.

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