Cricket: Tricky pitch as Harlow Town beat Oakfield

Cricket / Tue 19th Aug 2014 at 07:20am

Oakfield Parkonians 1st XI 72 all out lost to HTCC 1st XI 75 for 6 by 4 wickets

Town arrived to find a pitch which looked full of demons, so the usual relaxed toss of the coin became a frantic must win for both teams. Skipper Ashley Alderson to the delight of his team mates called correctly and immediately invited the hosts first use of the track.

The League panel umpires were also concerned with the state of the pitch and having umpired there previously this season were just as nervous as the players as to how the track would behave. As it turned out the game as a contest was heavily influenced by the pitch, so much so that the umpires felt the need to report the pitch after the match.

Irrespective of the poor condition of the pitch the Town put in one of their best bowling and fielding performances of the season. Two direct hit run outs and six catches were safely taken as the Town tore through the hosts batting line up. OP’s overseas Jibran Azam who is a class above most others in this division managed to top score with 35 but even he was unable to resist the buzzing Town. Daniel Farmer (2 for 23), Mohamed Hassan Ali (2 for 25), Ramya Upahdyay (2 for 4) and Shaun Alderson (2 for 10) dismissed the hosts inside 25 overs for 72, which to be fair was a decent effort on that track. The Town would certainly not have wanted to have been chasing many more.

Pat Yates (8) and Shiraz Ali (17) settled the nerves before a flurry of wickets caused the Town a few nervous moments. The pitch was summed up nicely when Joe Holland (8) stretched forward to play a good length ball which then reared up and smacked him noisily on the helmet. Runs were never easy to come by, as OP’s did all they could to run through the Town line up with Paran Kalley (4 for 30) dismissing Ali, Holland, Upahdyay and Price, before a stoic 26 not out from Neil Gladwin settled the Town nerves. Skipper Ashley Alderson hysterically left a ball which pitched on off and hit off for no apparent reason to be bowled for 5 with 3 runs to win before Town eased home by 4 wickets and 35 overs to spare.

The Town remain in the top 2 with 4 games to go and have their promotion hopes firmly within their own hands.

HTCC 2nd XI 144 for 3 beat Oakfield Parkonians 143 all out by 7 wickets

The 2nd XI’s great season continued with a comprehensive victory against the usually difficult to beat Oakfield Parkonians CC.

Town won a vital toss and put the visitors in on a damp wicket. Conor Fussell opened the bowling and was unplayable as he extracted vicious lift and bounce troubling all the batters. The visitor found themselves 3-2 and then 65-5 with only Shah (38) showing any resistance. 

The middle order began to look more settled as the pitch dried out but Town found a way to break the partnership between Kalley (28) and Handa (29) as Charlie Coleman dismissed both in quick succession. The innings ended in the 52nd over as Tim Poulter mopped up the tail to see the visitors all out for a low total of 143. Charlie Coleman, Tim Poulter and Conor Fussell all picked up two wickets each. 

In reply Town, in front of the cheering 1st XI who had wrapped up a win earlier, started cautiously with Daniel Baldwin and Jason Gladwin putting on 40 for the first wicket before Baldwin played on.

Bilal Ali (39 no) batted sensibly and with Gladwin dominated the bowling to take town to the brink of victory before Gladwin was caught for 55 which included his first and second six for the club. The loss of Coleman briefly delayed the inevitable and Town completed a dominating performance in the 28th over for the loss of 3 wickets.

The 2nd XI sit top of the league by 1 point from Old Southendians & Southchurch CC but with a game in hand, and more importantly 60 points clear of 3rd placed Horndon-on-th-Hill.

South Woodford 4th XI 184 for 10 beat HTCC 3rd XI 109 all out by 75 runs

The 3rd XI need to forget this game quickly as a sub standard all round display left them nursing a heavy defeat at the hands of the in form South Woodford.

Winning the toss on a square looking in serious need of some TLC, the Town were confident of restricting the hosts to a reasonable target. However at 38 for 0 from 3 overs this looked very unlikely as Town fed the hosts a number of buffet balls which were consumed greedily by the ravenous openers. Although the no ball call for height of the first delivery which was smacked straight to mid on after where it was pouched may have taken the game a different route. Town clawed their way back into the game and whilst had moments of control the home batters were able to cut loose with regularity as Town continued to feed them. Paul Morrell, mainly due to his excellent second spell, picked up 4 for 49, Johan Cloete 2 for 27 with further wickets for Alfie Elston, Kevin Tilleard and Vic Goddard. Daniel Dewey was the only bowler to maintain any real control bowling an excellent spell of 9 overs for 10 runs. A last wicket partnership of 23 hurt the Townies who let the hosts off the hook a number of times during the innings and they finished on 184 all out from 48 overs. With a very getable total on a quick outfield especially with a strong batting line up, at least on paper the Town sat down for tea reasonably happy.

Town started slowly and the hosts bowling line up looking menacing. Bounce and movement off the now crusty top pitch with a soft bottom, caused the Town line up many problems, although Jake Messenger saw off the openers with a confident 19. Cloete (8), Tilleard (4) and Elston (3) came and went a bit too quickly for the stand in skippers liking and when Vic Goddard managed to engineer himself a run out in bizarre fashion for 14 the skipper was positively miserable. Brian Lall (33) gave the Town some hope, but it was all too late as the Town crumbled to a very poor 109 all out from just 36 overs to leave their promotion hopes in the balance.

Leaders Loughton were also soundly beaten picking up 4 points less (0) than the Town, news of which was the only point in a long day where the stand in skipper cracked a smile, albeit a painful looking one. The 3rd XI remain in the top 2 and are now 11 points behind Loughton with a game in hand.

HTCC 4th XI 155 for 4 drew with Epping 3rd XI 255 for 6 declared

Town won the toss and elected to bat on a damp wicket. Town missed what proved to be a very costly dropped catch in the slips off George Richardson’s first over, as opener Mohammed Zubair went on to score 110. Epping went on to score 255 for 6 declaring after 47 overs. Pick of the bowlers were George Richardson (3 for 42) and Sreerag Radhakrishnan (3 for 49).
With only around 40 overs in which to get the large total, Town needed a brisk start, but lost a wicket in the second over to put them immediately on the back foot. Aaron Simpson (43) and Sreerag Radhakrishnan (36) settled things down whilst George Richardson (42) again batted with maturity beyond his years in an excellent innings. With overs running out Town settled for the draw, picking up a couple of batting points along the way to a total of 155 for 4 from 41 overs.

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