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Cricket: Century highlight of Harlow win

Lifestyle / Thu 28th Jul 2016 at 03:01pm

HARLOW defeated Billericay to secure their third consecutive win in Division 1. It was a strong all-round performance by Rehman Ahmed’s men, one which puts them right back in the promotion mix.

An opening century partnership from the experienced Hafiz and young Alan Jones was exactly the start that Harlow needed after being put into bat on a good batting track and fast outfield. Jones was set on his way with a 4 off a free-hit while Hafiz was striking boundaries whenever the bowling strayed. Some classy shots by the pair wore down the Billericay bowlers but some less than classy calling and running suggested that a run-out was likely to be the dismissal of choice and so it proved: a mix-up led to the departure of Hafiz having just reached his 50.

As is so often the case the skipper Rehman Ahmed and the left-handed Ahmed Khawaja provide the aggressive mid-innings hitting that set Harlow on route to an imposing total. Firstly Ahmed struck a brutal 71 off just 52 balls, including eight 4s and two 6s. A lofted cover-drive off the spinner Ross Poulton in particular was a real crowd-pleaser. Then the imperious Khawaja sauntered in to hit 35 off only 18 balls, including five 4s.

It was a notable afternoon for Jones when, in the forty-seventh over, he clipped Adam Marchant through mid-wicket for a single to reached his maiden century for the First XI at the age of 15. The lad’s knock of 101 contained thirteen 4s and came off 139 balls. The innings also took him past 1000 runs for the First XI.

Rehman on his way to 71Rehman on his way to 71

Harlow lost a couple of late wickets in the quest for runs but finished with an impressive 306-6 off their 50 overs.

Tight bowling by Nicky Baxter and Mustanser Meraj kept the Billericay openers, Paul Martin and David Hinnigan, in check and never allowed the host’s reply to gain sufficient traction. Hinnigan (3) was eventually removed by Meraj, caught by Ahmed at first slip after a bit of a juggle. Callum Sykes’ second ball, a bouncer, was too sharp for Martin (6) who ballooned it to Mitch Howarde at
extra cover. Harlow continued to take wickets: Andy Smith (19), caught behind off Howarde, Poulton (24), excellently caught & bowled by Jake Messenger and Mark Harmer (32), bowled by Baxter. Despite this, and despite Billericay needing around 150 off the last 15 overs, the game did not look safe, not while their skipper David Houghton was at the crease. His terrific run-a-ball
century kept Billericay in contention. When on 104, Houghton struck Hafiz high towards the deep midwicket boundary, only to be superbly caught by Ubaid: a decisive moment in the game. The reintroduction of Baxter and his ensuing hat-trick, all bowled, finished the game with a flourish. Every bowler took a wicket but Baxter, with 7 overs, 4 wickets for only 11 runs, was outstanding.

Although the win leaves Harlow in fifth place, they are only 6 points behind second-place Orsett.

A compelling fixture next week: Orsett.

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