Harlow CC Weekend Round Up 29th June 2019

Harlow CC Weekend Round Up 29th June 2019

By Ben Yeats

AT around 6.30 on Saturday evening two exciting games of cricket were drawing to a close at Harlow Cricket Club. The first team had already returned from a comprehensive victory at strugglers West Essex whilst the Third XI were on their way to an excellent win away. On Marigolds, Rob Coldwell’s Second XI looked to be exerting control in their crucial league encounter with league rivals Westcliff on Sea. Six wickets down and still ninety odd required, with overs starting to run out for the visitors, things looked well in hand for the Harlow baggy greens. Meanwhile on Spicers the mercurial Fourth XI were in a rather large spot of bother with their opposition Gidea Park & Romford 3rd XI needing less than 30 to win with 5 wickets and a heap of overs left to get them.

Three quarters of an hour later the tables had turned on both sides of a baked club house. Rob’s charges were left wondering how that game had slipped away from them losing in the final over whilst the late kings of drama, the marvellous 4’s, had in the words of Britney Spears “done it again” and taken those last five wickets to win by 11 runs.

Onto more mundane matters and the First XI fixture at second bottom of the table West Essex. Sometimes you just look at a pitch and wonder whether it might just be preferable to shift the entire match into your own back garden and play there. Lush green with plenty of live grass yet some bare patches, a considerable cross slope and significant uneven mounds at both creases is arguably not what batsman or bowler are really looking for. England’s current one day side would barely make a run on something like this one suspects on current form. Nevertheless, having won the toss the hosts decided to bat. Difficult to tell if the loudest chuckle was from the umpires or skipper Jessey as they elected to have first dibs on this cricketing feast of a surface (maybe they’d not brought sun cream who knows).

Five overs in, with both openers still at the wicket, opening bowler Jason McNally was on the verge of internal combustion in the 90-degree heat having seen a total of four chances missed in the slips. Thankfully keeper Andre Riddell came to everyone’s rescue by holding onto the next chance and shortly afterwards Lee Jessey snaffled a sharp grab at second slip and we were away and running both wickets to the now calming McNally.

From that point on it was a completely devastating ten overs of fast accurate bowling from McNally as he ripped through the opposition batting taking 6-22 in his 10 overs bowled straight through. At the other end Joe Riddell, clearly troubled by the uneven run ups, wasn’t quite at his best but still chipped in with three wickets. Mitch Howarde replaced Joe and found significant swing with the tail enders not able to lay a bat pretty much on his offerings and he drew the innings to a close taking the final wicket with the score on a paltry 82 all out.

Jason McNally 6-22 (10 overs), Joe Riddell 3-38 (7 overs), Mitch Howarde 1-8 (4.4 overs), Sarfraz Ahmed 0-10 (1 over)

Any lingering doubts about a potential collapse in reply were extinguished by openers Ben Yeats and Lee Jessey who comfortably put on 37 for the first wicket before Lee, having just hit two exquisite boundaries, was bowled for 14. Fresh from his six wickets Jason McNally strode to the wicket clearly intent on an early shower (actually perhaps not on looking at them!) and clipped his first ball for six over the vacant square leg. Adding to the increasing ‘village’ feel to the game Jason then managed to get himself stumped next ball – off a medium pacer – with the keeper stood back.

Not too many surprises for the onlooking Harlow support that opener Ben Yeats (29 not out) and Rehman Ahmed (12 not out) maintained their recent form and comfortably saw the game out surpassing the hosts total in 13.1 overs. Anyway, the job was to get 20 points and get off home to watch the 2’s and that’s what they duly did.

To Marigolds then and the Second XI facing promotion rivals Westcliff on Sea. Having won the toss Rob Coldwell asked his inform openers, Syed Hassan & Zabi Hakimi, to get his side off to a flying start and so they did putting on 72 before Syed fell for 48. From a position of strength Harlow collapsed badly and were struggling at 135-6 when the skipper joined Zabi at the crease and began a more than useful recovery operation. When Zabi was dismissed for an excellent 82 the impetus was continued by George Messenger who added a further 50 runs in partnership with his captain in the closing overs. Harlow’s innings closing on 250-7 in 45 overs (Coldwell 34 not out & Messenger 38 not out).

Callum Sykes got Harlow off to a flying start in the second innings bowling opener Neil Harvey for a duck in the first over and along with Waheed Azam a tight check was maintained on the Westcliff scoring. Matt Hart was brought on first change and grabbed a pair of wickets whilst Zabi Hakimi ran out the dangerous Andrew Morley when well set on 39. When Sunni Ali claimed two quick wickets leaving the visitors six down with almost one hundred required and overs fading away there looked to be only one winner but for the second week in succession it wasn’t to be for the Harlow side. A combination of some very good batting, decidedly average fielding and too many gift deliveries allowed Danny Pheloung (79 not out) and Kamran Khan (44 not out) to steer Westcliff to the twenty points in the final over and in doing so virtually wipe out the points lead previously held over them by the 2’s.

A couple of big games coming up for this side who must regroup and be more clinical under pressure to ensure they don’t allow their fabulous start to the season to be wasted.

Sunni Ali 2-39 (5.4 overs), Matt Hart 2-51 (8 overs), Callum Sykes 1-27 (9 overs), Amir Farooq 0-42 (9 overs), George Messenger 0-30 (3 overs), Waheed Azam 0-34 (7 overs), Lewis Aldred 0-19 (3 overs)

The Third XI travelled to Harold Wood CC and having won the toss decided they preferred batting first in the 90-degree heat. Despite losing a couple of early wickets contributions from Atif Mustenhsen (69), Simon Baulcomb (68), Harry Burton (50), Ilham Mustafa (40) ensured we totalled a handsome 264-8.

Some good batting by the home side ensured they were still well in the game when Abdullah Farooq ran out Wood’s Glen Wooding for 62. This opened up the home sides tail and captain Faisal Javed made up for disappointment with the bat by removing the last three batsmen as Harold Wood closed on 245 all out in the final over.

Another very good win for the 3rd XI then that sees them climb to a season high 4th place in 3rd XI Premier Division.

You may have heard this before recently but having won the toss and elected to bat first on Spicers the 4’s were in trouble and lots of it early on. Only a match saving partnership between Rizwan Qayyum (49) and 16-year-old Nathan McCarthy (39) saw us scramble to a disappointing 163 all out.

Despite early wickets for Ali Zahid and Daniel Whelhams who removed both openers for nought Gidea Park looked very well set as Salman Elahi struck a confident 58 before falling to Dave Whelhams. Even at that point the visitors required a mere 30 to win with five wickets in hand. Even the most optimistic 4’s supporter was fearing the worst but no one should underestimate this side who are an example to the rest of the club. They just keep coming at you and at you and at you even more. In a frantic conclusion Ali Zahid and Mustafa Zaman managed to bowl (literally) the last remaining batsmen to claim yet another outstanding victory from the jaws of defeat – the winning margin 11 runs.

Ali Zahid 4-30 (8 overs), Dave Whelhams 3-26 (9 overs), Mustafa Zaman 2-36 (8 overs), Daniel Whelhams 1-23 (5 overs)

The 5th XI faced Tye Green in their HECL league clash at Hatfield Heath. Batting first Harlow posted 181-7 which was overcome by the visiting side from across town with the loss of only 4 wickets.

Sunday saw a full day’s cricket at Harlow CC. On Marigolds the U16 side featuring players as young as 13 produced a highly commendable fight back in the field to beat Hornchurch Athletic CC in the Match Play tournament. Batting first Harlow underperformed, despite a polished performance from top scorer 13-year-old James Forde who made 22, as we could only muster 153 all out. That total was actually significantly better than it really ought to have been as Hornchurch conceded over 60 extras, the vast majority in wides. However, the strength of this side has always been the bowling and coupled with some good fielding and intensity they maintained pressure despite trying to protect a low total as wickets fell at regular intervals. In the penultimate over facing well over a run a ball the final Hornchurch pair took on a suicidal second run and some sharp fielding ensured a 10-run victory for the baggy greens. Pick of the bowlers was Abdullah Farooq with 4-15 from 8 overs but everyone contributed to ensuring Jack Sykes side made a successful start to their campaign.

On Spicers the U12 side faced Woodford Wells in the Brian Taylor competition and won by 10 wickets chasing down a daunting 143 in 25 overs without losing a wicket.

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