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Cricket: Monger’s all round display keeps promotion challenge on track

Cricket / Mon 5th Aug 2019 at 07:01am

Monger’s All-Round Display Keeps Promotion Challenge on Track

THE return of warm conditions saw Harlow Cricket Club’s three promotion challenging sides all record victories. The First XI completed a nervy win at Marigolds, making hard work of defeating midtable Goresbrook, whilst on the other side of the club house the 4th XI were comprehensively beating Walthamstow 3rd XI primarily thanks to a ton from Ian Nuttall. Down the A127, at Old Southendians, the Second XI recorded an extremely tight hard-fought win, overcoming the home side by 12 runs. Late call up, Jack Sykes, played the defining innings striking an unbeaten 82 not out. The 5th XI also won making it an excellent weekend for the club with Johnny Allen hitting a hundred supported by a superb effort in the field from his young teammates.

First XI

Back to Marigolds then and Ryan Jessey’s First XI looked to be in total control during the early stages of the afternoon despite losing the toss and having to bowl first in batting friendly conditions. Tight hostile pace bowling from Harlow’s Luke Monger and Jason McNally ensured runs were hard to come by in the early stages of the Goresbrook innings as the visitors scratched their way to 24-1 in the opening 10 overs. The introduction of Waheed Azam as first change bowler brought the important wicket of Jordan Calverley, enabled by a sharp catch at mid-off by McNally, as Harlow looked to be assuming total control.

Some fine batting from the league’s second highest run scorer, Shane Barwick, ably supported by young wicket keeper batsman Danny Gillham Junior, added 50 for the fifth wicket before the impressive Mitch Howarde decisively swung the game back towards the home side with two wickets in two balls. Barwick was caught at mid-wicket, by a fine low diving catch from Ben Yeats, before Howarde trapped Lee Jones LBW with a in swinger that bamboozled the new batsmen. Incredibly, Howarde found the edge on his hattrick delivery only for the catch to be put down behind the wicket. This was one of three clear chances put down in the game by Harlow who must eradicate such errors in the key games left as the season draws to a close.

Nevertheless, with the exception of a frustrating last wicket partnership of 27, the baggy greens were not made to pay for their generosity as a returning Luke Monger polished off the innings dismissing Gillham Junior for a very well made 66 to close the innings on 173 all out.

Waheed Azam 3-21 (5.2 overs), Mitchell Howarde 3-27 (10 overs), Luke Monger 2-30 (10 overs), Sarfraz Ahmed 1-55 (10 overs) and Jason McNally 0-32 (8 overs)

In reply Harlow made a fine start with Syed Hassan in particular playing with fluency and finding the boundary with ease before, with the score on 43 without loss, he offered a low catch to mid-on which was dropped. In the confusion his opening partner, Ben Yeats, turned down a run leaving the aforementioned Hassan stranded mid-wicket and he was unable to make his ground being run out for 25. Yeats’ afternoon was not to improve as he was given out LBW for 16, despite appearing to edge the ball onto his pad and the first sign of home nerves could be felt. The presence of Jason McNally at the crease is always a reassuring sight for the home side and he looked in good touch (when does he not?) before, when well set on 30, he mishit a rank full toss straight to the waiting fielder on the fence at ‘cow corner’.

What followed was a crazy period of play as Harlow’s middle order scored well in excess of the rate required but every time it appeared the game was looking comfortable a questionable shot would lead to a wicket and a return of unnecessary pressure. Thankfully, in Luke Monger they had someone who did retain a clear mind as he rotated the strike with chanceless shots along the floor as others came and got in only to then be dismissed to shots that on reflection they might consider weren’t required at that stage. Charlie Coleman made 18, Ryan Jessey 12 and James Butler 11 as they closed in on the crucial 20 points and there was relief throughout Marigolds as vice-captain Monger put away two loose deliveries for consecutive boundaries to complete the task with a very welcome undefeated 31.

As expected both promotion rivals Leigh on Sea and Westcliff both recorded wins so the three top sides in the division pulled further away and out of sight of the rest with Harlow retaining second place (two promotion places available). Next weekend sees some absolutely pivotal matches in this division as Harlow travel to mid table Epping whilst Leigh and Westcliff face each other in Southend in a huge local derby. Be warned though, Epping are one of the form sides in the division and have only lost once in the last eight games having apparently signed a raft of new players mid-season. It’s a game Harlow can simply not afford to lose.

With five games left in the season every bit of support for the side is hugely welcomed to push the boys over the line. For those unable to get to the matches a reminder that all First XI fixtures are ‘live scored’ online on Play Cricket (Essex League) for those wishing to keep up with the progress of Ryan’s side.

Second XI

After some disappointing results in recent weeks it was imperative that Rob Coldwell’s boys got back on track at Old Southendians. Unable to select from the normal pool of talent due to various availability issues Rob brought in a mixture of young potential and players who had performed well in the lower sides this season as well as the (way too early) retired Jack Sykes. It was to be an inspired selection.

Having won the toss Rob decided to bat and the captain led the way along with Atif Mustehsen as Harlow made a good start before both fell for 39 and 23 respectively. Jack Sykes came to the wicket batting at 3 and proceeded to bat through the entire innings for a superbly made 82 not out. He received support from Sunni Ali, who made 32, but none of the other batsmen were able to make significant contributions as we closed the innings on 228-7 in 45 overs.

In reply Old Souths got off to an even brighter start than Harlow and looked to be well on track to chase down their target as Waj Ahmed (47) and Vijay Valalveettil (38) scored freely against the new ball offerings. It took a run out and the introduction of the experienced Amir Farooq to stem the tide and begin to turn the fixture back in Harlow’s favour as he took three quick wickets. As the home side struggled to keep up with the required run rate Sunni Ali claimed three wickets and off spinner Jake Messenger one leaving the last wicket partnership at the crease. As nerves jangled on both sides the game entered the final stages before Callum Sykes bowled Blake Sutheran for 35 to clinch the win by 12 runs with two balls remaining.

Amir Farooq 3-23 (9 overs), Syed Ali 3-58 (9 overs), Jake Messenger 1-27 (6 overs), Callum Sykes 1-34 (7.4 overs), Lewis Aldred 0-41 (9 overs) and Abdullah Farooq 0-26 (4 overs)

This result ensured Harlow remain in the promotion places with a 14-point cushion to third placed South Woodford CC but four clubs have a realistic chance of going up so every single game will be critical for Rob’s side in the coming weeks.

Third XI

The only defeat of the day game for the Third XI away at Wanstead and Snaresbrook CC. The home side chose to bat first and made a strong start before Myles Baldock disturbed David Sacree’s stumps for 21 and Reece Galvin ran out his fellow opener for 35. Wickets then fell at regular intervals and it looked like Harlow would restrict their opposition to a score well below par until Robert Sebastian (batting at 8) hit an undefeated 68 with support from Jack Feather (34). Reece Galvin and Faisal Javed captured the last three wickets between them once the partnership was broken leaving Wanstead with a par score of 203 all out.

Kashif Latif 3-28 (8 overs), Reece Galvin 2-22 (4 overs), Faisal Javed 1-5 (1 over), Myles Baldock 1-34 (7 overs), Ilhan Mustafa 1-54 (8 overs), Tyler Dobson 0-35 (7 overs)

In reply Harry Burton scored a fine attacking 50 and Asad Baig 39 but with no other significant contributions our reply subsided to a disappointing 143 al out in 35.3 overs.

The 3’s remain in mid table but a couple of wins are still required to ease any fears of relegation.

Fourth XI

On Spicers Rizwan’s entertainers were put into bat by opponents Walthamstow 3rd XI. The Harlow innings was dominated by a fine century from the experienced Ian Nuttall as the home side reached a very handy 241-7 in 45 overs.

The visitors never looked likely to chase down the target and the game ended as the 4’s polished of the tail in quick fashion whilst being vociferously supported by the watching First XI players fresh from their win on Marigolds.

(Further details not available at the time of writing)

Fifth XI

A really heartening performance this week from the young 5’s as they overcame Thorley 2nd XI by 7 wickets. Thorley looked well set for a huge total when on 160-3 until Matthew Fisk broke an 80-run partnership and Harry Argent then ran out the oppositions most dangerous batsman who had already made a century. Oliver Allen then ran out two batsmen in two consecutive overs, one from side on with only one stump to aim at, as Harlow began to fight themselves back into the game. James Forde, Oliver Allen and Muffadal Adamjee all then took a wicket apiece to completely turn the game around as Thorley were dismissed for 194 with the last 7 wickets falling for a mere 34 runs.

Wickets for James Forde (2), Oliver Allen (2), Matthew Fisk (1), Muffadal Adamjee (1) and Mark Green (1)

Harlow began their chase losing three quick wickets but Jonny Allen used all his ability and experience to craft an undefeated 114 alongside 13-year-old James Forde who made 44 not out as we secured the win in a very well controlled fashion. The victory ensured the 5th XI remain in 4th position in their HECL division a fine achievement for such a young side.

U12 Brian Taylor Cup Semi Final

The U12’s have produced some fabulous performances this season and on Tuesday play their cup semi-final at Hutton CC. For those interested in supporting our talented young side please speak to Ryan Jessey for details. They travel to Hutton with our very best wishes but regardless of the result they have had a wonderful season.

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