Cricket: Harlow CC T20 game ends in controversy

Cricket / Thu 17th Jun 2021 at 12:36pm

THE opening game of the First XI T20 league away to Epping ended in controversy tonight with the game finely poised. The home side, who had earlier looked nailed on to win at a canter, were beginning to struggle at 116-5 in the 14th over when the umpires declared conditions were too dark to safely continue.

Although Epping appeared slightly ahead on DLS Epping themselves had contributed to the situation through a late start whilst they waited for late arriving players and then failing to bowl their overs in a reasonable time. The consequence was no one leaving as the rain began to fall was quite sure of the final result.

Earlier Harlow had won toss and elected to bat. The side was arguably almost at full strength with the exception of Sarfaraz Ahmed (a big miss admittedly) and he was replaced by 14 year old prospect Joe Radford.

Ben Yeats and Gull Hassan got the innings off to a flying start with 40 off the first 4 overs but Gull’s dismissal for 10 saw a clutter of wickets and a period when Yeats was unable to get on strike. The innings stabilised initially with young Radford making 13, including two well struck boundaries and then really took off with Rob Petchey at the wicket.

Rob struck 38 off 26 balls including 3 enormous maximums as he and Ben added 59 for the fifth wicket. After the all rounder was dismissed both Callum Sykes (9 from 5 balls) and Abi Farooq (12 from 6 balls) added very useful runs. Ben closed the innings with a straight 6 over long off and in the process carried his bat throughout the innings for 67 not out from 53 deliveries. Harlow closed on a useful 157-6 in 20 overs.

The Epping reply was predictably brutal as Robin Bansal and Tarik Nalla tee’d off from ball one. It may have been different but a couple of difficult chances were shelled including twice in the first Jake Messenger over however the pair brought 50 up in only the fifth over. The game appeared to be heading away from Harlow very quickly but Messenger removed both openers in quick succession and as the sun faded the game started to turn slowly towards the visitors.

An absolutely outstanding 4 over spell from Abi Farooq (pictured on the right) dragged Harlow right back into contention as he took 1-11 including a wicket maiden. Joe Radford took the wicket of the high hitting Singh-Purewal and it was now really game on.

Callum Sykes returned after a good first over and bowled Mujakkir Hussain with Harlow’s pace attack starting to look unplayable in the increasing gloom. As Epping batsman prodded away uncertainly they looked to the umpires for respite and they agreed the conditions had become too dark to safely continue with them 116-5 off 13.3.

Whatever the rights and wrongs of how we came to be so late in concluding the game (I’ll leave that to the league to sort out) it was a real shame either way not to see what was becoming a match on a knife edge draw to a natural close.

The next T20 is at Marigolds on Sunday against Harlow Town. Should be another cracking game. The games are in the form of a 5 team mini group with the winners qualifying for Finals Day later in the year so a genuine competition and well worth a watch.

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