Cricket: Harlow frustrated by stubborn defence

Cricket / Sun 20th Jun 2021 at 09:36am

A GLOOMY and damp Marigolds was host to a Harlow First XI side looking to complete their third home win in successive weeks and force themselves into the promotion mix. They were to fall agonisingly short as visitors Goresbrook never truly showed any intent to chase the home sides 212 batting first.

Captain Jake Messenger predictably lost the toss and there was no surprise Harlow were asked to bat first. At 25-2, after the early loss of leading run scorer Ben Yeats and destructive batsman Gull Hassan, Harlow looked in trouble but a very well crafted 69 by Syed Hassan was the spine of a good Harlow effort with the bat. All rounder Rob Petchey, looking an excellent signing in all departments, made a quick 36 that included several glorious clips of his legs for 6. Ant Webb made a cautious but effective 31 and Abi Farooq 19 as contributions were found throughout the order. There was no doubt at the break that the general feeling was Harlow’s 212 was clearly above par on a damp wicket in the mizzlie conditions. 

In reply, Harlow made the perfect start when a half tracker from Sarfaraz Ahmed was powered directly into the safe hands of Messenger by opener Ted Ivory for a second ball duck. It was clear however that the visitors had little interest in chasing the total with some very defensive batting designed at keeping wickets rather than scoring at the rate required. 

Harlow’s cause wasn’t helped by having the mis-fortune to see untold play and misses fail to find the edge as Rob Petchey and Callum Sykes were often found head in hands. Sykes did strike bowling Calverley for 21 and Petchey then removed the visitors leading run scorer, Horan, for 16. At the half way stage though Goresbrook were 80-3 and with any chance of winning long gone they continued to block and frustrate the home side.

Jake Messenger brought himself on to ball straight after the break and struck first ball bowling Hussain for 5 and it was game on again. Inexplicably, the Londoners then began to bat in a style totally at odds with the previous 25 overs as the middle order came out swinging and several boundaries were struck before spinners Messenger and Sarfaraz claimed wickets benefiting from the more expansive shot making. At 126-8 with 9 overs left a Harlow win looked likely but Kane Messenger and Harry Jackson solidly blocked in a manner that would have pleased Geoffrey Boycott. Harlow rotated their bowlers but nothing they tried could swift the stubborn pair and at the close they had saved the game as Goresbrook closed on 144-8. 

Sarfaraz 4-17 (11), Sykes 1-30 (13), Petchey 1-38 (13), Farooq 0-15 (4) and Messenger 2-37 (6)

Harlow 11 points & Goresbrook 5 points

Tomorrow will herald a separate report on the other XI’s but the 2nd XI drew at Hadleigh despite Amir Farooq (4 wickets), Matt Hart (3 wickets) and 53 from Max Baulcomb. The 3rd XI lost but details await. The 4th XI won again to maintain their promotion challenge with Jack Sykes making 70 not out to ensure a successful run chase after a good effort in the field. The 5th XI lost against Hockerill 2nd’s despite 86 from Jon Allen.

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