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Cricket: Impressive Riddell gets rid of Westcliff

Cricket / Sun 25th Jul 2021 at 11:01am

A COMBINATION of factors necessitate an abbreviated weekend roundup this evening but it was another strong Saturday for the club.

Headline act has to be Harry Burton’s second XI who went into their critical promotion fixture against Westcliff a single point behind the second placed side from the coast. A superb team effort saw them totally overwhelm their rivals with an enormous 185 run winning margin.

The thundery overnight rain meant a damp start and a lost toss resulted inevitably in a batting first scenario for Harlow. Totally undeterred they batted positively from the outset with Atif Mustehsen again in imperious form making a swift 61. Mohammad Al-Amin made a classy 40, Charlie Coleman 22 and Asad Baig 28 (off just 16) as the middle order hurried the scoring along. 

The partnership at better than a run a ball between Joe Riddell (31) and Thomas Smith-Hughes 35* sucked the enthusiasm for the contest from the visitors as Harlow were able to declare after 46 overs with the huge total of 271-8.

Pre-match Harry had rued the absence of his key opening bowlers Waheed and Mark Quant but he shouldn’t have worried. For much of the season Joe Riddell has played his cricket in the 3’s and 4’s having had his promising Harlow career interrupted by university and injury but one only needs to recall 2 seasons ago when he put in several very promising 1st XI performances. Joe certainly rolled back the period since the times of combining with Jason McNally as he tore into the Westcliff batting. His partner in crime on this occasion was Matt Hart who also proved too much for the batters as the pair claimed 6 wickets between them with Joe grabbing 4-35 and Matt 2-22.

With the game there for the taking Harry turned to Amir Farooq who proceeded to return the incredible figures of 4-8 off 11 overs with 6 maidens. Tyler Dobson and Thomas Smith-Hughes may have been wicketless but both also kept it tight and added to the constant pressure on the batting side. The visitors were bundled out for 86 and arguable the best performance of the season across the club for any side.

Joe Riddell 4-35 (13.4), Amir Farooq 4-8 (11), Matt Hart 2-22 (7), Tyler Dobson 0-1 (3) and Thomas Smith-Hughes 0-12 (3)

The win sees the 2nd XI jump into the promotion places behind Epping and establish a handy 21 point lead on the 3rd placed side to boot. Calm heads now boys – calm heads.

Jake Messenger took his First XI over to Hornchurch Athletic and saw his side dominate a fixture they were hoping to win after a very positive mid-week T20 win over Harlow Town. Sadly, they couldn’t quite grab the 25 points on offer by the smallest of margins as the home side blocked out 9 wickets down.

Earlier in the day Harlow had been asked to bat as the damp morning conditions dried up. Syed Hassan and Ben Yeats again provided the platform form others to follow adding 86 for the first wicket before Syed fell for 54. Yeats was less dynamic in his scoring but his 59 ensured a solid base to build upon that was in danger of not being utilised as middle order wickets fell cheaply. A hugely important 40* from captain Jake supported by Abdullah Farooq & Andre Riddell (both making 11) ensured we posted a handy 211-7 in 50 overs.

An early Callum Sykes wicket placed the home side under immediate pressure before Sarfaraz Ahmed snatched 3 quick wickets to put the hosts on 20-4 and in all sorts of trouble. Sadly, such was their plight Hornchurch decided to immediately shut up shop and play for the draw. This is a personal point of view, but why anyone would wait all week to play cricket and then come out to bat with over 30 overs left and a run rate of less than 5’s required and then block every ball – with absolutely zero points for drawing!!!! 

Nevertheless thats exactly what the home side sought to do and were well on their way to achieving it when Abdullah Farooq struck twice in quick succession. As the overs ticked away it was block, block, block. Jake added to his all round personal performance as he took three wickets to leave the home side 9 down with 2 overs to go. At one end was Fazi Hussain, who batting at 9 to his credit had come in and given it a right go unlike his teammates. Hussain made 47 from 36 balls but crucially was dropped in the outfield before he nursed the final wicket pairing to the close and a draw. 

Sarfaraz Ahmed 3-41 (12), Jake Messenger 3-45 (11), Abi Farooq 2-13 (7), Callum Sykes 1-30 (12), Ben Yeats 0-7 (3)

Harlow took the full 12 bonus points and Hornchurch just 4 but to the boys it clearly felt like a defeat despite their positive showing.

The 3rd XI were at Orsett and Thurrock and achieved another win. Similar situation to the other sides – they lost the toss and had to bat first in the damp/drying conditions. Early wickets meant Abdul Munim & Mustafa Zaman had to rebuild which they did making 23 each. Rizwan (39)and Sunni Ali (46) than put together a crucial and match winning partnership before we were bowled out for 178.

Aju took an early wicket before being disabled by a back injury that left Rizwan struggling having lost 2 of his regulars to the 2nd XI that morning. Nevertheless Sunni’s educated swing was proving a handful and he took several early top order wickets to put Harlow on top. Young Joe Radford, fresh from impressing in the midweek T20, grabbed a brace of wickets before receiving some severe treatment from the lower middle order who were threatening to take the game away from our side. Riz turned to Munim who was able to take 3-22 and close the home sides innings still 29 runs short of the target.

Munim 3-22 (6.2), Sunni 3-30 (11), Radford 2-60 (7), Aju 1-7 (3) and Syed Ali 1-28 (5)

No news from the 4th XI as yet and 5th XI game had to be called off due to 24 players being unavailable across the club – wow!!!

Update will be posted once we hear from the promotion chasing 4th XI.

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