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Cricket: Waheed stars as 2nd X1 close in on top spot with win

Cricket / Sun 1st Aug 2021 at 04:12pm

WE start this weeks round up starts with the 2nd XI who defied the weather to win yet again, this time away at Ardleigh Green. It was another fabulous performance from Harry Burton’s side who again bowled superbly and despite a significant wobble at the start of their innings had the reliable middle order runs from Asad Baig to form the basis of their run chase.

Harlow won the toss and inserted the home side and opening pair Waheed Azam and Matt Hart made immediate in-roads reducing Ardleigh Green to 13-3. Tyler Dobson removed regular First XI keeper James Lavender cheaply and Amir Farooq grabbed a fifth wicket with the score on just 46.

A very defensive middle order partnership added some valuable runs but bowlers were on top, none more so than Thomas Smith-Hughes who returned the unbelievable figures of 7 overs, six maidens at a cost of a single run.

Not wanting to be chasing anything significant in the damp conditions, Harry returned to Waheed who single handedly wiped out the lower order taking 5 wickets in his second spell and seven in the match as Ardleigh posted 130 all out.

Waheed 7-17 (10.4), Tyler Dobson 1-26 (7), Matt Hart 1-29 (10), Amir Farooq 1-29 (5), Thomas Smith-Hughes 0-1 (7) and Gul Hassan 0-23 (3)

Perhaps it was the need to get on with it in light of the conditions and threatening rain but Harlow made an awful start losing 3 wickets before double figures were on the board. Thankfully the middle order fired with first Charlie Coleman making 29 and then Asad Baig adding another half century, both at better than a run a ball. 

Their dismissals meant a cool head was needed and skipper Harry coaxed his side over the line with 24 not out for a 5 wicket win. With top of the league Epping only able to draw Harlow moved within 2 points of first place in the league table but third place Westcliff were able to reduce the margin between us and themselves with a bat first win.

To Marigolds where a very encouraging First XI batting display was curtailed by the weather. The visitors, also from Ardleigh Green, were in second place at the start of the day and on a run of 6 straight wins but it was Harlow who dominated the 18 overs of play possible. Having lost the toss Ben Yeats and Syed Hassan saw off the new ball and its many variations on a damp wicket before beginning to accelerate. The pair have more runs combined than any other opening partnership in their division and today it was the more aggressive Syed who was the most fluent striking a number of boundaries that included two maximums although he was fortunate to be put down early on after a miscued pull shot. That aside Syed batted beautifully scoring at better than a run a ball. 

Ben was solid in defence but took 20 balls to get off the mark before he jumped several gears to then add 25 in short time before uncharacteristically playing a half hearted shot that crashed into the stumps off an inside edge.

Syed was joined by Zabi and they added a further 26 off 26 balls to the opening 68 before the heavens opened and such was the deluge that no further play was possible. On a damp deck we looked to be heading for a very useful total and the promotion chasing visitors definitely looked a little rattled with Harlow very well placed at 94-1.

The inform 3rd XI travelled to Wanstead and played out a hugely entertaining draw. The home side batted first and amassed a huge 272-8 in their innings with opener Martrin making 136. On a tough day for the bowlers Syed Ali took 4-63 (14 overs) and Ahsan grabbed 2-45 (8).

In reply we gave it one hell of a go unlike so many sides who’ve chosen to block out against our teams in recent weeks. After both openers fell cheaply Munim struck a superb 78 with excellent support from skipper Rizwan (47) and Simon Baulcomb (30). The Harlow innings was ahead of the required rate until the above named were dismissed late on but the tail held on to secure a deserved draw as we posted 245-8.

Jack Sykes’ promotion chasing 4th XI had a second week of frustration as the weather led to their game being cancelled in the early stages. Harlow bowled first and Myles Baldock and Oliver Allen took an early wicket each before the latter created a run out leaving Fives 3rd XI 30-3 but they had recovered to 90-3 when the rain came. Results aren’t in yet in that division so too early to say if that has been damaging to them or not yet.

The 5th XI were at Matching Green 2’s but were back early after the rain struck with another game lost to the weather.

We head to the final 5 games of the season with loads to play for across the sides. The Second and Fourth XI are very much in the promotion hunt. The 3rd XI are looking to maintain an excellent league position around 4th or 5th (they are already in 3rd XI Premier Division) and the First XI need points to fight their way up into the top half of the table to remove any worries over a league split induced relegation should that happen.

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