Cricket: Harlow CC 2nd X1 on verge of promotion

Cricket / Sun 22nd Aug 2021 at 09:01am

Report by Andy Yeats

THE lack of eye witness material this weekend will necessitate an abbreviated weekend round up but the headlines clearly should be dominated by the Second XI and by Jon Allen who recorded another century during the 5th XI defeat.

Sadly, the only details currently available are that Harry Burton won the toss and put visitors Hadleigh into bat at Marigolds. He may have been a slightly worried man as the batting side made a creditable 208-4 in their 40 overs. The Second XI possess two key elements. A long attack minded batting line up coupled with the confidence of being on a winning run. Both were utilised to good effect as they chased the total down with almost 4 overs and 2 wickets to spare.

With Westcliff losing to local rivals Leigh on Sea and Epping being rained off the win propelled our side to the top of the table and a 16 point gap to 3rd place. It very much looks like one win and high bonus point scoring defeat would be enough to secure promotion back to Second XI Div One. This would be a superb achievement for the side but hugely important for the club in reducing the gap between Second XI and First XI cricket.

Talking of the First XI I’m honestly not sure what to say. On one hand a defat at rock bottom Walthamstow, who had won only 1 game all season, looks pretty abject but I wasn’t there to witness the events and we certainly fought hard batting second in almost chasing down the total as the game went to the last ball.

Batting first Stow made 213-5 in 39 overs by far their best score of the season and somewhat surprising that our attack, which has performed well all season, should concede so many runs against a side frequently skittled for less than 100. Lets’ put it down to the home side playing well but we were still confident of chasing the runs down. 

The overwhelming volume of runs in the side has come from the openers but alas they were both gone before double figures were on the board. Zabi Hakimi (60 odd) and Max Baulcomb (80 odd) then rebuilt the innings superbly and looked to be taking us to a crucial win but a middle order collapse and an increasing run rate put huge pressure on the lower order. Joe Riddell and Abi Farooq did well to reduce the requirement to 22 off the final 2 overs. Some lusty hitting, especially a maximum by young Abi, took us to 14 needed off 10 and and we were slight favourites but willow didn’t connect with leather enough in the final over as we fell just short. 

Somehow we moved up a place into that potentially all important 10th place (should the division split for next season) but its so close and on paper Harlow have two incredibly tough games to end their season against promotion chasing Barking and Springfield – both at Marigolds.

The in form 3rd XI faced their counterparts from Brentwood. Batting first 14 year opener Joe Radford made his first adult 50 as he top scored with 52 aided by Sunni Ali (30) and Fas Javed (32*) as we posted 198. 

Despite an opposition opener making 82 our attack restricted the runs to the extend that Brentwood fell short of the target by 8 runs despite having 6 wickets in hand. Young Radford completed a fantastic individual performance taking 3-26 alongside an important new ball spell from Paddy Matthews 0-21 (8) that was the corner stone of the scoring being limited.

The 4th XI travelled to Chelmsford and suffered a defeat that crushed their remaining promotion hopes despite fielding an exceptionally strong side at that level. Chelmsford batted first and the only scores of note came from the opening pair, one of whom carried his bat for 40 overs whilst scoring 62. As painfully slow as that may have been it did enable the home side to post 175-8. 

In reply, Harlow just never got going with the exception of Dip Basnet who made 47. Only Oliver Allen (19) made another score of note as we were dismissed for a disappointing 142.

The 5th XI faced Hockerill who batted first and made 214-7 in 40 overs. The wickets were shared around with Riddell (Libby), Fisk and Rouz taking two a piece.

Our reply was dominated by the ever green Jon Allen who recorded another career century as he made 101. Unfortunately, of his young charges only Matt Fisk (30) could make a sizeable contribution as we closed on 180 all out.

Normal service will resume next week. Could be a big one. First XI need to cause an upset at Marigolds whilst the 2nd XI will go for the win that should all but confirm their promotion.

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