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Cricket: Harlow CC win Second X1 league title

Cricket / Sun 5th Sep 2021 at 08:08am

THE 2nd XI secured the Division 2 title at bottom side Southend in what can only be described as a total massacre. Batting first Harry Burton’s side made what must be a club record 411-7 in 40 overs. Opener Abdul Munim made a maiden century for the club (from just 89 balls) but that was just a taster of what was to follow. Charlie Coleman struck 60 from 36 balls and Asad Baig 36 from 23 balls as the scoring began to fly off the scale.

Rob Petchey stepped out to the wicket, batting at 7, and proceeded to hammer the most unbelievable innings of 149 not out from 62 balls, with 25 fours and 2 sixes. Southend are a club in trouble with all XI’s facing relegation after losing a raft of players but nothing could take away from the sheer destruction dished out by the 2’s.

It was almost as one sided with ball in hand as our attack led by 4 wickets for Matt Hart saw us dismiss the home side for just 100 and an incredible 311 run victory. Ouch!!! Many congratulations to all the side – hopefully they all enjoy there mini bus facilitated evening.

Marigolds saw a more sedate game of cricket but an important one nevertheless as the First XI beat league newcomers Hornchurch Athletic fairly comfortably by 5 wickets.

The win was achieved on the back of a good all round effort from the bowling unit, not always fully back up in the field, but enough to bundle the visitors out for 145. Joe Riddell and Callum Sykes got us off to a great start with Hornchurch 24-2 after the 10 over power play. Skipper Jake Messenger claimed three middle order wickets whilst at the other end Sarfaraz Ahmed was treated with respect by the batsmen who seemed uninterested in attacking his variations.

Fourteen year old, Joe Radford, showed his potential and promise with some fine deliveries and a good series of overs in which he claimed a brace of wickets, one a beautifully flighted delivery that drew the batsmen out his ground allowing Andre Riddell to whip off the bails.

Abi Farooq, a consistent performer all season, returned after an expensive opening 2 overs to take two quick wickets and wrap up the innings.

Jake Messenger 3-40 (9), Joe Riddell 2-25 (7), Abi Farooq 2-26 (3.4), Sarfaraz Ahmed 0-15 (6), Joe Radford 2-25 (5) and Callum Sykes 0-8 (6)

Chasing a relatively small total our top order played a bit loosely truth be told as the first 4 all fell to shots they may regret on reflection. Skipper Jake settled nerves with 26 but the game was still very much alive upon his dismissal but 17 year old Abi batted with care and plenty of ability to make 45 not out, his highest 1st XI total, and see us to a crucial win. He ended the season in style with consecutive boundaries capping a fine individual performance.

The 20 point haul saw us climb above South Woodford, who were beaten at promoted side Epping, and into what may yet be a visually important 10th place (out of 16) should a league split take place prior to next season.

The 3rd XI were entertaining Upminster on Spicers and both sides produced a terrific game. Bowling first Riz would have been reasonably content to restrict the visitors to 173-8 (40) with Aju the leading light with 4 wickets.

Aju 4-25 (8), Paddy Matthews 1-30 (8), Sunni Ali 1-34 (8), Tyler Dobson 0-40 (8) and Syed Ali 2-38 (8)

In reply it was good to see James Forde back in Harlow colours after an injury hit season as he made 17, Riz made 30 and Dip 22 but with the run rate rising much depended on the experience of Simon Baulcomb and Sunni Ali. As they took the game late Sunni fell for 28 and Fas Javed joined Simon but with 3 overs left over 20 were required for the win.

Using every bit of experience gathered from 46 seasons of league cricket Baulcs was middling the ball beautifully with a couple of boundaries. With a sizeable and vocal home support now including the First XI the scene was set but many made Upminster favourites. Max sought to reassure by calmly stating ‘We do this all the time in the nets. 15 from 6. He’ll make it easily’. Well I for one wasn’t so sure especially when two dot balls in the final over left 9 needed from four deliveries.

A ball in the slot was just the ticket as Simon engineered his long levers and crunched a massive six over long off into the hedge. Another dot followed and it was back in the balance with three needed from two balls. Another long stride forward, another flourish of the Baulcomb willow, another missile heading towards the boundary. A despairing dive wasn’t enough and we were home for yet another stirring 3rd XI win and the fitting climax to their excellent season with Balls reaching a fine 50.

A final stat for their season was this. Baulcs has played every week this season and never appeared on the losing side. The first time in his 46 years of adult cricket that he was achieved that unique milestone. Bravo Mr Harlow CC long may you wear the baggy green with pride.

Finally, to the 4th XI who had the misfortune to face a Chingford 3rd XI side needing a win to avoid relegation. The first thing to say is nothing can take away from a superb season from the 4th XI who end with a fabulous 3rd place but today they were well beaten.

Jack and others may have raised an eyebrow at finding an almost totally different Chingford side from that faced earlier in the season with a couple at least willing to admit to regular 2nd XI experience. It showed as the home side rattled up 270 despite four wickets for Libby Riddell. Their bowling was too strong for us as well as we totalled 141 all out. Further details as yet not available.

Full end of season reports will follow over the next couple of weeks but it has to go down as a very good season at the club. The First XI should have finished in there top 8 but with a young side there are signs for optimism for the future. Hopefully a 10th place finish will be enough to see off any fears of being added to a newly formed Division 4 but we will have to await developments on that score.

The 2nd XI won the league title which in itself is a tremendous thing but actually along term the benefit is to the First XI as it will crucially narrow the gap between the sides in terms of opposition strength and match intensity. Harry has led a fine team who have been superb all season. They richly deserve their success.

The Fifth XI have experienced a challenging campaign in terms of results and difficulty getting a side out on occasions. Credit to all who played. Its such an important side as it gives an opportunity for young Colts to come into adult cricket and get plenty of batting and bowling exposure. Some of the current First XI gained invaluable experience in that side and hopefully it can be sustained in the future.

Look out for the end of season reviews and stats and a special feature on club legend Bill Sorenson in the coming days. Have a good winter. See you down the nets – Andy

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