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Cricket: Harlow Town CC: Blistering century by Shukla forces draw against Upminster

Cricket / Wed 4th May 2022 am31 06:31am

A BLISTERING 151 from Adi Shukla was not enough to stop Harlow Town 1st XI drawing with Upminster in an enthralling game at Ash Tree Field. Skipper Ronnie Yates won the toss and chose to bat first in the midday sunshine. Opener Dan Baldwin fell early for 7 and Connor Teale soon followed for 10. Pat Yates arrived next and together with Shukla put on 188 for the 4th wicket allowing Town to get a stranglehold on the game. Shukla batting with relative ease is a joy to watch with the ball disappearing to all parts of the ground with some big 4’s and huge 6’s, Shukla quickly achieved his  maiden century for Harlow Town, followed in double quick time by his 150.

Unfortunately for Town, Shukla and Yates (42) fell in consecutive balls, however Shaun Alderson (13), Nabeel Akhtar (13 not out) and Tom Wilcox (3 not out) steered Harlow Town to a score of 256-5 from their innings.

Taking into consideration the conditions 256 would be considered just a par score, so Town would need to bowl and field well to win the game. Whilst the fielding from Town was good, the bowling attack of Harlow Town will surely have better days, combined with some poor bowling lines and a quick outfield the batters of the away side able to score with relative ease, only Akhtar (34-4 from 9 overs) and Simon Rowell (38-2 from 7 overs) achieving much success with the ball. The game came down to the final ball of the innings with Upminster requiring 2 for the win, the batters attempted to run 2, but were only successful with the first run and were run out going for the second. The other wickets for Harlow Town were shared by Sam Wilson, and Shukla. Upminster finishing on 256-9 and the game ending in a draw.

The 3rd XI were due to start their league campaign, however the opposition were unable to field a side, so a testing friendly was arranged against a youthful Shenfield side comprised of a mixture of 2’s, 3’s and 4’s. Skipper James Williamson lost the toss and Shenfield chose to bat. The Shenfield team audibly declaring they would score at least 250 and win the game easily inspired early aggression in the Town bowling and fielding. Whilst the aggression was keeping the run rate down the opening batsmen for Shenfield did look set however a change of bowling proved successful as three wickets fell quickly with 2 wickets for John Rogan (36-2 from 6 overs) and 1 for Luke Luckin (35-1 from 8 overs). The rest of the overs were shared around the team, Sarang Kanakan (27-1 from 8), Kishore Kumar (46-1 from 8), Adam Stott (8-0 from 3), Alex Manning (10-1 from 3) and Ashley Norcott (27-1 from 4) with Shenfield finishing on 192-7.

In reply, Town did not get off to the best start, after his match winning antics last week, Paul Smith was out for 2, debutant Ash Kumar was incredibly unlucky to be out for 1 caught at slip after deflecting off the fielder at gully. Now in the ascendancy the visiting side removed opening bat Dan Dewey for 17, while captain Williamson soon followed him for 3 runs. With Alex Manning and Ashley Norcott at the crease Town rebuilt and soon gave themselves something of a platform to build on. Manning eventually fell for a well-earned 38, Rogan had a cameo 17 runs whilst supporting Norcott. Stott (5) and Kishore Kumar (5) both supported Norcott in reaching his 50. Ultimately the overs ran out with Norcott finishing 50 not out and Karang 4 not out for a total of 174-8.

Even though the team ultimately lost by 18 runs, skipper Williamson was happy with the performance against a team much higher in the league system, and if the core of the team is able to be maintained Town should have a successful season following their promotion last year.

The 1st XI league campaign starts this week with Town hosting (at Ash Tree Field) Westcliff-on-sea, with the game starting at 12:30, spectators are welcome.

The 3rd XI are hosting (at Ash Tree Field) Matching Green 2nd XI this weekend with the match starting at 1pm, again all spectators are welcome.

Harlow Town 2nd XI are travelling to Stanford Le Hope in their first action of the season.

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