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Cricket: Disappointing day in the field for Harlow CC

Cricket / Sun 31st Jul 2022 am31 11:43am

PREMATCH optimism of a potential clean sweep of four wins for the adult sides on Saturday appeared rather misplaced by close of play on Saturday. 

The First XI suffered another defeat whilst the other sides all drew despite arguably having the better of each match.

Jake Messenger took his First XI to Goresbrook to face a side in form but one that had never beaten Harlow in previous meetings. That record was to fall as the Harlow batters were unable to chase down 263 despite refusing to countenance holding out for the draw in a bid to claim a much needed 20 points. 

Harlow went into the game handicapped by a prematch injury to Chris Whitworth that left him unable to bowl and in effect had only three mainline bowlers for the tie. Nevertheless, it was Harlow who were clearly on top with the home side 83-4 at the mid point of their innings with Sarfaraz at that point taking 2-28 from 10 overs and a wicket apiece for the skipper and Ben Yeats. 

A big fifth wicket partnership changed the game as Jordan Harris struck 85 and Ted Ivory 54 as the run rate soared on a flat pitch with a fightingly fast outfield. Even the reintroduction of Sarfaraz could not stem the runs as his last six overs went at around 10 an over along with the other bowlers. Goresbrook closed on what was considered to be a par score of 263-7 in 50 overs.

Sarfaraz 4-86 (16), Yeats 1-50 (9), Messenger 1-60 (14) and Farooq 1-58 (11)

Confidence in chasing down the total began to waver as the home side seamers bowled a superb tight line in keeping with field placings to completely block shots in the V. Leading run scorer, Yeats, perished trying to break the shackles by going over the top and the innings for a early break through for Goresbrook.

Chris Whitworth (71) and Abdul Munim (29) began to push the innings along but their dismissal left the middle order with no option but to accelerate from the off. Gul Hassan struck a run ball 27 and Tom Garner looked to be driving Harlow to the win with a brutal 37 from 21 balls but wickets fell at regular intervals.

In the latter stages Harlow could have comfortably held out for a draw but understandably just kept attacking for a much needed win. Nine wickets down with 9 balls left and 27 needed to win last man Sarfaraz was left in an impossible position and it was he who edged to gully on the last ball of the penultimate over to hand the home side the win which was met with joyous scenes from their players and supporters.

Harlow remain in 7th but the gap to 11th has closed alarmingly and some big performances are needed in the final weeks to ensure the spectre of Fourth Division cricket does not become a reality next season.

The Second XI hosted Old Parks at Marigolds knowing a win would virtually secure Division One cricket next season but were unable to force the win despite making a huge total. James Forde (68), Asad Baig (55) and Harry Burton (52*) were the mainstay of their imposing 312-8.

In reply Old Parks made a fantastic start until Amir Farooq broke through to dismiss opener Brathwaite for 46. Faisal Bhatti at the other end continued to score well and reached a very well deserved century before Amir returned to claim his wicket as he began to run through the other batting on the way to a five wicket haul.

A win looked possible but Harlow met serious resistance from the lower order and couldn’t claim the final wickets as Parks closed on 272-9. 

Pictured are half century makers James Forde, Harry Burton, Asad Baig and Five Wicket Man Amir Farooq

Farooq 5-51 (13), F. Hikmatshah 2-45, J. Riddell 1-52 (11)

It was a frustrating day for the top of the table Third XI as well as they drew at Frenford. Frenford won the toss and batted first making 265 all out with three wickets each for Sunni Ali and Ben Seary. Tyler Dobson, Umar Raza and Matt Fisk claimed a wicket each.

Harlow made a superb start to their innings with 50 for Rizwan Qayyum before Dip Basnet went on to make a wonderful century (108). Their wickets however changed the course of the game as the run rate dropped leaving too much for the middle order batters to do as Harlow closed on 245-7.

Harlow actually increased their led to 19 points in the league table as close rivals Wanstead and Upminster drew their fixture.

It was a very important game for the Fourth XI who faced Brentwood in a relegation battle on Spicers. Harlow batted first and made a very handy total of 298 all out in 45 overs with Mark Quant (80) and Oliver Allen (71) leading the way with the Fuller brothers (Jack and Ronnie) making 18 and 17 respectively. 

The visitors never seriously threatened the target and despite four wickets for Nathan McCarthy and a brace for youngster James Mitchell the game petered out to a draw with Brentwood 170-8 after 49 overs.

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