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Cricket: Outstanding performance by Harlow’s 3rd X1

Cricket / Sun 7th Aug 2022 am31 07:57am

GAME of the Day was on Spicers where RIzwan and his 3rd XI charges faced title rivals Wanstead in an absolutely massive game at the top off Third XI Premier Division.

Despite a positive start with early wickets Wanstead’s middle and lower order batted superbly to put Harlow on the back foot as they amassed a very imposing 274-7. Sunni Ali was again the pick of the bowlers with 3-37 but well supported by Tyler Dobson (1-55), Zaheer Mirza (1-37), Matt Fisk (1-42) and Syed Ali (1-40) who all claimed a wicket each.

It is difficult to put into words just how outstanding the Harlow reply was with the bat. Dip Basnet continued his brilliant run with 59 but it was a significant partnership between 13 year old James Mitchell and 16 year old James Forde that broke the back of the huge total. Both lads batted superbly, well beyond their years, with quality stroke making all the more impressive for the management of the required run rate.

As they homed in on the winning target Forde fell for 45 followed by young Mitchell who made an incredible 90 before he played a tired shot to end an innings of maturity and class.

With work to do to get over the line Zaheer Mirza crashed a rapid 36 including a couple of huge maximums and it was left to the divisions best all rounder in Sunni to lift the ball to cow corner for the winning runs with 2 balls to spare.

The Third XI remain top of the table and it looks like a two horse race now between themselves and Upminster for the league title.

On the other side of the pavilion the First XI faced struggling Roding Valley. An improved performance was demanded and frankly they gave everything to secure the win and were denied by some fairly extraordinarily negative tactics by the visitors. 

Harlow batted first and within five overs the boundary was riddled with fielders. Run scoring and momentum was hard to find as we struggled along at 3 an over. Whitworth fell for 21 (clearly hampered by his injured hand) and Yeats grew frustrated and charged the spinner and was stumped for 47. 

The innings moved into a positive direction at pace once Tom Garner and Max Baulcomb were united at the crease. Both played aggressively hitting several boundaries including Tom Garner becoming the first Harlow player to clear the new fencing beside the bowls green. Max fell for 53 (47 balls) but Tom saw the innings to the close making an unbeaten 76 from just 59 balls. Harlow’s total of 238-5 didn’t look enough but was later discovered to be more than sufficient.

The early stages of the visitors innings saw some good attractive batting that added 43 for the first wicket before Sarfaraz Ahmed struck. The positivity continued until the score reached 71-2 with another victim for the little left armer. At this point, inexplicably, needing only around 5 an over to win Roding Valley began to play increasingly defensively.

With a lack of intent being shown against the seamers, stand in skipper Ben Yeats, brought himself onto bowl and grabbed a wicket with his first ball. When Paddy Matthews produced a high quality boundary catch for Yeats’ second victim the home sides tails were up. With it now clear the visitors had no intention of seeking the win, Harlow surrounded the bat with attacking field placings. Yeats and Sarfaraz claimed additional victims and when the latter claims this fourth wicket with the last ball of his 16 overs the scoreboard read an encouraging 155-7. 

With Sarfaraz’s overs exhausted Harlow turned to pace and Abi Farooq who was quick and hostile adding an eighth wicket as Harlow sensed victory. Batsmen were struck, appeals were loud and enthusiastic but try as they might they couldn’t claim the final two wickets for a deserved victory. Roding Valley ended on 161-8 in 48 overs Harlow having bowled quickly enough in the last hour to earn themselves an extra 3 overs but alas it wasn’t enough.

Sarfaraz 4-43 (16), Yeats 3-24 (12), Farooq 1-24 (8), Riddell 0-14 (5) and Matthews 0-34 (7)

The Second XI travelled to Colchester and despite making over 300 were defeated. Abdul Munim made a superb 116 (101 balls) and Arshad Muhammed 82 (97 balls) with very useful additions from Harry Burton (22) and Amir Farooq (32) as we posted 307-9.

Sadly, a depleted bowling attack could not stop the flow of runs from the Colchester bats as the home side dominated the bowling to win with 2 overs to spare and 5 wickets in hand. All five bowlers used claimed a wicket but other than Amir Farooq were expensive with the side missing several regular bowling options. 

The Fourth XI had a difficult day at Old Souths. Batting first only Mark Quant (78), Oliver Allen (37) and Ibtisam Baig (22) made a significant total as Harlow posted 181 all out.

Despite a wholehearted effort in the field we fell to a 6 wicket defeat in only 30 overs despite wickets for George Jessey (2-41), Ibtimsam Baig (1-26) and  Ronnie Fuller (1-33).

Pictured are Tom Garner (First XI) and James Mitchell (Third XI) who starred with the bat in the home games.

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