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Cricket: Depleted Harlow Town pull off impressive run chase

Cricket / Fri 12th Aug 2022 am31 07:08am

SATURDAY saw the Harlow Town’s 1s make the trip down to sunny Southend to take on Old Southendians on a baking day down at Garon’s Park. Due to the usual availability issues that this time of year throws up, the club was short on numbers and as such sent down an XI that was a mix of all 3 teams, so a special shoutout has to go to Taylor Wood (a late Covid replacement) and Luke Luckin (3rd team WK) for not only making the long trip down but also demonstrating an effort in the field that did not look out of place at this level.

The home side won the toss and unsurprisingly, elected to bat first. Also unsurprising, the outfield was like glass and it quickly became apparent that each shot the batsman played would either by 1 or 4. Nevertheless, Town’s opening bowlers put the ball in good areas and were duly rewarded. At the halfway point of the innings the home side were wobbling at 90-4. This could have read even better if decisions had gone Town’s way, specifically Old South’s premier batsman nicking behind second ball – but in the words of our (soon to be former) PM “Them’s the breaks”. A big partnership followed, but once Khawaja had fallen for 86, the home side collapsed from 187-5 to 211 all out. A below par score and a strong effort in the field from Harlow that sparked the fire of belief that Town could return home with 20 big points. Nabeel Akthar was the pick of the bowlers, picking up 4-38 off his full 16 overs.

Unfortunately, the chase began in ignominious fashion as opening batsman Baldwin was adjudged to have been caught behind and the scoreboard read 2-1. As alluded to previously, the run rate was never going to be an issue on an electric outfield. The issue was the wickets, and at 82-5 it was becoming something of a procession as Town’s exciting order came and went. An unfortunate mention to this years stand-out batsman Ben Tyne, who edged a slower ball into his own foot only to turn around and see the ball trickle agonisingly into his stump and dislodge a singular bail – which some could say is a reflection of Town’s whole season so far.

Nevertheless, the innings continued apace as Aditya Shukla and Nabeel came together and produced an impeccable partnership. Both reached 50, and it was at this point that Aditya decided he wanted to go home. Boundaries became a regular occurrence as the opener let loose. He smoked a six to both tie the scores and move himself to 94.

The game became a formality, and it became about whether he was going to go big or perish chasing glory. A declined single to long on had some on the boundary a shade worried, but there really was no need. The very next ball sent high and long over the rope to crown a magnificent innings – there’s nothing quite like seeing 100* in the scorebook.

Twenty points well earned.

Town take on Horndon at Home this weekend.

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