It was a frustrating weekend for Harlow Town Cricket Club after all four teams were in action, but none of them could force a win, although the seconds and fourths came mightily close.
Woodford Green 1st XI 285-9 beat
Harlow Town 1st XI 154 all out by 131 runs
The day started well for the Town as stand-in skipper Neil Gladwin won the toss and elected to bat on a wicket that was at best going to be unpredictable. Although the Town were missing two key seam bowlers recent performances from all the other bowlers and the introduction of the in-form Mohammed Hassan Ali to the attack left the skipper and the rest of the team in a positive mood.
Early plans came off and Green were in trouble at 45 for four when Rana Arslam and Rehan Khan found themselves with a big rebuilding job to do. The Town bowlers from that point did some things right but also much more wrong, when they got it right chances came and sadly went as no less than 12 catches were put down during the innings. Rana was the most fortunate, being dropped 9 times.
With the exception of the seamers Calver (4-44) and Ali (1-30) the rest of the bowling was below standard. With long hops and full tosses served up to a man hitting the ball hard on a very small ground the pair put on 186 for the fifth wicket, before the returning Calver had Khan LBW for 44.
Rana continued with his personal onslaught before finally being dismissed for 165 late in the innings. The rest of the Green batters amassed a total of 50 runs between them, other than Khan, and a total of 285 for eight from 50 overs looked at least 150 above par on a wicket that was now rapidly deteriorating. Ramya Upadhyay picked up three wickets and was the pick of the slow bowlers but still well below his best.
Greens' tails were up, and rightly so, after tea and they set about the Town batters from ball one. The wicket was now drying and breaking up so offering much to both seam and spin and with the exception of the classy Joe Holland (99) the Town batters had no idea how to cope with the conditions and a set of bowlers significantly more disciplined than their own.
Pitching the ball up and letting the pitch do the work the Green attack tore through the Town side once Shirazz Ali (11) departed with the score on 65 for two. No batter looked comfortable or confident and they came and went with regularity.
Holland’s innings was the highlight by far and he fell agonisingly one run short of what would have been a maiden and well deserved century for the club.
The Town were dismissed in 33 overs for 154 on a day which needs to be forgotten quickly and certainly by the time the unpredictable Old Brentwood team visit Phonenix Park this Saturday. The Town picked up five points and rather surprisingly returned to the top of the table.
Skipper Gladwin said, "We definitely missed Ashley and Dan Farmer this week, both would have been a handful on that wicket, having said that I would back our slow bowlers every week to hit the right areas and our fielders to take the majority of chances presented.
"Today was just one of those days where after a good start just about everything went wrong. Joe’s innings was exceptional, and whilst 285 was far too many to concede, if one or two of the other senior players had managed to stick around and build an innings it could have been different.
"On the whole though we got what we deserved which was very little."
Harlow Town 2nd XI 228-7 dec. drew with
Woodford Green 2nd XI 149-8
Harlow Town 2s were left frustrated as they failed to take the last wicket on a humid afternoon on Saturday against a 10-man opposition.
Skipper Gladwin lost the toss again and was asked to bat on a wicket livened up by overnight rain. Despite this Town got off to a flyer and were 60 from nine overs (aided by a number of extras) before Baldwin was out for 10
Bilal Ali looked good but departed for 13 and Charlie Coleman went for a third ball duck to leave the Town 75 for three. Town regrouped as skipper Gladwin and Tim Poulter (48) batted with calm authority before Tim was bowled.
Skipper Gladwin, who has only batted twice in the league all season due to the form of the team and injury, played the anchor role and putting away the bad ball which allowed new batsmen Ben Eversden to play his shots from the start as he hit a classy 46 off 28 balls. Gladwin was bowled for a gritty 85 late in the innings as the Town declared on 228 for seven from 44 overs.
In reply Town found it hard to take wickets as Woodford Green got off to steady but slow start. Charlie Coleman broke the deadlock with and excellent run out and once Rowell (5-40) dismissed Woodford skipper Leigh for 34 and Takavarasha for 43 the Town began to scent victory.
Eversden capped a good day with two for 14 from eight overs, but no other bowler was able to find a way through a determined rearguard action from Green. Marc Cologne was resolute in defence and finished on 19 not out to see Green hold out for the draw.
Undefeated Town picked up 11 points keeping them in second place in the league, 22 points behind leaders Old Southendians but with a game in hand.
Stanford Le Hope 3rd XI 211-5 beat
Harlow Town 3rd XI 210-9 by five wickets
SLH won the toss and elected to bowl in friendly conditions. For Town, Johan Cloete played the innings of the day scoring a fluent 75.
A late-order flourish from Nick Teale (42), Tristan Rees (27) and Christopher Munden (13) managed to push the score up to 210 for nine before the skipper called an end to the innings. It looked like it was a competitive total but with conditions improving the Town needed a solid fielding and bowling display to put pressure on the home side.
Geoff Lake scored 67 at the top of the order with support from James Humphrys (36) and Jon Simes (28 not out), and while the Town picked up a few wickets their display was below par, much like the 1s and 2s.
It took SLH 47 overs to reach their target, for the loss of five wickets. Nick Teale was the pick of the bowlers (2-2 from 11) but even he was unable to stop the SLH march to victory.
The 3s remain second in the league, 21 points behind leaders Loughton, and 14 points ahead of third-placed SLH who they have a game in hand over.
Stanford Le Hope 4th XI 203-8 beat
Harlow Town 4th XI 200 all out by three runs
Town won the toss and put the visitors in and the skipper Tom Wilcox led the way with four for 39 from 16 overs. He was well supported by Paul Smith who bowled an unusually long spell of 23 overs, picking up two for 79.
Andrew Baars chipped in with two wickets as the visitors were restricted to 203 for eight from their maximum 52 overs. Chris Sharp made 86 not out for the visitors to ensure a healthy but reachable total.
Skipper Wilcox carried his confidence from a good bowling spell into his batting and with his side at 52 for two he set about chasing down the total.
His maiden century came up in good time and it looked like he had timed it perfectly to be there at the end to secure victory. However, he departed on 109 with his side still needing 18 to win with three wickets in hand.
Marko Jergic (9) did his best to see the team home, but his entertaining innings and with it the Town innings came to an end four runs short of victory with two overs remaining.
Chirs Teale (25) and Paul Smith (17) assisted the skipper along the way but with the last seven batters only managing 18 runs between them the Town only had themselves to blame.
© Cricket World 2014