With five games of the season remaining, Harlow Town 1st XI moved into the top two league positions this week while there was also a win for the second XI and a draw for the third XI.
HTCC 1st XI 255-9 (50 overs) beat
Benfleet CC 1st XI 115 all out by 140 runs
Harlow Town travelled to Benfleet on the back of a disappointing defeat the week before. Skipper Ashley Alderson won the toss and decided to bat, encouraged by the fact that at least three players were stuck in traffic.
The wicket played with variable pace and bounce but Town got off to a good start with Pat Yates (41) taking the attack to the bowlers and hitting several crisp boundaries. Town lost two early wickets before Ramya Upadhyay joined Yates in the middle and the pair were building a respectable partnership before Yates was trapped LBW.
Upadhyay continued batting sensibly throughout the innings and ended up with an excellent 73, before running himself out. Town reached a more than competitive total off 255 thanks to some late order attacking from Neil Gladwin (25) and Dan Farmer (25).
Town bowlers started as they meant to go on with Danny Calver picking up the three top-order batsmen in a 10-over spell which saw him go for only 26 runs. Town continued to pick up regular wickets with Shaun Alderson taking an excellent four for for 43 off 10 overs.
Hassan Ali and Dan Farmer also bowled well as Town dominated from start to finish. Andy Prophet (39) and Stephen Reeve (20) were the only batsmen to reach double figures for Benfleet on what proved to be a difficult wicket.
Shaun Alderson took the final wicket in the 39th over to end an excellent fielding and bowling display for Town with Benfleet being all out for 115 runs.
The result means Town return to the top two with five games to go.
HTCC 2nd XI 211-6 beat
Benfleet CC 2nd XI 210 by four wickets
Skipper Gladwin, after losing every toss this year, sent out opening bowler Conor Fussell who amazingly won the toss and Town decided to field.
With five players stuck on the M11, Benfleet CC strangely went for their shots early on and were soon in trouble at 50 for three with Fussell (three for 39) taking all three.
The visitors continued to attack and recovered to 140 for four and were well placed to push on to a big score.
The introduction of the reliable and consistent slow bowlers Simon Rowell (5-49) and Graeme Eversden (2-69) resulted in regular breakthroughs as Benfleet struggled to capitalize on a decent start.
The visitors finished on 210 all out from 43 overs with Luke Slatford batting well and scoring 70 not out.
Town replied at a steady pace before Gladwin was brilliantly caught by a one-handed full-length catch at square leg for 10. Ali went cheaply bringing in Charlie Coleman who as usual took the attack to the bowlers in typical style on his way to 83.
Opener Dan Baldwin contributed 51 and Tim Poulter 18 before Ben Eversden guided the team home with a patient 24 not out to see Town win by four wickets and remain very much in the hunt for promotion.
HTCC 3rd XI 248-5 drew with
Old Southendians & SCC 166-8 (45 overs)
The visitors made their intentions clear from the start by asking the Town to bat first on another excellent deck at Phoenix Park.
With the draw available in this format, batting second is always preferred when one of the key objectives is not to lose.
With both teams battling it out for promotion with leaders Loughton this match was a chance for either side to really press the leaders.
Town got off to a great start with Jake Messenger (37) and Johan Cloete (62) posting 98 before Jake was removed trying to up the rate further. Cameo innings from Kevin Tilleard (39), Brian Lall (27) and the rapidly improving Tyronne Mazarura (30) pushed the score along at a good pace until debutant Vinesh Patel’s innings of 45 took the score up to a respectable but certainly gettable 248 at tea.
Talisa Cloete’s tea was as exceptional as usual and a sugar-induced Town took to the field in high spirits. Knowing it was going to be a tough task to bowl any side out on that track the Town chirped away from ball one encouraging attacking strokes with an aggressive field in place.
Vijay Avalveettil (40) got the innings off to a good start playing some excellent shots all round the ground until he was removed by a sharp catch from skipper Nick Teal at point off the bowling of Mazarura (one for eight from six).
His fellow opener soon followed dismissed in the most unlikely fashion as Town Chairman Stuart Alderson threw down the stumps from gully as Phil Clark (19) crept out of his crease trying to convince the umpire he was too far forward for the LBW appeal to be upheld.
The hesitant square-leg umpire reluctantly raised his finger realising he had no choice whatsoever but to give the decision Town’s way.
The chirping returned as the Town realised their chances of sneaking a win had just increased significantly.
Paige, Chilmad, Punekar and Impey were all soon back in the pavilion as Kevin Tilleard (three for 22 off 10) tore through the middle order, and they were assisted by another run out which left the visitors tottering on 93 for six.
The stubborn SteveTomlin dug in and remained a irremovable object for the rest of the innings building a patient 22. When the lightning quick Olly Souter removed Christopher Pastfield's off stump for a very good 50 and followed this up with the middle stump of Ashdown one ball later the Town had a late sense of optimism with the score of 160 for eight but overs where by now rapidly running out.
Skipper Teal threw everything he could at the visitors for the last few overs, however with Olly Souter threatening every ball the Town were unable to extract Tomlin from the crease or get the quivering Sims to the striker's end to complete the win.
The Town took 11 points from the game and many positives, whilst OS&SCC limped to just 4 points.
Fortunately the other results in the division went Town’s way leaving them very much in the hunt for promotion with just five games to go.
Old Southendians &SCC 143 all out beat
HTCC 4th XI 112 all out (45.1 overs) by 31 runs
Four wickets and 44 runs for Daniel Dewey was not enough to save the Town 4th XI from defeat.
On a less than attractive wicket the Town bowlers Arron Simpson (three for 33) and Andrew Baars (two for five) helped the impressive Dewey (four for 36) restrict the hosts to 143 but this was above par in the conditions.
In reply Town never threatened the small total with wickets tumbling to an array of unplayable deliveries on a wicket showing inconsistent pace and bounce.
Dewey’s 44 was the only highlight as Town were dismissed for a poor 112 with George Richardson (12) the only other batter to show some resistance.
© Cricket World 2014