Harlow Town endured a frustrating weekend as both their first and second teams picked up draws and their third and fourth teams were beaten.
HTCC 1s hosted Woodford Green CC on a flat Phoenix Park wicket. Losing the toss against a side clearly aiming to simply not lose, was always going to make life difficult for the promotion-seeking Town.
Town openers Pat Yates (60) and Shiraz Ali (89) set the innings up with a superb stand of 115 before Pat missed a rank full toss and was bowled.
Joe Holland (2) came and went quickly before Shiraz was joined by the in form and consistent Ramya Upadhyay (48 not out). The pair continued to push the innings on conscious of the need to set the visitors a tempting target and give them plenty of overs.
After Shiraz departed, skipper Ashley Alderson (25) increased the pace before declaring on 236 from 49 overs. Estimating that the visitors would get a similar number of overs back, having set Town a target of over 290 in the earlier game of the season, surely this was a sporting declaration.
The WG innings started slowly and once number three Rana Arslan (33) was dismissed they simply gave up all hope of chasing down the total or making any attempt at picking up more batting points.
Town reduced the visitors to 100 for seven, turning the screw, taking catches and generally bowling very tightly even though the opposition were more than happy to keep the ball on the square.
Town tried everything to break through whirling down 49 overs before the umpires called time, with the visitors on 142 for eight and picking up two points from a game lasting almost 100 overs.
Town picked up 11 points but will feel disappointed not to have been able to finish the game off. Ramya (five for 56) and Ashley Alderson (two for 17) were the only wicket-takers, the other wicket being a run out, and even an over from Neil Gladwin could not tempt the tail to play any shots even with 10 men within 10 metres of the bat.
Skipper Ashley Alderson said: "It feels like a loss, but I really don’t know what else we could have done.
"We bowled well but the wicket was so good it was difficult to bowl them out when they had no ambition to make a game of it."
HTCC 2s suffered a similar frustration at Woodford Green as the hosts also batted out for a draw
HTCC 3s drop out of the top two of their league after losing to Stanford Le Hope by six wickets
HTCC scored 174 all out from 51.2 overs with Johan Cloete (66) and Alfie Elston (32) too scoring.
Nick Teale and Aaron Simpson took a wicket apiece but to no avail as SLH's Neil Fuller won the game with 116 not out having earlier taken four for 69, supported by Andrew Powley's three for 33.
HTCC 4s also lost to Stanford Le Hope by 6 wickets.
Town won the toss and elected to bat, posting a credible 214 all out from 51.3 overs. Paul Smith (30), Sreerag Radhakrishnan (59) Dan Gleeson (31) and a great lower-order knock from Darren Wood (28) gave the Town maximum batting points.
In reply Stanford Le Hope, despite losing their first wicket in their second over, played positively and once the opening bowlers were rested took full advantage of Towns slower bowlers.
The hosts chased the total down in 38 overs for the loss of four wickets, with Taylor Wood picking up two for 20 from six good overs.
Skipper Lee Richardson was pleased with his team’s effort in earning nine points from the game to put them 22 points above relegation with two games to go.
© Cricket World 2014