Harlow Town enjoyed a successful weekend where, despite the weather, their first, second, fourth and fifth teams were all victorious while the third team was not in action.
HTCC 1st XI 181 for 9 beat
Stanford-Le-Hope 163 by 18 runs
The prospect of another washed out Saturday loomed large for HTCC 1s as the rain lashed down most of the morning. Fortunately the pitch was covered in time and once the sky cleared and the covers were removed the game started rather surprisingly on time. Harlow Town lost the toss and like last week were batting first, although this week not by choice.
Stanford-Le-Hope 1s were relegated last year but arrived at the Town on top of the league buoyed this season by the returning Ross Poulton and with the introduction of new Kiwi overseas opening bowler Dylan Eginton. SLE were quick to take the field and were in confident mood.
With regular opener Pat Yates late to the game due to traffic and Shiraz Ali unavailable, Pat’s big brother Ronnie (24) took on the role of opener and put on 32 with Matt Hurley (22) before Hurley was caught in the slips. Pat Yates soon followed him back to the pavilion as Eginton found his range.
Ronnie and Joe Holland (26) took the score to 65 before Holland was dismissed LBW off the impressive Poulton (six for 43 from 15 overs). Poulton continued to take wickets and the Town were reeling at 91 for seven as the visitors upped the chirping, feeling more and more confident.
Skipper Ashley Alderson (43) joined Ramya Upadhyay (43 not out) and at first consolidated before launching an excellent counter-attack. The pair put on 72 in good time and redressed the balance of the game to help the Town declare on 181 for nine from 52 overs.
Home teas were as good as usual, however with only 20 minutes for tea this year, few had time to savour the fare and were soon rushing for the changing rooms to prepare to take the field.
Barr started off like a man who had an important event to get to, but still managed to find the time to continue his constant chirping before Calver removed his off stump. and one wicket soon became four and with only 43 on the board the game was finely balanced.
The Town rattled through their overs, assisted by their three spinners and took wickets regularly, and much like the Town innings the visitors found themselves in trouble with eight wickets down and only 92 on the board.
Overs were never going to be a problem, and in fact they would have received a healthy 55 overs in return had they lasted the course.
Man of the Match Ross Poulton struck an effortless 63 but found himself running out of partners until an eighth-wicket stand of 62 with Higgins dragged the game back towards the visitors.
The final turning point came in the 51st over when Poulton was caught at deep long on trying to push for the win, having already scored 20 off the over his choice of shot was probably his only error on the day, but sadly for him it proved costly for his team as once removed the innings was wrapped up with two overs to go for 163.
The Town are now top, one point ahead of Old Southendians who they play next week having played one game less.
Chairman Stuart Alderson said, "This was a game I am sure we would have lost last year, twice we found ourselves in a position of significant weakness and both times the team found the answer to get themselves back into the match.
"The partnership between Ashley and Ramya was critical and you could sense the opposition withdrawing into themselves as the partnership gathered momentum.
"In the field we were excellent today, catches were taken and all the bowlers contributed to the win.
"The wicket of Poulton, who looked a class player, came just at the right time, and credit to Ashley for ringing the changes until he found the right combination.
"Giving Charlie Coleman a bowl at that stage was very brave, but today the gamble worked."
Danny Calver finished with three for 21, Ashley Alderson one for 34, Ramya Upadhyay three for 22, Shaun Alderson two for 23 and Charlie Coleman two for 20 but Dan Farmer and Ronnie Yates also bowled well despite not taking any wickets.
Harlow Town 2nd XI 245 for 7 beat
Horndon-On-The-Hill 2nd XI 244 for 4 dec. by three wickets
Harlow Town 2s produced a stunning win at highly rated Horndon-on-the-Hill on Saturday.
Town won the toss and put HOTH in on a slightly wet wicket and made the early breakthrough they were hoping for.
From then on though it became a struggle as the pitch flattened out and Horndon legend Dave Stitson showed his class with a top innings of 120 as Horndon eased their way to 245, declaring in the 50th over.
Town's fielding was not up to its usual high standard plus they lost skipper Gladwin to a double fracture of the finger for 20 overs which also stopped him from opening the Town innings as usual.
Regrouping at tea they set about the target in positive fashion as Scott Alderson (20) and Dan Baldwin (10) got Town off to a solid start. However, both departed as did number three Kieran Gleeson in quick succession which brought Bilal Ali (90) and Tim Poulter (50) to the wicket
The pair produced some brilliant strokeplay, and this backed up with some good running saw Town requiring 100 from the last 20 overs. Both fell with Town still needing 40 from 10 overs.
It was left to the lower order to see them to victory with Jack Elston (18) smashing a huge straight six to tie the scores and then a single to claim victory with two overs to spare.
3rd XI – no game due to league drop out
Harlow Town 4th XI 200 for 7 declared beat
Upminster 173 all out by 27 runs
The 4th XI game was played on a rather green wicket and a heavy outfield so a total of 200 was a decent effort.
A maiden-half centry by the ever-improving George Richardson (58) was the highlight, and he was well supported by Johan Cloete (46) and father Lee Richardson (35).
The Town picked up key early wickets with man of the match George Richardson (three for 31) capping a good all-round performance. Jack Margetts picked up a wicket as did Tyrone Mazarura and Paul Smith. Tristan Rees bowled the key over removing three batters in one over to finish with three for 20 from 10 overs.
The Town completed an excellent day with a win off the last ball for the 5th XI against Horndon on the Hill. Stewart Brown had an excellent day in the field taking two sharp catches and a direct hit run out.
On Sunday the Town travelled to the lovely ground of Abridge for their annual friendly but found a weaker than usual opposition.
Town won the toss and elected to bat to on a lovely hot summers’ day. Highlights of the innings were a majestic 120 from Charlie Coleman, 35 from skipper Ben Eversden and 22 from Daniel Gleeson as the Town racked up 261 from their 40 overs.
The Abridge innings never got going and they were dismissed for just 80. Daniel Gleeson bowled excellently to record his maiden five-wicket haul finishing with five for 13.