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Triple Promotion For Harlow Town

The 2nd XI ahead of their final game of the season
The 2nd XI ahead of their final game of the season
©Harlow Town CC
The winning 3rd XI
The winning 3rd XI
©Harlow Town CC
The 4th XI prepare for the final match...
©Harlow Town CC
...and get involved in the club's celebrations
©Harlow Town CC

It was time for a triple celebration at Harlow Town as their first, second and third teams - the latter two as champions - were all promoted after a brilliant season.

Old Southendians & Southchurch CC 1st XI (OS&SCC) 200-8 declared drew with
HTCC 1st XI 194-6

HTCC took a trip to the seaside on Saturday for the top-of-the-table clash with OS&SCC with both teams knowing a win would see them promoted. HTCC went in to the game with a slight advantage knowing that a draw would be sufficient for promotion but that a win would probably deliver the league title too.

Ashley Alderson once again lost the toss, handing the early advantage to the hosts who immediately decided to bat on a colourful wicket. Johnson (31) and Threadgold (27) got the innings underway with 34 before the lithe and supple Danny Calver reached down to deflect a full blooded drive from Johnson onto the stumps to send Threadgold back to the clubhouse somewhat bemused.

Overseas Michael Hill once again proved what an excellent player he is as he easily made his way to 45 before the lightening glovework of Pat Yates claimed another stumping off Upadhyay to reduce the hosts to 109 for four, putting the visitors on top.

Small partnerships formed and were soon broken as Ramya Upadhyay (three for 49) and Ronnie Yates (three for 54) kept the run rate under control, with only a late flourish from Adam Hunt (29) enabling OS&SCC to declare in the 52nd over on 200 for eight.

Estimations were that the Town would receive around 50 overs to reach the sporting declaration which the hosts hoped would be enough time to bowl the Town out to claim the remaining promotion spot.

Stanford le Hope CC wrapped up their win in double quick time to secure their own promotion spot leaving the Town and their hosts to slug it out for the remaining place. At this point either team could still win the league or finish outside the top two, so nerves were frayed for both teams at tea.

Town got off to another solid start against probably the best opening attack in the league of Hill and Rendell the latter is also probably the quickest bowler in Division Three this year. Pat Yates (11) and Shiraz Ali (47) put on 40 before Pat nicked one behind, bringing the elegant Joe Holland to the wicket.

Joe and Shiraz too control of the game and with the two of them at the crease a win for the Town looked inevitable. Holland cruised to 42 before pushing one back low down to the bowlers right who took a sharp catch with the score on 104.

Ramya Upadhyay (52 not out) joined Shiraz and the pair pushed the score to 122 when Shiraz nicked one behind. Neil Gladwin (22) kept the momentum going but Town started to find runs more difficult to come by as the hosts spinners gained some control.

Gladwin went with the score on 157 and runs dried up further as Scott Alderson and Ashley Alderson both departed without scoring. Ramya kept the Town in the hunt with some excellent stroke play, but with overs running out the Town decided the risk of losing in search of the title was not worth the risk of losing the game so their mode of play switched from attack to defence for the final few overs, before a late flourish from Ramya kept the target in sight.

The innings finished in the 50th over with the Town agonisingly close to their target on 194 for six, but elated by the fact that promotion had been secured. The hosts gave the Town a guard of honour as they left the pitch which was a very nice touch proving that the spirit of cricket is still very much alive.
HTCC 2s 153-9 drew with
OS&SCC 2s 123-9

Harlow Town 2s finished the season unbeaten and the draw against their nearest rivals was sufficient to see them also deservedly claim the Division Three title.

Skipper Gladwin won the toss and chose to bat know that batting bonus points would see town crowned as champions.

Town's openers played well against some excellent new ball bowling and at 40 without loss were looking comfortable. Gladwin (16) and Baldwin (21) were dismissed in quick succession and were followed by Bilal Ali (13), Charlie Coleman (13) and Tim Poulter (0) leaving the Town tottering at 65 for five.

Ben Eversden (26) then set about rebuilding the innings but with his dismissal Town were stumbling at 117 for eight still 33 runs short of the batting bonus points required to claim the title.

Mohammed Hassan Ali (14), Conor Fussell (20) and Graeme Eversden (14 not out) made sure the target was reached, however, enabling Town to declare on 153 for nine from 52 overs securing the league title in the process.  

The final thing for the Town to do was to remain unbeaten for the season, which required them to defend the low total. A quick start for OS&SCC got the innings moving before Mohammed Hassan Ali (2 for 29) removed both openers.

As in previous weeks the introduction of ultra-slow bowler Simon Rowell mesmerised the middle order taking the initiative rapidly away from the visitors. His 15 overs produced another five-wicket haul this time adding one more with six for 26.

The Town threw everything they had at the batters but the final pair held firm to record a well deserved draw. The innings finished on 123 for nine. Rowell has been instrumental in the Town league campaign this year with an astonishing 55 wickets, including seven five-wicket hauls and a best of seven for 45.  

Skipper Gladwin said: "To finish the season unbeaten is a wonderful achievement beyond all our expectations. We felt we were the best overall side in the league and great credit goes to OS&SCC for pushing us to the wire.

"Next season will see us visit a few new grounds and some familiar ones, including local rivals Harlow CC 2s who were relegated and will now also be in Division Two.

"2015 will be a tough challenge but one that we are all really looking forward to."

HTCC 3rd XI 245-8 beat
Hutton 4th XI 242-6 declared by 2 wickets

Much like the 1s and 2s, the Town 3s knew a positive result would almost certainly see them promoted and quite possibly as league winners.

The bowling and fielding for the Town was below expectations and they allowed their hosts to dominate from the start. 46 from Harris and 105 from Blake had the Town scratching their heads to find a way to stop the rout, but it continued up to the 52nd over as the hosts declared on 242 for six having been asked to bat by skipper Nick Teale.

Tea was a relatively sombre affair as the Town licked their many wounds, especially Brian Lall who damaged his thumb and required five stitches after the game.

Town got off to a poor start as South African Pair Johan Cloete (9) and Brendon Maclean (2) were back in the shed with only 25 on the board. Fortunately for the Town Vic Goddard (61) was in belligerent mood rebuilding the innings firstly with Vinesh Patel (22) and then Kevin Tilleard.

Goddard was dismissed with the score of 131 leaving the Town plenty to do. Brian Lall managed to squeeze on a glove to join Tilleard and had the desired effect with a rapid 17 and along with Tilleard grabbed the initiative and gave the innings much needed momentum. 

Overs were running out but the experienced Tilleard remained calm building a match-winning innings of 88 whilst Nick Teale (8) and Alfie Elston (0) came and went leaving Town perilously placed eight wickets down.

Tristan Rees was instructed to leave the scoring to Kevin however he had other ideas and lofted the final ball of the 48th over for a huge six to win the game with an over to spare.

The hosts very kindly provided the Town skipper with a bottle of fizzy stuff to celebrate their victory and league title, again proving the spirit of cricket still exists.

(Deserved league champions) Billericay 4th XI 202-3  beat
HTCC 4th XI 80 all out by 122 runs

The 4th XI never really made much impression on the game, although picking up a couple of early wickets the signs looked encouraging.

Aaron Simpson picked up one whilst Paul Smith claimed two as the visitors eased their way to a declaration. Louis Hawes (81) and Martin Southwell (72) batted superbly for Billericay.

The Town reply was tragic from the outset as both openers went for ducks. Things never really got much better although a sprightly 38 from Paul Smith did at least make the score a little more respectable.

The Town picked up one point from the game which was probably a fair reflection of a very one-sided match.

The 4th XI secured their place in Division Two a few weeks back, and finished with more points than last year, so all in all a positive season. The 4th XI finished the game and decided to adorn some of their end of season party wear for their team picture.

Chairman Stuart Alderson said "It’s been a fantastic season for the whole club capped off today with three promotions and two league titles.

"We have beaten Premier Division and Division One teams in the league T20 competition, won our first ever game in the national CCC cup, hosted the Lashings All stars, won the indoor league and established our Tornadoes girls team.

"It will be tough to follow that up next year but each year we are progressing, and that progression is absolutely sustainable which is the key for long-term success.

Out of the 22 players in the 1s and 2s this week no less than 18 of them have come up through our junior section which speaks volumes for the club and proves we have very solid foundations and our claim of being a community club is very real."

© Cricket World 2014

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