Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Cricket: Belhus boys are U-16 champions

A small band of young, enthusiastic cricketers from the Belhus club pulled off an unlikely indoor six a side win on Friday and, in doing so, emerged as under sixteen tournament champions in the final match between the two unbeaten teams in the league. The Belhus achievement was remarkable as Horndon had made light work of dismissing their opponents for just 48 after only 8.5 overs. Alex Kojczyk led the accurate Horndon attack with two wickets for 16 runs from three overs and he was supported by Connor Hammond, 1-22, also from three overs. Then Daniel Petts turned the screw against the normally fluent run-makers as he conceded just three runs from the eleven deliveries he sent down. With Bradley Mason picking up the remaining wicket, the Belhus total was the lowest by any side taking first knock in the current competition.

It would have needed something special from the Belhus bowling attack to prevent Horndon reaching their modest 49 runs for the title. A few minutes earlier, Jack Martin-Hussey had accumulated 22 runs with the bat – but could he achieve with the ball? With his first delivery he picked up a wicket and Martin-Hussey’s first two overs cost just eight runs in total. Ryan Wells, Elliot Playle and Jake Wolfe were in a strong supporting cast with one wicket each, as Connor Hammond was caught and bowled by Wells for 10 runs. Then Mason also fell to the safe hands of Wells off the bowling of Playle, as Mason top scored for Horndon with 14. Hammond and Mason had edged Belhus to the precipice of defeat with nine runs required from the final over with two wickets, that of Kojczyk and Owen Jones, in hand. But both were removed inside four balls from Martin-Hussey to leave Horndon 41 all out. This amazing finale had produced a title-determining margin of just seven runs.

In the evening’s earlier fixtures, Thurrock overcame Orsett A by three wickets with just two balls to spare in another close encounter. James Harvey top scored for Orsett with 43 but Billy Kirk and Jordan Warren collected 2-16 and 2-13 respectively to apply a restriction on the Orsett run accumulation. Warren then completed a fine all-round performance with a match-winning, undefeated 29 for Thurrock with James Millsom offering strong support with 18 not out. Pick of the Orsett bowlers was Klay Smith with 1-16. Orsett had scored 81 all out with Thurrock replying with 82 for the loss of three wickets. Meanwhile, Orsett B enjoyed a comfortable 62-run win over Belhus B.

Tom Haden hit 28 not out, Harry Lockyer plundered 29 undefeated runs and Joe Mitchell scored 13. With five balls remaining of the final over, Will Gibbon hit a whirlwind 17 not out as Orsett finished on an impressive 115 for the loss of just two wickets. Brothers Daniel and Matthew Wakeling picked up one wicket each for Belhus. All five Orsett bowlers were on song as Mitchell and Haden picked up two wickets each, the latter conceding just three runs in 2.4 overs (one maiden). Lockyer and Scott Plom each collected one prize, but Belhus, at least, had three batsmen reach double figures as they were dismissed for 53 after 11.4 overs. The Belhus batting trio were Craig Dalton, Mason Ruck and Bradley Stevens with 15, 12 and 14 respectively.

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