Belhus 1st 253-6
Gidea Park and Romford 1st 249 all out
Newly promoted Belhus started life in division two of the Shepherd Neame Essex League with a dramatic late fightback to snatch a thrilling four-run win at North Stifford on Saturday.
The hero of the late hour was Belhus paceman Connor Day. The visitors required just 14 runs to win from the remaining three overs and also had three wickets in hand. But with the score at 240-7, Day clean bowled number nine batsman Nigel Fretwell without score, then, nine runs later, Christopher McKie’s 23-run resistance was similarly terminated. Without further addition, Steve Brant was trapped leg before without score as destroyer Day finished with match-winning figures of 4-38 from 9.3 overs.
Earlier, Belhus openers Gavin Jefferies and Wayne Read put on 68 for the first wicket, until the latter was dismissed lbw for 19 runs. But Jefferies struck a fine 70 from 110 balls faced, hitting three fours and one six in the process. Danny and Joe Joyce hit 54 and 36 respectively, despite the best efforts of McKie and Vinayak Mane with two wickets each. In the post-tea session, number three batsman Matthew Tarr top scored with 52, but Gidea Park and Romford faded to 169 for the loss of six wickets. Then Rudi Filmalter let loose with the bat, crashing 46 runs until he was caught by Joe Joyce off the bowling of Billy Winter (3-49), but Filmalter’s legacy was that his Gallows Corner team were then comfortable favourites for the win. But what a difference a Day made.
Belhus captain Wayne Read confessed: “We had the game wrapped up at one point, then there was some good clean hitting by Rudi Filmalter who got them right back into the match.
To be honest, they should have won it at the end, but credit is due to our boys, they listened and never gave up. Connor Day was just magnificent”.
Belhus 3rd 67 all out
Hutton 4th 69-1
It is certainly true that the Belhus third eleven have had better days as only Jim Robertson reached double figures with a patient 26. Beyond number eleven batsman Alan Maidment’s five runs, no other batsman scored more than two. In bowler-friendly conditions, unsurprising in view of the monsoon-style rainfall of late, left arm seamer Mathew McDonald-Ligit made hay by returning 4-15 from nine overs (four maidens). There were two wickets each for Mitchell Fenn and Kishore Punwari while York and Watson completed a rout for Hutton, both finishing undefeated on 30 and 32 respectively. Belhus made an early breakthrough when Ian Harris was caught at slip by Stuart Morris off the bowling of Eliott Playle for just one run, but the celebrations were short-lived. Playle finished with 1-8 from three overs while Sam Hall’s five overs cost just two runs and included three maidens.
Rayleigh 6th 133-8
Belhus 4th 134-8
After the cancellation of their league match, Belhus hurriedly staged a replacement fixture, courtesy of their Thames Rugby Club hosts. Rayleigh were the visitors for the second week running. Richard Verrinder and Matthew Walker were joint top scorers with 31 apiece for Rayleigh, but Belhus spin bowlers Mike Squires and Brian Edwards returned 3-40 and 2-35 respectively. Lee Hawkes took three catches in the outfield. After the break, opening batsman Naveed Mirza crashed his way to a maiden Belhus half-century with 56 off just 40 balls – despite breaking his bat towards the end of the innings. Mike Randall contributed 28 runs while John Wilson scored 13, but then fourth-change bowler Adam Keeley induced a Belhus collapse with five wickets for just six runs inside eight overs, five of which were maidens. It was left to Jack Plane and Robert Long to see Belhus home with two wickets and four overs to spare.
Belhus 2nd 217-7
Noak Hill Taverners 135 all out
Ryan Wells hit his maiden century in this second eleven match at North Stifford on Sunday and then Jack Plane recorded his first five-wicket haul in an eventful fixture at North Stifford. Wells hit eight fours and two sixes from 93 balls faced. Later, Plane recorded 5-29 from eight overs, his fifth wicket coming from the final ball of the match as the visitors were dismissed after exactly 40 overs. Offering valuable support to Wells with the bat were Chris Baker 21, Roy Heffernan 15, Greg Mendham 29 and Scott Stonham with 22. For Noak Hill Taverners, Lang picked up 2-40 while Carlton Joseph, Lee French and Jason Tyler collected one wicket each. Paul Whitlock, Mendham and Mike Randall did likewise for Belhus, though a worthy, but wicketless, spell from Heffernan, 0-14 from eight overs, indicated another strong spin bowling option for the Belhus camp.
Thurrock U13 123-7
Belhus U13 73-8
Thurrock progressed to the next stage of the Essex Bradford Cup, following this first round success over Belhus at Blackshots on Sunday morning. Charlie Hodge top scored with 21 for the home side, despite two wickets from Billy Maidment. Edward North, Joshua Reynolds, George Maidment and Eathan Morris were also amongst the Thurrock wickets. But the target set was out of reach for the Belhus batsmen, despite the best efforts of Reynolds who top scored with eleven runs. Connor Ramm and Bilal Qureshi were on song with the ball for Thurrock, picking up three and two wickets respectively. Thurrock will now travel to Rayleigh Fairview for the second round on 27th May.