BELHUS made a special presentation at the toss to commemorate Stanford’s 125th year of existence and this was a very nice touch to start proceedings. However, Stanford-le-Hope CC dominated this local division 2 clash. After last weeks impressive performance against Westcliff, Stanford went into this game full of confidence and captain Lee Knight had no hesitation in choosing to bowl first when he won the toss.
With regular opener Matthew Higgins away, Knight called 2nd team opening bowler Ian Sanderson into the team and showed faith in him by giving him the new ball. Ian as well as Greg Cohen bowled straight and gave the Belhus batsman no room to play their usual cavalier drives. Both openers were rewarded for their hard work with Cohen bowling Belhus captain Wayne Read for 10 and Ian Sanderson fortunately removed the ever dangerous Joe Joyce with a full toss that was gratefully caught by Ian’s older and greyer brother Gary.
With Belhus stuttering at 40-2 off 16 overs, Ross Poulton was introduced into the attack. Remarkably, Poulton opened up with 4 maidens on the spin as the Belhus batsman had no clue how to counter-attack his dominance. As the Belhus batsman were beginning to become frustrated, opener Gavin Jefferies (22) smashed a full toss straight to the deep mid wicket boundary where it was caught by Martin Leslie. As the overs started to mount, Belhus had made their way to 71-3 before Knight introduced Gary Sanderson into the attack. Poulton and Sanderson continued their good work from the previous week and skittled Belhus for a poultry 80 all out. Both bowlers ended with figures of 4-9, but it was Poulton’s that were incredibly impressive as they came off 14 overs.
Stanford were keen to start more positively then they did in the previous week but Belhus opener Jamie Riley bowled with good pace and accuracy as he swung the ball to knock over openers Luke Abbey and Alex Ellis cheaply. With the score 31-2, Leslie joined Knight at the crease. Knight began in confident mood as he punished the loose deliveries he received and once Owen Jefferies removed Leslie, Stanford only needed another 30 runs. Michael Gray (12 not out) finished proceedings with Lee Knight finishing on 34 not out as Stanford won by 7 wickets.
Stanford captain Knight again praised his bowlers after the game and they were backed up by some outstanding fielding. Knight added ‘We know Belhus bat right the way down the order so it was essential that we kept a strong hold on them at all times. We were very impressive today and hopefully we can use this as a platform to build on in future weeks’.