Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Cricket: Belhus pay tribute to Stanford at anniversary clash

Belhus 1st 80 all out
Stanford le Hope 1st 81-3

Cricket. Supposedly a summer sport played on dry, sun-baked pitches under azure skies. Unsurprisingly, there was an abject lack of proof in this theory at Stanford le Hope recreation ground on Saturday after the latest pre-match dousing put paid to batting being anything other than a mountainous struggle. At least they played. The following day, all five Belhus matches were washed out. Stanford won the toss, asked Belhus to bat and the difficulty began. Openers Gavin Jefferies and Wayne Read put on 19 for the first wicket by scoring 22 and 10 respectively. Danny Joyce stuck around for a patient 23 from 66 deliveries and Michael Fogg collected ten runs. But from 71-3 Belhus lost their remaining seven wickets for just nine runs as Ross Poulton and Gary Sanderson ripped through the visitors, both picking up four wickets at a cost of just nine runs. Poulton bowled a mammoth spell of spin, thriving in conducive conditions. His fourteen overs comprised no fewer than eight maidens. Stanford’s Lee Knight played a captain’s innings of 34 not out despite the best efforts of Jamie Riley, 2-26 from eight overs (one maiden) and Owen Jefferies, 1-10 from four overs.

Belhus 2nd 287-6 dec
Stanford le Hope 2nd 210-9

Ryan Wells crashed his second senior century for Belhus at North Stifford which was also a personal best, but then had to be content with a draw as Stanford’s tail enders Mark Knight and Ryan Smith held on for a valiant draw. Wells hit 106 runs until he became one of Sachin Sewgobind’s four victims as Kevin Smith gratefully held on to the catch. Richard Day contributed with a fine knock of 53 until he was caught by Paul Cross – one of three Cross catches in the outfield. Belhus captain Chris Baker delayed his declaration to enable Lee Webber to reach the 50 mark undefeated as Sewgobind finished with 4-90 from 17.4 overs while Adam Knight gave valuable support with 2-98 from 16 overs. Earlier, Mark Sansom had contributed 33 and Mathew Lewis junior struck 20. After tea, Stanford opener Kevin Smith hit 12 fours in a fine knock of 56 until he was caught by Imran Mohammed off the bowling of John Forrest (1-33), while Robert Pearn fell just one short of a half-century following a good catch by Lee Webber off the bowling of Sam Hall (2-23). Offering support to the Stanford run chase and the subsequent shut-out were Greg Barr with 17, captain Harry Mayer with 43, which included two sixes, while Adam Knight contributed 16 runs.

Southend on Sea EMT 4th 147 all out
Belhus 3rd 151-5

Southend’s openers Martin Hill and James Gilroy put on 86 for the first wicket by scoring 36 and 37 respectively. Unsurprisingly, batting was a struggle on a rain-affected pitch as Belhus workhorses Alan Maidment and Robert Long maintained strong pressure. The pacemen bowled 30 overs between them as both finished on 0-44, with Rob Long enduring a mammoth 19-over spell. The home batsmen attempted to release the shackles when Cliff Cansdale was introduced to the attack. But Hill and Gilroy holed out going for lofted drives straight into the safe hands of Michael Randall, who would not have been fielding in the position had he not claimed to have lost a twenty pound note from his trouser pocket in the vicinity. Two catches pouched and the lost cash found atop the lush outfield. Sterling work indeed. Then, when wicketless Long was replaced by Jack Plane at the Warrior Square Road end, Plane’s first ball yielded a wicket when the previous 114 deliveries from Long had failed to do so. As an added irony, Plane’s wicket came courtesy of a mid-wicket catch – by Long. Cansdale went on to claim 6-26 from 13 overs (four maidens), while the remaining four wickets were snared by Plane (4-16 from five overs) as the home side collapsed from 118-2 to 147 all out. Plane is now the club’s leading wicket taker with 21 victims to his name. After tea, Belhus captain Stuart Morris led the way with 59, while opening batsman Tom Thompson hit 26. Amit Gohil struck an aggressive 37 in the middle order as Belhus banked a comfortable win.

Belhus 4th 241 for 7 dec
Upminster 6th 50 all out

Upminster won the toss and elected to field, but a good opening partnership from Jim Banner, 64, and Dale Kenyon, 63, got Belhus off to a flying start. A mini collapse ensued after Kenyon was superbly caught by Reynolds just inside the boundary line. However, Peter Clark restored some order when he came to the crease with a fine 53 not out. Unquestionably, the Belhus man of the match was Kenyon as he removed much of the Upminster resistance with six wickets at a cost of just eighteen runs from ten overs. This return was a career best for the young all-rounder. He was ably supported with 3-16 from Paul Whitlock while the visitors’ last man, Holder, was picked up by Lee Hawkes.

Harlow Town 5th 78 all out
Belhus 5th 79-4

The home side were invited to bat in this fixture at the picturesque Coopersale ground on Saturday. The New Towners looked to be in a reasonable position as they progressed to 45 for 2 after eleven overs, with both wickets being captured by Daniel Wakeling. But then Joe Downes, from the Belhus U15 squad, returned the best ever Belhus fifth eleven individual bowling figures of 5-10. His personal best figures devastated the hosts as they crashed to 61 for the loss of eight wickets. Toby Reynolds joined Wakeling with two wickets. Despite a quick flourish of runs at the end from Kazmi, Harlow Town’s resistance was ended inside 25 overs. After tea, openers Barry Ruck, 32, and Reynolds, 19, saw Belhus attain 50 runs after just eight overs. A mini collapse saw Belhus lose four quick wickets, before Steven Playle secured victory with a couple of lusty blows.

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