ORSETT Cricket Club became the South Essex District Cricket Board’s U14 indoor champions with one match still to play as their “A” team successfully chased a testing Horndon tally of 119 for the loss of four wickets at Grays School on Friday evening (8th February). Such was Orsett’s determination that they reached their target with one over to spare, with Connor Boreham leading the way with an impressive 34 not out. He received valuable support from Dylan Rose with 22 runs while Lewis Markham finished with 13 not out as Orsett reached their championship-winning total of 120 for the loss of three wickets within eleven overs. Earlier, Connor O’Neill of Horndon was everything that Boreham displayed later, as O’Neill crashed his way to a quick-fire 32 not out, supported by Callum Newton who had 18 runs to his name. Orsett “A” bowlers Joe Pumfrett, Markham and Jack Plom returned figures of 1-26, 1-24 and 1-28 respectively, while the pick of the Horndon bowlers were Zak Burdett with 1-22 and Nicholls with 1-23. Orsett’s successful run chase was the highest seen in youth indoor cricket locally since Grays and Chadwell U12s successfully chased down a score of 120, also set by Horndon, in November 2009.
If there was a trophy for escapism, then the Belhus club might be worthy winners, following the houdini-style exploits of their team. While their opponents, Thurrock “A”, had scored 85 for the loss of four wickets, Belhus found themselves at a precarious six runs for the loss of four wickets after just two overs. But then Eathan Morris joined Harry Pacey and these two put on 56 for the fifth wicket, until Bilal Qureshi held on to a lofted cover drive from Morris (23 runs) off the bowling of Tom Elflaim (3-13). Pacey was able to strike a six and a four from the start of the eleventh over bowled by Charlie Hodge (1-14), but with the next delivery the safe hands of Bilal Qureshi proved to be the match winner as Pacey was dismissed for 18 and the Belhus team likewise for 75, just eleven runs short of their target with nine balls remaining. Nevertheless, it was a monumental effort from the Belhus pair after an inspirational performance from Catherine Hodge. The Thurrock player took a reflex two-handed catch high above the head at cover point off a fierce drive from Mark Fogg, then came on to bowl and promptly bowled Billy Maidment without score. Three balls later, Braydon Scarlett was dismissed, courtesy of a catch by Catherine’s brother, Charlie. Catherine Hodge finished with figures of 2-23 from three overs. Earlier, Shameer Qureshi hit 26 not out and Elflaim was also unbeaten, with eleven runs, in a Thurrock “A” innings thwarted by some accurate Belhus bowling. George Maidment conceded just six runs (one maiden) and claimed a wicket in a tidy three-over spell, while Morris laid the foundations for a strong all-round effort with 2-10 to his name, also from three overs.
Stanford le Hope overcame Orsett “B” by 36 runs, after they batted first and posted a match-winning total of 93 for the loss of two wickets. Callum McCarthy was instrumental with 28 not out while William Pearn provided the backing with an undefeated ten runs. Sheraz Shahid was the pick of the Orsett “B” attack with 1-14. In reply, his team were restricted to 57 for the loss of five wickets, as Alfie Drum rolled out figures of 2-6 despite the best efforts of Orsett’s Harry Bull, who finished with 10 not out. This week’s fixtures (Friday 15th February): 6pm – Horndon on the Hill v Stanford le Hope; 7pm – Thurrock “B” v Orsett “A”; 8pm – Orsett “B” v Belhus.