Cricket: Joyce and Day lead from the front

Belhus 1st 250-8

Hainault and Clayhall 1st 215 all out

Belhus captain Danny Joyce and his paceman Connor Day led from the front to give Belhus a hard-fought 35-run win at North Stifford on Saturday. Opener Joyce hit a fine 61 from 92 deliveries which included six fours. Day continued the good work in the post-tea session by claiming three wickets from the ten over allotment at a cost of 39 runs. Earlier, Roy Heffernan, batting at number five, bolstered the Belhus total with an undefeated 41. Veteran stumper John French took five catches behind the timbers to dismiss Joyce, Billy Winter for 19, Martin Guilbert for 12, Charlie Lewis for just two runs and Daniel Dreher for 13. Top visiting bowler was fourth change Khalil Khan with 3-37 from ten overs.

It was certainly a day for wicketkeepers as Michael Fogg pouched four cherries, including the arrest of the rampant run-chase of Irfan Shah and Mousshin Ismail. These two had scored 80 and 70 respectively until their wickets were claimed by bowlers Liam Wilson (1-42) and Day respectively. With in-form visiting skipper Ryan Hurst being trapped leg before by Day for just seven runs, the dismissal of Ismail heralded a collapse as Hainault and Clayhall lost their last six wickets for just 34 runs. Bhalandip Singh was the only visiting batsman to join Shah and Ismail in double figures by reaching 13.

Guilbert, fourth change bowler for the home side, was instrumental in the late demolition of the guests with 3-36 from six overs. Gary Sanderson, Liam Wilson and Winter picked up one wicket each as Belhus reinforced their leading position in the Shepherd Neame Essex League division two table, 33 points clear of second place Gidea Park and Romford.

Hainault and Clayhall 2nd 313-4

Belhus 2nd 314-8

In an extraordinary afternoon at the Jack Carter Pavilion ground, Belhus smashed their own record for the largest winning run-chase in their 57-year history. It all seemed unlikely as the visitors were looking down the barrel of a big defeat at 187 for the loss of seven wickets, despite 52 from Wayne Read. Then Jake Wolfe and Jack Martin-Hussey turned the game on its head as they took the score to 292 – an eighth wicket partnership of 105 as Wolfe struck 76 not out and Martin-Hussey hit 57. It was left to Matthew Williams to accelerate the score still further with 21 from four deliveries to see Belhus home with seven balls remaining. Williams’ match winning scoring sequence was six, four, six from a no-ball, two runs from the free hit and a further two runs to put a very happy Belhus team over the finishing line.

Earlier, Rehman hit 78 and Mahmood struck a fine 91 for the hosts while Braydon Scarlett of Belhus deserves praise for returning 2-47 in the batting paradise. The following day, Belhus seconds lost away at Locksbottom by seven wickets. Ewan Day picked up 2-17 from eight overs after Adam Dudmish and Steve Huckstepp had scored 33 and 17 respectively.

Belhus 3rd 253-3 dec

Leigh on Sea 3rd 95 all out

Russ Blackburn struck a maiden century for Belhus with a magnificent knock of 117, with 96 of those runs coming in boundaries. Blackburn hit ten sixes and nine fours – after being dropped second ball! Nick Marns provided valuable support until he was bowled by Bailey for 49 and skipper Jack Plane was on 37 when he decided it was time to bring the innings to an early close. After tea, Leigh’s number four Ryan Parker was the mainstay with 31, but with Adam Dudmish making inroads with 4-44 from 14 overs (two maidens), the writing was on the wall for the Belfairs Park hosts. Billy Maidment and Aidan Mason picked up two wickets each and there was one apiece for Alan Maidment and Plane.

Hutton 5th 89 all out

Belhus 4th 90-2

Rob Long ensured Belhus went six points clear of Fives and Heronians in the Shepherd Neame Essex League fourth eleven west division by taking 5-23 from 12.3 overs which included four maidens. Home captain David Franklin top scored with 31 until he was bowled by Zak Wilson (1-18 from four overs). Jamie Fairweather impressed with 2-25 from eight overs while John Wilson and Mike Squires picked up one wicket each. It was a cautious response from Belhus as veteran left-hander Mike Randall was undefeated on 20, Paul Hall made 13 and the hard-hitting Keith Dhannie finished on 34 not out. For Hutton, Mitul Patel returned 2-24 from 12 overs which included two maidens.

Wickford 5th 144 all out

Belhus 5th 148-5

The Belhus fifth eleven recorded their first win of the season as openers Jack and Connor Thomas hit 40 and 31 respectively to give the visitors to Wickford Memorial Park a strong start as they chased down the home score. The momentum was carried forward by captain Neil Sullivan’s undefeated 27 while Billy Sloan was also at the crease with 15 when the target was reached. Earlier, Lundgrun and Pinchback scored 24 and 23 respectively but fifth change Ryan Prendergast picked up three wickets at a cost just 13 runs from 5.2 overs, three of which were maidens. Brett Page bagged 2-23 while there was one wicket each for Bradley Bunce, Sloan, Jordan Sullivan, Connor Thomas and Bob Mead. The old adage that catches win matches was certainly true for Belhus as David Sullivan, Bunce and Prendergast held stunning chances. For the home side, Lundgrun and Pinchback completed good all-round performances as they both claimed two wickets.

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