Belhus 4th 104 all out
Hornchurch 5th 94 all out
BELHUS gained promotion to the premier division for fourth eleven teams following this tense and slender victory over Hornchurch at Ockendon Recreation Ground on Saturday. The visitors won the toss and elected to field, with opening bowler George Maydell cashing in with four wickets for just 36 runs from twelve overs (one maiden). With John Moody and Barry Bones picking up two wickets apiece as Belhus were sent packing, it was going to take something special to defend their meagre score. Yet paceman Rob Long and his captain John Wilson delivered by sharing eight wickets between them. Long made short work of the Hornchurch batsmen by claiming four wickets at a cost of just twenty runs, hitting the stumps three times with his remaining wicket being provided by a catch from Keith Dhannie. Wilson finished with 4-21 from nine overs.
Only two Hornchurch batsmen reached double figures, being Tony Willison with 14 and Maydell who contributed 15 in difficult conditions. Earlier, Andrew Williams top scored for Belhus with 24 until he became one of John Moody’s victims, number ten batsman Mike Squires contributed 17 until being trapped leg before. Both openers also made double figures, being Eathan Morris and Terry Squires with 10 and 16 respectively.
Belhus 2nd 208-7
Horndon on the Hill 2nd 57 all out
Belhus moved in to third place of their Shepherd Neame Essex division following their 151-run defeat of their near neighbours. Chris Baker struck a fine 51 and there were further solid contributions from Wayne Read 33, Mark Sansom 24, and Stephen Huckstepp hitting 30. Imran Mohammed cashed in at the end of the innings with some hefty blows to close undefeated on 43. After tea, the home innings was fully accounted for after just 24 hours as Jack Martin-Hussey bagged five wickets for just 16 runs from seven devastating overs. Mohammed completed a fine all-round performance with 2-23 from nine overs (three maidens), while Billy Maidment mopped up the Horndon tail with 3-11 from just three overs. Only Laurence Petts reached double figures for the hosts with 15 runs to add to his earlier impressive bowling performance. He had picked up 4-65 including the vital wicket of Baker, while David Cracknell’s efforts with the ball yielded 2-28 from 16 overs.
Stanford le Hope 3rd 147 all out
Belhus 3rd 151-4
Tom Thompson and Russ Blackburn featured in a 116-run partnership for the second wicket as Belhus maintained their second place position and kept their promotion hopes alive. Tom Thompson hit 59 while Blackburn clubbed his way to a fine 63. Daniel Trigg was the pick of the home bowlers at Stanford Recreation Ground with three wickets, conceding just 13 runs. Earlier, Andrew Freeman started brightly for Stanford with 29 and Mark Mahoney top scored with 37. But only one other host batsman reached double figures, that being a knock of 25 from Darren Hales. Yet again Alan Maidment initiated the carnage. Four wickets with just a 26-run expense was another fair return for his workload while there were two wickets apiece for Aidan Mason, Jack Plane and Paul Hall.
Belhus 1st 122 all out
Wickford 1st 123-2
It was a Saturday to forget for Belhus who came away from this North Stifford exercise absolutely pointless. Relegation-threatened Wickford deserved the plaudits for taking the game to the hosts as Jamie Went removed the first four Belhus batsmen and finished with 4-23 from twelve overs. Then David Cole and Daniel Pryke picked up three wickets each. Though six home batsmen reached double figures, only number seven Danny Norris threatened. It was a high risk strategy of taking the game to the opposition, but at 85 for the loss of eight wickets, there was little to lose. Norris hit 34 from only 36 balls faced, eventually having to return to the pavilion with a lofted drive which held up in the unseasonably strong south-westerly breeze and was gratefully pouched by Adam Deller.
Wickford reached 40 without loss but then lost their two wickets before the half-century was reached. Dale Kinsey was caught by Ryan Wells of Norris (1-32) for 30, while Paul Corps followed soon after for a patient 13, caught by Roy Heffernan off Daniel Dreher (1-16). There was no further loss as Dean Etchells was undefeated following a majestic innings of 61 from 62 deliveries, which included twelve boundaries. Despite this setback, Belhus remain top of the Shepherd Neame Essex second division with only two matches left to play.
There was better news from the Belhus fifth eleven, who won by 127 runs against Chelmsford sixth eleven. Jack Thomas scored a maiden century; he has now recorded the highest individual score by a Belhus fifth team player following his 108 at Chelmer Park. There was also a half century for Jim Robertson, who made 55.