The Rollercoaster Continues

Last weekend, Henley CC 3rd XI made the short trip up the road to Harpsden CC, where they played host to Hurst CC 1st XI. On arguably the hottest day of the summer so far, and Regatta Saturday, the Henley boys were keen to escape the crowds and snaffle a win at the two teams’ first clash of the 2013 season.

 

Following a cordial greeting at the gates by Lord Birkett jnr., Earl of Harpsden, who had made the short commute down the valley from the estate earlier that morning, the team proceeded to apply sun cream and warm up in usual fashion.

 

Captain Palmer won the toss and following a thorough assessment of the playing conditions, decided to make the most of the hard track, glorious sunshine and delightful views overlooking Henley Golf Club on one side and Birkett Manor on the other, and have a bat. This proved initially to be a good call, as after the early loss of Price, Henley top order batsman Kenworthy and Budhaayer (AKA Rita) piled on the runs. Both looked in good form and played some pleasing strokes, the pick of which being a couple of sumptuous lofted extra cover drives from Kenworthy, much to the delight and wild applause of the eager Henley supporters. However, the introduction of Hurst bowler Higgs put an end to Henley’s keen optimism. In an impressive display of spin bowling, Higgs dispatched both Kenworthy (43) and Budhaayer (46), and with the help of James, then continued to accelerate through the Henley middle order, claiming the wickets of Gurung, Homewood, Legg, Neville and Palmer, in a rampage leaving Henley floundering on 120 odd for 8. A brief resistance from Henley’s Ranger and Hopkins ensued, allowing the home side to limp to 144 before Higgs struck again, leaving Henley stranded on a pretty sub-par score. Higgs finished on 6-15 from 11.5 overs.

 

With 57 overs to score 144 runs, the Hurst opening batsmen looked confident as they strode to the crease, however excellent opening spells from both Palmer and Gurung (0-15) restricted and frustrated both Smith and Hibbs, the latter eventually falling to Palmer (1-23) LBW for 12. A bowling change saw Budhaayer (0-34) have a crack at the batsman with his off spin, at times completely bamboozling both players and bowling a total of 5 maidens; he was very unlucky not to be rewarded with a wicket or two. Neville (0-21), Hopkins (0-8) and Ranger (0-25) were equally unsuccessful and not even the Earl (0-13) himself could offer Henley a reprise. Smith (77*) and Singh (51*) eventually saw Hurst home, bringing their side a comfortable 9 wicket win. A hard fought effort from Henley 3’s, although they were far from their best. Time to start over next week!