Henley beat Royal Ascot with 10 men… Again!

Henley 3s won the toss and elected to bowl first on a damp pitch with heavy rain forecast and only 10 players. Hopkins and Schenk took the new ball and looked dangerous but the Ascot openers, including Henley’s curator King dug in and made an opening partnership of 51 before Schenk got the breakthrough of King caught LBW on one that arguably kept a tad low. After only one more Ascot run Very managed to catch Miller who spooned one high off Hopkins.

With 2 new batsmen at the crease Henley were able to apply some pressure and runs dried up with the guile of Palmer and Ranger not giving much away, resulting in a fine diving catch by Ranger at square leg to dismiss Wensley for 23. The inevitable happened and rain interrupted play, but after the short break the Ascot batsmen Sweetman and Ellison really applied themselves and got into the bowling of Ranger and Palmer. Some hard hitting from the middle order and two missed opportunities behind the stumps got Ascot up to 162 before the fall of the fourth wicket of Sweetman, caught by Gurung off Palmers bowling for 38, who should have also been caught previously in the deep by Ranger.

The return of seam bowling from the opener Hopkins brought further terror to the away team, and bowled Ascots top scorer Ellison’s off stump on 49 who look set for a big score. Henley into the heart of the Ascot batting line up got 2 run outs in quick succession after some suspect calling decisions and great fielding including a direct hit from Budhaayer.

Ascot ended up on 213-9 declaring at 49 overs. Henley had 49 overs to get the target due to the 2 over reduction because of the rain delays. Starting with intent both Smith and Very looked in good nick until the stumping of Smith out for only 13. Hopkins in at 3 started with 2 fours through the covers and supported Very who was playing some exquisite cricket. Hopkins was then out for 10 bowled by Barlow. Henley’s superstar number four, Nepalese international Budhaayer wasn’t hanging about and got going from ball one. With Verry and Budhaayer playing shots all around the park the Ascot bowlers were struggling. Verry reached his half century shortly followed by Budhaayer who reached it off 33 balls only to be adjudged LBW the next delivery.

Gurung the next man in stayed with Very until the latter was bowled after a fine innings of 63. This brought keeper-batsmen Manoharan into the game. A short but sweet 14 was added to the total before being caught trying to push on. Chappell met his companion Gurung out at the wicket. Both played sensible cricket and saw Henley home with 25 and 17 respectively. A key 5 wicket win for the 3rd team who seem to have secured their place in next year’s division 3a of the Thames Valley League.