Henley faced Peppard Stoke Row in the final of the Under 13s County Cup at Reading Cricket Club on Sunday morning. On a rare sunny day Henley won the toss and elected to bowl on a flat hard but green track. The Peppard Stoke Row openers, Owen Rabden and Charlie Wagstaff were immediately put under pressure by Henley’s opening attack – the pace, hostility and accuracy of
Eliot Hyman and the vicious turn and bounce of off-spinner Jonathan Trist.
Runs were hard to come by and JT soon had both openers well caught by the athletic Rory Nicoll fielding at mid-off. Having conceded just 12 runs from their opening 8 overs skipper Monty Bradbury brought spin twins Harry Purslow and James Head into the attack. Purslow immediately bowled Joseph Weakley with his first ball and Head had the dangerous looking Ed Atkinson
caught behind by Liam Hilditch in his first over. Henley continued to apply the pressure with tight bowling and aggressive, athletic fielding and Peppard Stoke Row soon buckled. Owen Simmons top edged Head to the keeper Hilditch, and Oliver Sedgwick immediately chipped it straight to Will Hammersley in the covers. John Evans was then run out enabling Purslow and Head to finish the innings clean bowling Stanley Hamblin and James Watts respectively. Purslow finished with 3 for 10 and Head 4 for 7 from their 4 over spells.
Chasing just 34 to win Henley opened with the youthful combination of Henry Thorby and Chanula Wickramaratna. Both openers looked comfortable but after blazing a beautiful square cut for 4 Chanula was bowled by Joseph Weakley.
Promoted to number 3 Freddy Loveland didn’t last long but this brought Rory Nicoll to the crease. Clearly in a rush to finish the match Nicoll hit a quickfire 13 including two mighty fours and a cheeky reverse sweep before being bowled by the impressive Weakley. Hammersley clearly wanted to join in the fun but was LBW first ball trying to reverse sweep Weakley, much to the
amusement of the Henley crowd. JT came in to knock off the remaining runs with Thorby to see Henley to a 7 wicket win with 12 overs to spare.
Henley now go onto the national competition and play Eastcote CC (the Middlesex county champions) in the 1st round of the NatWest National Club Championship.