North Essex Cricket League

Weekly Round-Up

Week 7 (June 3rd) - Halstead and Stebbing remain unbeaten, as Elmstead withdraw

A disappointing week which saw yet another withdrawal from the NECL, significantly, Division One side Elmstead, the all too well known reason being cited, player availability on a Sunday. If there are any ideas out there to make the Sunday game more appealing, particularly to the younger age groups, apart from T20 which is already on offer, then please get in touch with the Exec Committee.
On the field of play, the sun did shine for the majority of the day, and eight matches reached their conclusion. In Division One, Galleywood have their second win of the campaign following a home victory over Clacton. In Division Two, Halstead are back on top of the pile with a seven wicket victory over Abberton, Great Totham were convincing winners at home to Eight Ash Green, while closest finish of the day came at Witham, where visitors Chappel & Wakes Colne prevailed by four runs. In Division Three, there appears to be no stopping Stebbing who made it four out of four with a five wicket win at Boxted, elsewhere, there were first victories of the season for Cavaliers by nine wickets over West Bergholt, and for Real Oddies by 87 runs over Great Horkesley & Lexden. Just one of the two scheduled T20 matches in the West Division took place, Braintree were unable to raise a side for their home game with Little Bardfield Village – the sides are looking to re-arrange, but if it is not possible the game will be recorded as a Braintree concession. On the pitch, Kelvedon are virtually assured of their second Finals Day appearance following an 11 run win over 2016 champions Coggeshall at Rye Mill Lane. Individually there was just one century, with Ashok Sharma recording an unbeaten 139 for Real Oddies, James Banks of West Bergholt was unlucky to miss out, scoring 98 out of his teams total of 128.

Division One
The only game in Division One this week, following Elmstead’s withdrawal from the competition, as Galleywood entertained Clacton at Slades Lane. Batting first after winning the toss, Galleywood found progress difficult with only Tom Nurcombe (45) showing any tenacity at the wicket. Matthew O’Brien (3 for 34), James Lee (3 for 12) and Harlan Greig (2 for 41) were the chief wicket takers as Galleywood posted a middling 148 for 9 from their 40 overs. The total was bolstered by important contributions down the order from Sam Adams (20) and Tom Moss (20). In reply, Clacton were soon under the cosh, as Zack Hicks (2 for 21 from 7) and Clay Westwood (1 for 14 from 9) bowled tight opening spells. Tom Moss (3 for 21) and Duncan Walton (1 for 25) the excellent performance with the ball from Galleywood, before Ben Rayner quickly wrapped proceedings up in his single over, taking 3 for 2, to see Clacton bowled out for 108. Just four Clacton batsmen reached double figures, but the only player to reach 20 was number nine Charlie Spence (20).

Division Two
Halstead are back on top of Division Two, following a seven wicket win over Abberton at Star Stile. Some of the Lions players could probably have been forgiven, having enjoyed a tour to Shropshire during the week, so recovery was possibly needed rather than physical activity. Elliott Mann (39) and Matt Sullivan (33) scored well at the top of the order for Abberton, before a mid order collapse saw them slip to 94 for 6. Spinners, Josh King (2 for 10), Sam Walter (2 for 29) and Andrew Charlton (1 for 32 from 9) causing the fall of wickets. Ryan Savill (32) and Brad Mann put on a 57 run partnership for the seventh wicket, before Callum Hansey (2 for 36) claimed Savill’s wicket. Mann eventually scored an unbeaten 29, as Abberton closed at 159 for 8. Harry Pritchard (41) and Taylor Nicholson (20) got Halstead off to solid start, and with Mark Johnson moved the score to 89 for 2 before a brief shower intervened causing the covers to be used. On the resumption of play, Halstead lost Mallett cheaply, before Johnson (64no) and Joe Morris (29no) put on an unbeaten fourth wicket stand of 72 to ease the hosts to victory in the 34th over. Will House (2 for 46 from 9) and Chris Southernwood (1 for 10) were the wicket takers for Abberton.

Limited details from the Great Totham against Eight Ash Green match, as the result has not been inputted onto Play-Cricket (£10 fine added to the coffers). An Eight Ash Green total of 196 for 5 was short of a competitive total, despite an opening stand of 96, between Richard Polley (62) and Will Spicer (43). Bevin Guthrie (36no) and Alex Hammond (26) saw the visitors up to their total. In reply, Totham raced to a nine wicket victory in 28 overs, with all three batsmen recording half centuries. Harry Cooper (52) was the only man out, before the Chadwick’s, Josh (58no) and John (56no), saw Totham home. Spicer, with 1 for 28 from 5, was the solitary wicket taker for the Green.

Tightest game of the day came at Witham, where the visitors Chappel & Wakes Colne scored their first victory of the season with a narrow four run win. Batting first after winning the toss, a good platform for Chappel was built by an opening stand of 87, between Ross Wyatt (50) and Harry Bryant. Bryant (59) went through to his second successive fifty of the campaign, before Tom Whiteman (44) and Tris Moseley (18) lifted the visitors to their interval total of 198 for 5. Witham’s Ollie Cooke (3 for 30 from 8) was the most successful of their bowlers. In reply, Carl Bragg (64) and Michael Godwin (37) scored well at the top of the order to seemingly put Witham in control of the run chase. However, with Ben Jackson (3 for 40) removing Bragg, and Tom Whiteman (1 for 25 from 9) bowling a containing spell in the middle of the innings it left Witham requiring 13 from the final over. The final over did not start off too well for Sam King who bowled to Forster Mutizwa, who promptly dispatched the first ball for six. However, King (2 for 55) regained his composure to limit Mutizwa (46) to just two runs from the last five deliveries to see Chappel to victory.

Division Three
Stebbing made it four out of four in Division Three, with a five wicket victory at Boxted to increase their lead at the top of the division. Boxted took first knock and were soon losing wickets with regularity. Chris Townsend, bowling a typically miserly opening spell (1 for 18 from 9) made the breakthrough, which was capitalised on by Tom Reardon (3 for 6 from 6), Harry Olorenshaw (2 for 2), Simon Sargent (2 for 19) and Jason Gallian (2 for 26), which saw Boxted bowled out in the 37th over for 92. Things could have been worse for the home side, as they were 50 for 7, before Andy Wilson (28) salvaged some respectability to the innings. Reardon then lead the reply with a fluent 37, before he was caught in the gully by an outstanding catch from Michael Dell. Harry Wilton (3 for 17 from 6) saw Boxted claim a couple of bowling points, but Stebbing eased to a five wicket success in the 26th over.

Cavaliers secured their first victory of the campaign with a nine wicket win over West Bergholt, who have now lost their opening three games. Raouf Rasheed made an immediate impact claiming the wicket of Dan Grice with just one run on the board, on his way to figures of 3 for 21 from 9. Bergholt skipper James Banks played a seemingly outrageous innings in the context of the game, as he smashed fifteen fours and three sixes, and was unlucky not to register three figures, on his way to 98. Unfortunately no other Bergholt player was able to support him, with five ducks registered as they were bowled out for 128, Banks contributing an incredible 77% of the total ! The wickets were shared around, with Prakash Kannan (3 for 12), Fowad Murtaza (2 for 12) and Farhan Munir (2 for 22) backing up Rasheed at the beginning of the innings. Imran Ikram also had a good afternoon behind the stumps claiming three catches. The solitary blip in the Cavaliers fielding display was the single over delivered by Craig Finch, as Banks milked it for 30. The Cavs then raced to victory in just fifteen overs, with Fowad Murtaza (54) and Noman Jalib putting on an opening stand of 86. Haji Nazeer Ahamed (20 not out from 15 balls) completed the run chase with Jalib unbeaten on 41. James Aldridge (1 for 25) claiming the single success for West Bergholt.

Real Oddies have their first win of the campaign courtesy of an 87 run win over Great Horkesley & Lexden. No doubt who the star of the show was for the Oddies, scoring an unbeaten 139 from 120 balls, including 19 fours and one six, Ashok Sharma dominated the innings. Scott Rees (35) was the only other player to reach double figures, enjoying a second wicket stand of 112 with Sharma. Real Oddies eventually closed on 223 for 7 from their 40 overs. For the Saxons there was a brace of wickets each for Graeson Laitt (2 for 46 from 9) and Mahesh Arcot (2 for 27). In reply, Great Horkesley & Lexden then limped to 136 all out in the 38th over, with only Shiraz Amin (54) and Robin Seller (23) posting any scores of note. All the Oddies bowlers claimed wickets, with debutant K Kauchu (2 for 20 from 9) the stand out return. Stuart Ward (2 for 26), Mukesh Kumar (2 for 29) and another debutant M Miller (2 for 31) also picked a pair of wickets each.

T20 – West
Another tenner to the fines coffers, as Kelvedon have failed to enter the scorecard for their T20 game with Coggeshall. Seems as though Ed King was the star of the game with 66 in Kelvedon’s innings of 160 for 8, and then took the bowling plaudits with 3 for 34 as visitors Coggeshall were restricted to 149 for 6 in reply. Kelvedon now virtually assured of qualification to Finals Day, with three wins out of three.

Centuries and Five Wickets

Ashok Sharma 139 * Real Oddies v. Great Horkesley & Lexden

Performance of the Week
Ashok Sharma 139* Real Oddies v. Great Horkesley & Lexden
James Banks 98 out of 128 West Bergholt v. Cavaliers
Tom Reardon 37 & 3 for 6 Stebbing v. Boxted
Ed King 66 & 3 for 34 Kelvedon v. Coggeshall T20

Congratulations to Matt Durrell for his second Performance of the Week honour last week, his 127 against Mistley receiving 37% of the vote.

Next Week
Eight fixtures are scheduled for next Sunday, in Division One, Colchester & E.E. will look to close the gap on Wivenhoe, as they travel to Mistley. In Division Two, third and fourth placed sides Witham and Great Totham enjoy a derby day at The Park, while Eight Ash Green will be looking to get up and running as they host Chappel & Wakes Colne. In Division Three, there is a full programme with all eight sides in action. Unbeaten leaders Stebbing welcome unbeaten Coggeshall for a top of the table clash (although technically, Coggeshall still have a concession on their record). Third placed Boxted make the trip to another side who are unbeaten Kelvedon & Feering, while Cavaliers and Real Oddies will be looking to continue their recent success with home victories over winless Great Horkesley & Lexden and West Bergholt respectively. In the T20 competition, Coggeshall welcome Galleywood to Harefield in the West Division, with both sides looking for a first win.