Sunday, 10 June 2018

Fitzjohn cracks maiden Home Counties century

James Fitzjohn made a superb 100
JAMES Fitzjohn hit a brilliant maiden Home Counties Premier League century in Horspath's high-scoring Division 1 draw at Henley.

He made 100 from 159 deliveries to help Horspath to 238-5 in reply to the champions' 308-3 dec after they had been put in to bat. Fitzjohn, who survived a chance in the slips just before tea after he had passed fifty, was especially strong off his legs as he racked up 18 boundaries.

After Horspath had been in early trouble at 13-2 and then faltered again at 71-4, he shared in a club record fifth-wicket stand of 141 with Darryl Brown, who continued his good run of form with an unbeaten 86 from 80 balls. Fitzjohn had come to the crease with Horspath 0-1 after Will Robertson was bowled by Tahir Afridi, and they suffered a further blow when fellow opener Tom Coleman was caught behind by Michael Williams off Tom Nugent.

Robbie Eason then set about rebuilding the innings with Fitzjohn, and they took the score to 70 before the former was caught by Euan Woods above his head at mid-on off left-arm spinner Gurveer Singh for 15. One run later, Mark Skelton fell to James Rishton's direct hit without scoring and Horspath were wobbling.

But Brown and Fitzjohn stood firm and gradually got on top of the bowling. The South African went to his half-century in style with five successive boundaries off left-arm spinner Gurveer Singh in the 40th over, twice punching the ball through the offside while sweeping three other deliveries to leg in glorious fashion.

Fitzjohn, meanwhile, timed the ball superbly on occasions and reached three figures with a deflected four through third man off James Rishton in the 50th over. His partnership with Brown - which beat Horspath's previous best for the fifth wicket of 101 by Rameez Raja and Stephen Green against Oxford in 2016 - came to an end in the following over when he spooned a delivery from left-arm spinner Euan Brock to Michael Roberts at mid-off.

Rain was falling steadily by this stage, but Brown, who hit 14 fours, and Green saw Horspath safely to the close, with the latter hitting a big six into the trees at mid-wicket to rub salt into Henley's wounds.

Earlier, Horspath's bowlers were made to toil as Henley captain Michael Roberts hit a superb 109 in a club record opening partnership of 211 with Matt Rowe (86). The pair had taken Henley to 150-0 at lunch, and they maintained the momentum after the interval until off-spinner Tom Cosford trapped Rowe lbw, with his 131-ball stay including two sixes and eight boundaries.

Without addition to the score, Lloyd Belcher then claimed the wicket of Roberts, who was caught by Brown at deep extra cover as he attempted to add to the two sixes and 11 fours in his 167-ball innings. Horspath's left-arm spinner struck again when Richard Morris was caught by Robertson at long-on for 24, making it 258-3.

But Woods then proceeded to smash an unbeaten 47 from 35 balls, while Rishton chipped in with a brisk undefeated 25 to enable Henley to declare after 61 overs. Belcher finished with 2-79, but Cosford, with 1-80 from 20 overs, was the pick of the Horspath attack. Horspath remain in eighth place in the table.

Posted by: Russ