Sunday, 8 July 2018

Horspath collapse sparks home defeat by Slough

HORSPATH collapsed in dramatic fashion on the way to a seven-wicket defeat at home to high-riding Slough in Home Counties Premier League Division 1.

Having reached 138-3 after choosing to bat, Horspath lost their last seven wickets for just 37 runs to crash to 175 all out - a total which provided few problems for Slough. The hosts had 17 on the board when Tom Beresford edged a delivery from Ikhlaq Nawaz to wicket-keeper Fasil Noor, and one run later the same combination accounted for Robbie Eason after he chased a wide one.

James Fitzjohn and Darryl Brown moved the score on to 52 when the former fell for 16 to a brilliant catch by Daniyal Akhtar diving low to his right at gully off left-arm seamer Muhammad Haroon. Brown and Will Hawtin took Horspath to lunch at 85-3 and maintained the progress after the break.

A cracking boundary through the covers off Ali Akbar Raja took Brown to his fifth half-century in seven innings. But he fell soon afterwards for 54, with Slough's left-arm spinner having the South African, whose runs came off 118 balls and included seven fours, caught by Akhtar at deep square leg. Hawtin, in attempting to sweep, was then trapped lbw in Raja's next over for 44, making it 147-5.

Eight runs later, Tom Cosford was caught by Bobby Sher at mid-wicket off Shahid Yousaf, and Horspath slipped deeper into the mire at 169-7 when Stephen Green holed out to Conrad Louth at mid-off off Raja. Just three more runs had been added when Mark Skelton was lbw to Yousaf without scoring, and skipper Will Eason was then bowled by Raja, making it 174-9. Alfie Turner, making his debut at just 14, was the last to go, bowled by Yousaf, who finished with 3-20, while Raja returned figures of 4-48 from 20 overs.

Horspath's total never looked likely to be enough against Slough's talented batting line-up, but Will Eason gave his side early hope when Akhtar sent a leading edge to Fitzjohn at cover, making it 27-1. Fahim Qureshi, who survived an early chance off Tom Cosford, and Conrad Louth then moved the score on to 65 when the latter, having just hit a delivery from Brown over mid-off for four, attempted to repeat the feat and was caught by Cosford for 22.

Just before tea, Turner was given the opportunity to bowl a couple of overs of off-spin during which Qureshi went to fifty with a single into the covers as the interval arrived with Slough on 103-2. Qureshi and Yousaf went on to share a stand of 95 after the resumption, before Horspath had their only other moment of joy with Stephen Green claiming his first Home Counties wicket. Yousaf had made 37 when he edged the occasional leg-spinner into Hawtin's gloves for 37, making it 162-3.

Qureshi saw Slough to victory, though, clinching the win in the 42nd over, guiding a delivery from Green through third man for four as he finished unbeaten on 91. His runs came from 130 balls, and included 14 fours. Green finished with 1-9, while Eason's figures were 1-19 off nine overs and Brown 1-32.

The defeat sees Horspath slip down to eighth in the table - 16 points above ninth-placed Oxford, who they visit next Saturday.

Posted by: Russ