Sunday, 12 August 2018

Horspath extend gap to drop zone despite loss

HORSPATH increased their advantage over relegation rivals Oxford despite a 59-run home defeat on the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern system by title-chasing Henley in Home Counties Premier League Division 1.

Will Eason's side are now 39 points ahead of Oxford, who occupy the second relegation spot, with three games remaining.

Horspath were always up against it after left-handers Matt Rowe and Jack Davies shared an opening stand of 188 to set the visitors on the way to a formidable 282-8 after being put in to bat. Off-spinner Tom Cosford ended their partnership in the 39th over when England Under 19s wicket-keeper/batsman Davies was caught at long off by Robbie Eason for 76 off 102 deliveries, which included a six and eight boundaries.

Two balls later, Rowe, who like his opening partner had survived a number of chances, went to a fine century with a single down to long on off the same bowler. Rowe brought up Henley's 200 with the second of two successive fours off Mark Skelton, who then suffered a nasty knee injury while fielding at deep extra cover.

Will Eason had Euan Woods caught by his brother, Robbie, at long off, making it 207-2, before the Horspath skipper accounted for Rowe, who was snapped up by Tom Coleman at square leg for 123 from 142 balls with 15 fours to leave Henley 219-3.

Stephen Green was then lucky to escape with nothing more than bruising when he fell on the fence outside the clubhouse in attempting to catch James Rishton. The Henley batsmen was out off the next ball, though, caught by Liam Manley at mid-on off Will Eason, making it 243-4.

Richard Morris had smashed 35 from just 24 balls when he became Cosford's second victim, caught by Manley at long on, with the score on 272. Without addition to the score, Horspath's off-spinner struck again by trapping Tom Oldershaw lbw.

Henley had added ten more runs when Darryl Brown bowled Euan Brock and then had Tahir Afridi caught at deep mid-wicket by Robbie Eason off the final two balls of the innings. Cosford, with 3-42 from his ten overs, was Horspath's stand-out bowler. Will Eason picked up 3-49 and Brown 2-49, while Asad Rafiq also bowled well without any luck.

Tom Coleman and Robbie Eason got Horspath's run chase off to a swift start, putting on 64 off 11 overs, before the former was stumped by Davies off Rowe for 31. Just one run had been added when Eason, who had also made 31, fell to the same combination with Davies pouching an edge, and Horspath were firmly on the back foot when with the addition of a single, Green was caught at mid-wicket by Rishton off Rowe, making it 66-3. The Henley off-spinner had taken three wickets in the space of 19 balls for just two runs to put his side firmly on top.

Horspath slipped to 94-4 when Will Hawtin was bowled attempting to sweep a delivery from left-arm spinner Gurveer Singh. Cosford hit Rowe for two straight sixes in a rapid 22 from 11 balls, before the Henley bowler gained his revenge by having Horspath's big-hitting all-rounder caught at long on by Woods, making it 123-5. Will Eason was then bowled by Afridi to leave the hosts 147-6.

Brown, meanwhile, had been keeping the scoreboard ticking over at the other end and became the first batsman in the league to reach 700 runs this season when he had made 36. The South African went on to complete his seventh half-century this term to add to the 118 he hit against Oxford with a single into the onside off Afridi.

Wickets continued to fall, though, with Rafiq caught at extra cover by Morris off Tom Nugent to make it 163-7. Lloyd Belcher joined Brown to take the score to 198, before Horspath's left-arm spinner was caught at long on by Brock off Woods for 12.

Brown was undefeated on 76 from 81 balls, which included a six over square leg and ten fours, when play was washed out after 46 overs with Horspath well short of their DLS target at 203-8. Rowe finished with 4-46, while Woods, with 1-16 from nine overs, Singh (1-25), Nugent (1-47) and Afridi (1-52) were Henley's other wicket-takers.

Posted by: Russ