06:00PM, Monday 08 July 2019
Littlewick Green’s Kirk Graham.
Hurley made the short trip to Littlewick Green and arrested their run of defeats in the Chiltern & Mid Bucks Premiership One. The hosts won the toss and elected to bat first on a track that stated behaving erratically from the off, with bounce varying between ankle and head height. Naeem Akhtar showed Hurley what they had been missing this season as he settled into his usual rhythm and produced a late in-swinger to remove the off stump of the left-handed Christie Green. Akhtar then removed the other opener Thomas at 30 for 2. South Africans, Kirk Graham and Warren Fry added some stability to the innings with a 44-run partnership which was broken by the pace of Shobab Riaz. This brought Matt Wood to the middle to join Graham and as the wicket lost some of its venom the pair set about building a big partnership. Graham rode his luck, being put down on the square leg boundary by Riaz off Liam Cole and then the bowler spilling the chance of a return catch. With a big score building, Akhtar was recalled and got the breakthrough, dismissing Graham, but not before he had posted his century and the score passed 200. As Littlewick looked towards a declaration, Michael Grayson and Wood started to swing the bat with intent. Grayson survived an appeal for caught behind off Langlands but had dragged his back foot and the eagle-eyed Walton behind the stumps sent him on his way. Wood fell to Akhtar in the 42nd over has he looked to reach three figures before the declaration came, setting Hurley the task of scoring 248 in 48 overs.
The Hurley reply, led by Akhtar and Riaz, started slowly, reaching 38 in twelve overs before Riaz holed out to Junaid Akhtar in the covers off Green. Akhtar and Arshad soon followed to leave the visitors wallowing at 51 for 3 after fifteen overs. Mike Cole joined his son Josh and stemmed the flow of wickets with a dogged partnership of 23 in ten overs. The dismissal of Cole senior led to vociferous celebrations by the young Littlewick side. With the required rate now reaching 7.5 an over, any real hopes of a Hurley victory were gone. Walton loves nothing more than a blockade and he duly dropped anchor. Matt Wood ended Cole’s resistance as the Hurley skipper was unlucky to flick a leg-side full toss to Critcher at fine leg. Four deliveries later, Akash Singh was bowled off his pads. The veteran pair of Ridgeway and Walton defied the Littlewick bowlers for ten overs as they tried everything they could, including sledging to try and force a breakthrough. The introduction of Fry did the trick as Walton top-edged a full toss to backward square with Hurley still nine overs from safety. Dogged defence from Mandeep Singh, who was unlucky to be adjudged leg-before to Green, left Langlands and Ridgeway to survive another eleven deliveries, which they did without alarm and taking the score past 150 to secure what might turn out to be a couple of vital bonus points as Hurley look to stave off relegation.
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