Ebrahim stars in Shenley victory

Captain hits 117 before taking 4-34 in 33-run win

SHL Division Two

Shenley Village 277-6dec.

Knebworth Park II 244

Shenley Village won by 33 runs

SHENLEY Village’s welcome return to form continued as they emerged the winners by 33 runs from a high-scoring game during which both sides kept the scorers extremely busy. On the hottest day of the season so far, visitors Knebworth Park II won the toss and elected to field first; inserting Shenley in seemingly favourable batting conditions.

Opener Anooj Vadgama got off to his customary assured start, in partnership with Keith Muller. The pair were looking good until, in the ninth over, Muller launched one skywards and was duly caught by the wicketkeeper.

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Vadgama was joined at the crease by Shenley skipper Dion Ebrahim and the pair quickly put on 54 before Vadgama was caught by Colin Letford for 39 off young spinner Harry Jerome.

By this time, Knebworth were bowling spinners at both ends, but anything short was soundly punished, as the home side took advantage of a fast outfield and short boundary. Ebrahim’s 117 at better than a run a ball - the Zimbabwean’s maiden century for the club - was the highlight of the innings. He produced a largely untroubled display of classy strokeplay, which included 15 4s. Having survived a possible caught behind chance when on 115, he was finally despatched in the same manner just a couple of balls later, with a big edge going straight to wicketkeeper Alex Axon, as opening seamer Jack Thorn returned for a second spell.

Ebrahim was ably supported by notable knocks from Matt Evans (run out for 30) and Morgan Stanley, whose powerful hitting at number six produced a valuable, quickfire 53 off just 32 balls before he was finally caught, off the bowling of spinner Michael Salerno in the 50th over in an attempt to add further quick runs ahead of a declaration. This came at the end of the same over with Shenley setting a challenging target of 278 to win from 50 overs. Thorn ended with figures of 2-62 whilst spinner Salerno, who had bowled 20 overs, finished with 2-100.

After tea, with the sun still beating down, Shenley’s seamers were finding little reward for their toil. Young opener Axon particularly impressed, as the visitors raced to 95 without loss in 16 overs. However, as it had been in the Shenley innings, it was the spinners that brought about a breakthrough. Leg-spinner Rifkhan Hameed had opener Steve Gregory trapped lbw for 29 and Axon’s innings finally came to an end on 96 from just 81 balls, as he also fell lbw, this time to off-spinner Ebrahim. With the demise of Axon, Knebworth’s hopes of reaching their target looked less likely and of the remaining batsmen, only Ian Woods (25) was able to make a sizeable contribution. The earlier Shenley declaration paid off, as with three additional overs at their disposal, they were able to bowl out Knebworth for 244 with 4.2 overs in hand. All 10 wickets fell to spinners - Ebrahim taking 4-34, Hameed 4-107 and Tharic Sameem 2-31.

The victory moves Shenley up to seventh spot in the Division Two table. They will have to perform well to move further up next week as they travel to Chalk Lane to take on table-topping Cockfosters who are yet to drop a point this season.