League leaders see off Shenley

Cockfosters triumph in low-scoring affair

Cockfosters 148 Shenley Village 102

Cockfosters won by 46 runs

SHENLEY Village suffered a frustrating afternoon away at league leaders Cockfosters, as they were disappointingly unable to capitalise on a promising start; ending up the losers by 46 runs against a side who maintained their 100 per cent record this season.

It began brightly enough as Shenley won the toss and inserted the home side on a helpful-looking wicket after overnight rain. They were quickly rewarded as the openers Reid and O’Leary were soon walking back to the pavilion - Reid trapped lbw by James Davenall in the third over and his partner caught at first slip by Morgan Stanley, off the bowling of Craig Rawlings, leaving the score on 32-2.

Left-arm seamer Davenall was having a good afternoon as he struck twice in one over, removing the in-form Tony Sayers for 23 - caught at mid-on by Dave Shelley - and having Penny caught for a duck, reducing the home side to 48-4.

Jono Bennett and captain Chris Stead were the mainstay of the Cockfosters innings. Bennett was eventually caught off the bowling of Shelley for 35 while Stead hit two 6s and five 4s in a determined 49* whilst wickets fell all around him.

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A double-wicket maiden from off-spinner Dion Ebrahim helped to bring about the fairly swift demise of the tail, the innings ending with the running out of last man Ben Sayers, leaving Cockfosters all out for a modest 148. Davenall took 3-43, Shelley 2-28, Rawlings 2-36 and Ebrahim 2-37.

After the break, Shenley’s batsmen found the going tough on a tricky pitch that appeared to favour the seamers. Opening bowlers Matt Stead and Andy Browne bowled unchanged throughout the 38.5 overs it took to bowl Shenley out and Browne, in particular, caused problems for the visitors.

Shenley started well to reach 24-0 before, after an aggressive innings of 18, Anooj Vadgama was caught off the bowling of Stead in the seventh over. This triggered a collapse with Browne removing Vadgama’s opening partner Keith Muller shortly afterwards and then Lloyd Willingham and Matt Evans, to leave Shenley struggling at 51-4.

Captain Ebrahim then attempted to hold the innings together, and was successful to some extent by staying at the crease for an hour and a half for his 31 as further wickets fell. He finally became the seventh wicket to fall when he was caught off the bowling of Stead, leaving his side at 90-7. An exciting innings from Tharic Sameem gave Shenley some renewed hope of pulling off a win. He made a big-hitting 20 before one big shot too many saw him caught; again off the bowling of the accurate Browne.

Rawlings defended well to hold up proceedings from one end, but it proved too little, too late, for Shenley as tailenders Davenall and Shelley were both quickly despatched to end the innings on 102 all out. Browne finished with figures of 5-54 and Stead with 4-49.

With only a handful of points gained from this encounter and the top sides beginning to pull away, Shenley must beat Hemel Hempstead II next Saturday at Shenley Park to keep their promotion hopes alive.