OAs stroll to Stortford victory

Five-wicket win for OAs

SHL Division Three

Bishop’s Stortford II 197-8

Old Albanian 200-5

OAs won by five wickets

OAs gained another welcome 30 points via a five-wicket win away to Bishop’s Stortford II on Saturday, as the side’s recent momentum continued to the tune of 130 points from the last six matches (two abandoned).

After heavy overnight rain left the outfield damp, but the wicket relatively dry having been covered, Stortford II won the toss and chose to bat first in cloudy weather. OAs got off to a good start as “Jimmy” Hayat and Victor Stairmand both found troubling length and movement, with Hayat removing both openers at a personal cost of five runs and the home side struggling at 8-2 in the ninth over.

Most Read

First change bowlers Jack Reynolds and Ahsan Ali then put the home side in deeper trouble at 42-4 in the 19th over. However, home skipper Moreton held firm and found a strong ally in Brooks who, after Moreton edged a Parsons lifter to Stairmand at slip, dominated the bowling and gradually began to break down the visitors’ bowling on a good batting track.

An excellent partnership of 96 with Lindop changed the flow of the game, until a persevering second spell from Stairmand brought him two wickets and some skilful late overs from skipper Vijh slowed down the momentum at the end, with the result that the Stortford innings closed on 197-8 after the allotted 53 overs.

Stortford chose to retain the old ball for the start of the OA innings, and opener Richard Parsons departed cheaply with a mistimed drive to mid-off. But positive batting from ‘keeper Zahid Karim developed the innings while Chris Dobson kept the home bowlers at bay at the other end. The new ball was taken after 16 overs, and soon afterwards the outswing of Dodson accounted for Karim, lbw looking to play to the leg side, for a well-made 34.

Jimmy Hayat and Dobson began to play more expansively against the new ball until, off the last ball of the 29th over, and the score at 111 and the partnership worth 55, Dobson drove Dodson fiercely and the ball struck Hayat on the heel of the right hand with such force that he had to retire hurt. This took the steam out of the run chase for a while although Dobson continued to bat positively and reached his 50 off 78 balls, only to be bowled shortly after for 52.

Jack Reynolds then began to assert dominance with some excellent drives through mid-wicket, and after the cheap loss of Ali Khan and Rasool, he was joined by skipper Vijh with 45 needed off 10 overs. Aggressive running now created runs seemingly from nowhere and induced several mis-fields. Some well-struck leg side blows from Vijh progressively cut down the target, which was reached with 10 balls to spare when a cover-driven 4 by Reynolds ended the match with Reynolds tantalisingly one run short of a well-deserved 50.

Stortford will rue two important and relatively easy dropped catches in the field, Karim at mid-off before he got off the mark, and Reynolds at long-off when on 26, but this was a well-judged run chase by OAs who started slowly, but never allowed themselves to get too far below the required run rate to achieve a challenging total.

A hard-fought and crucial win for OA II arose with just four balls to spare on Saturday, as Chipperfield Clarendon 3s went down by 29 runs at Woollams.

The visitors, rock bottom of Division Seven, won the toss and inserted OAs on a slightly damp wicket, which allied to a lush outfield made life tricky for the OA batsmen. With a battling display, they totalled 180-6 off 53 overs - Tariq Hassan leading the way with an unbeaten 49, with Owen Neal (36), David Rourke (23) and Steve Jeffrey (20) the other main contributors.

In reply, CC’s top order batted doggedly and the game was evenly poised at drinks, with the visitors on 80-2, Perry Hall taking 2-32. However, two quick wickets after drinks from Hassan and Tom Preest (2-28) turned the game in OA’s favour, and the spinners then chipped away at CC’s lower order.

Inspired bowling changes from skipper Julian Baines saw Hassan (2-28) switch ends and seamer Chris Strivens return down the hill - Strivens took the last three wickets by bowling quick and straight, to finish with 3-32 and seal the match at the death.

A young OA XI convincingly defeated Saracen CC by 76 runs at Woollams on Sunday.

After OAs elected to bat on a bare but firm wicket, Gyan Rhodes - with a stylish and latterly brutal 97 featuring 12 4s and three 6s - was the mainstay of OA’s 208-6 after 40 overs. Henry Scott (28) and skipper David Rourke (19*) both featured in stands of 70 with Rhodes.

In reply, OA’s quartet of Under-16 bowlers were a touch inconsistent but produced some wonderful deliveries to skittle the visitors for 132 in 34.2 overs.

Jack Burman (2-18) and Jonny Muir (2-28) used the new ball productively, before spinner Dom Baldwin (3-17) ran through the lower order. Rourke held three good catches at slip.