Shenley keep promotion hopes alive

Ebrahim’s side ease past Chipperfield

SHL Division Two

Shenley Village 228

Chipperfield Clarendon 152

Shenley won by 76 runs

ANOTHER comfortable victory kept Shenley’s promotion hopes alive as they beat Chipperfield Clarendon by 76 runs at Shenley Park.

A warm and sunny Saturday delivered a pitch that both sides would have chosen to bat first on. In the event it was Shenley who won the toss and openers Anooj Vadgama and Tharic Sameem took to the crease.

Most Read

Vadgama made 10 before he was caught behind while Sameem, in time-honoured fashion, punished the opening bowler from his end, hitting 24 - all in boundaries - from 20 balls. He then fell to the same bowler, medium-pacer Tom Fitzgerald, as he was caught at long-off to leave the total on 38-2 after eight overs.

After the loss of two further quick wickets, Shenley’s prolific captain Dion Ebrahim and No.6 batsman Morgan Stanley brought some much-needed stability with a crucial partnership of exactly 100 to anchor the innings.

Ebrahim, who moved his total league runs for the season beyond 800, was eventually dismissed lbw for 82 as he began to accelerate the scoring, while Stanley survived a drop by the ‘keeper when he was on 20 to compile an assured 47 before being bowled by Australian Mike Brammer, who was having a more potent second spell.But by this time the score was a respectable 198-6 from 45 overs and Shenley would have felt they had regained control of the game.

Rahul Gajjar and Rob Laney contributed 32 and 16 runs respectively before the home side were eventually all out for 228 in the final over. Brammer took 5-72 and Fitzgerald 3-33.

Chipperfield Clarendon found themselves restricted in the opening overs, with both Rob Laney and Craig Rawlings bowling tightly – Rawlings’ opening four overs going for just a single run. But despite their excellent economy they failed to make a breakthrough and it was the introduction of the Shenley spinners that proved the turning point of the game.

Leg-spinner Rifkhan Hameed had opener Iain McNicholl caught at mid-wicket for 19 with the total on 54 and went on to take the next seven wickets too in an incredible spell, including the crucial wicket of Alex Moore - who remained at the crease for over two hours and top-scored for his side with 78. Brammer was the only other batsman to make double figures, eventually finishing unbeaten on 19.

At 122-8 in the 37th over, the visitors were never in with a realistic chance of a win and could only hope to survive the remaining 10 overs for a draw. But Shenley continued to apply the pressure, setting an intimidating field with men crowded around the bat and with the wicket-taking Hameed continuing from the pavilion end in the exciting final overs in an attempt to take all 10 wickets.

Despite Hameed’s best efforts, it was fellow-spinner Sameem who took the last two wickets for figures of 2-8 as Chipperfield Clarendon were all out for 152 with five overs to spare. Hameed ended with a hugely impressive 8-57 on his return to the side after an eight-week absence.

Shenley moved up to fifth in the Division Two table and next week face a crucial away encounter with newly-installed league leaders Reed - a match they will realistically have to win in order to preserve their promotion chances.