Smithers stars in draw

OA all-rounder hits 25-ball 62 and takes a wicket in high-scoring draw with Northchurch

SHL Division Two

Old Albanian 295-6 dec

Northchurch 215-4

Match drawn

JONATHAN Smithers hit an impressive 25-ball 62 in Old Albanian’s high-scoring draw with Northchurch at Woollams.

OA skipper Ravi Vijh won the toss and elected to bat and it looked to be a good decision as the home side rattled up the runs.

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Gary Sweetman (14) and Vijh (23) fell to Northchurch’s David Vila and Andy Vardanega before opener Alf Rehman and David Pimm put on 102 for the third wicket.

Pimm’s knock was another extraordinary effort hitting seven 4s and five 6s on his way to a 43-ball 78 before being caught off the bowling of David Pearce.

Pimm’s work had left OA in a strong position at 193-3 but only two runs had been added to the scorecard when Rehman (60) joined him back in the pavilion caught by wicketkeeper Stephen Meager off the bowling of Tom Vila.

This only served to bring Smithers to the crease who went about dismantling the visiting bowling attack with brute force.

James Reynolds (26) and Tom Preest (1) both fell at the other end as Smithers (62*) and Nick Nguyen (7*) took OA to 295-6 before skipper Vijh declared.

The pitch certainly seemed to favour the batsmen with Northchurch’s opening pair Matthew Cox and skipper David Pearce putting on 138 for the first wicket.

Pearce (76) was the first man out caught by his opposite number Vijh off the bowling of Smithers.

Smithers was certainly in the thick of the action holding onto a catch to dismiss Vardanega to give Reynolds his first wicket.

Reynolds claimed his second victim when he clean bowled opener Cox for 78 to leave Northchurch on 176-3.

The visitors then began to dig in with Steve Bateman and Ali Fantham frustrating the home bowling attack. Bateman made 33 before becoming Reynolds’ third victim, Vijh collecting his second catch of the contest but OA couldn’t make any further breakthroughs as Fantham (9*) and Sam Bateman (11*) ensured a draw.

OA travel to Harpenden II on Saturday.