1st XI vs Harold Wood (Away) – League.
Harold Wood 85 all out from 32.3 overs.
Chelmsford 311/4 (dec) 53.3 overs.
Chelmsford win by 226 runs.
Captain Leading from the Front - Sterland’s Glorious 196 Gives Chelmsford a Comfortable Win vs Harold Wood.
A phenomenal innings of 196 from Chelmsford captain Jack Sterland helped record an easy win against Harold Wood in the 12th round of fixtures. Sterland was helped by batting partner Robert Catchpole in an incredible 4th wicket partnership, which lasted 244 runs, with Catchpole finishing on a brilliant 80*. Chelmsford were not only impressive with the bat, but with the ball also. Seamer Liam Keaney collected his maiden 5-wicket-haul for the 1st XI which helped to bowl out the home side for just 85, in reply of the target of 311/4 Chelmsford set after declaring.
Saturday 24th July saw Chelmsford take a trip up the A12 for a visit to Harold Wood in the 1st XI Division Essex League. In order to boost their title chances even more, the visitors needed to bring back a victory to Chelmer Park against a side that’s struggled all season. Going into the game, Harold Wood had only recorded one win so far this season and were sitting at the bottom of the table, so with Chelmsford flying high in pole position, it was fair to say that the away side were favourites going into the match.
The weather forecast looked like it wasn’t going to be too friendly for a game of cricket, but alas no rain occurred, and the two teams were able to start at the correct time of 11am. Harold Wood’s captain Craig Perrin won the toss and elected to field (not knowing himself and his team were about to witness a magical innings from the opposition skipper).
Harold Wood began very well with the ball and claimed an early wicket in the 4th over when Dan Hagen was caught by Hassan Malik from the bowling of Dan Carter, meaning that the opener had to depart for a duck after facing just five balls. Chelmsford were 9/1. This brought Ben Clifford to the crease and the batsman began to build an innings with his captain with the pair reaching the 12th over on 42/1. However, B. Clifford and Jack Sterland wouldn’t add anymore to their 33-run partnership as the number three was brilliantly bowled by Shahbaz Khan in the 13th over. After just getting his eye in, B. Clifford departed for 15 from 25 balls and Chelmsford were 42/2. Khan with a wicket-maiden.
Older brother of Ben, James, was next in and set his eyes on building a worthy partnership with Sterland but five overs later their plans were foiled. Carter claimed his second wicket on the last ball of the 18th over when he bowled J. Clifford out for 8 runs off 24 balls. This meant that Chelmsford were 67/3 with Harold Wood looking to cause upset.
After seeing the back of three batting partners, Sterland was joined by Robert Catchpole and the pair needed to put on a strong partnership to: firstly, put their side in a more comfortable position, secondly, put the pressure back on Harold Wood and finally ease off any temptation of a middle order batting collapse which has been witnessed many times this season for Chelmsford.
It was clear Sterland and Catchpole were reading off the same hymn sheet as the pair looked solid in defence and attacked when the bowlers delivered a bad ball. As demonstrated in the 22nd over when they took 18 runs from it, which included four 4s.
In the 22nd over, Sterland reached a well-orchestrated half century from 69 balls which included ten 4s! So, with himself and Catchpole at the crease, Chelmsford were looking fairly good and in an over later the visitors reached 100/3. A few overs afterwards, the pair reached the 50-run partnership in just 56 balls with Sterland contributing 36 off 27 and Catchpole adding 14 off 29 to the 50. The opener was looking to be the more aggressive batsman in order to put pressure on Harold Wood’s bowlers, with Catchpole still scoring well, but digging in to make sure the partnership was a worthy one- and oh did it turn out to be.
The home side threw seam and spin at both batsman but couldn’t make a breakthrough as the visitors reached 150/3 in the 36th over after 139 minutes of play. In the over which proceeded Chelmsford reaching 150, captain Sterland recorded his 4th century of the season after just 116 balls and looked like he could bat all day. The celebrations didn’t stop there though as three balls later Sterland and Catchpole reached the 100-partnership and deservedly were welcomed with an echo of applause from their teammates.
It was fair to say Chelmsford’s batsmen were fully under control at this point and in the 42nd over the away side reached 200 runs without losing a fourth wicket- 200/3 after 158 minutes of play. Three overs after this, Sterland and Catchpole congratulated each other, roughly in the middle of the 22-yard pitch, to mark an exceptional 150 run partnership. The two really were setting an example of class batting and portraying the pure talent they possess. Five balls later, everyone in the near vicinity of Harold Wood Park witnessed Sterland cap a fantastic display of batting by reaching the 150-run milestone in just 143 balls. A truly outstanding knock which so far included twenty-two 4s and five 6s with a strike rate of 104.8!
After praises were given to Sterland for his mesmerizing display and the batsmen as a pair, plaudits were given to Catchpole singularly in the 48th over after he reached 50 runs from 88 balls which included seven 4s. With the threat of a potential shower heading over to Harold Wood Park, the Chelmsford batsmen put their foot on the accelerator in aim to achieve a score which was comfortable to declare on but also possibly see Sterland reach the double century…
Seven balls after Catchpole reached his half century, Chelmsford placed themselves on a score of 250/3 after 48.5 overs and exactly one over later the two inform batsmen achieved the 200-run partnership. Sterland added 137 off 99 and Catchpole 61 off 93 towards those 200 runs without a loss of wicket.
Again, with Harold Wood unable to break through the unbelievably tight defences of Sterland and Catchpole, Chelmsford reached 300/3 in the 53rd over, after exactly three and a quarter hours of play.
Sadly, for the Chelmsford faithful but to the delight of the Harold Wood players, Sterland was bowled out in the 54th over by Taqi Abbas after attempting to send one to the boundary in hope of reaching his double century. The Chelmsford captain departed the field on a truly phenomenal 196 from 169 with his compadre Catchpole, who was part of a mammoth 244-run partnership, as Sterland chose to declare after losing his wicket. Catchpole left the field undefeated on 80* from 104 balls.
So, with Sterland unable to reach 200 and a threat of rain, Chelmsford declared on 311/4, setting Harold Wood the target of 312 to win or batting out the rest of the day for a draw.
Harold Wood’s opening pair of Hamzah Ikram and Shahzad Hafeez were tasked with setting their side off to a good start in reply of Chelmsford’s above par score of 311. However, their innings couldn’t have gotten off to a worse start when Ikram departed the field for a duck, after he was caught by Catchpole from the bowling of Liam Keaney on the last ball of the first over. This meant that Harold Wood were 0/1 after the first over and Keaney claimed a wicket maiden.
Craig Perrin was next in at number three for the home side but was instantly sent back to the changing room after being judged LBW from Andy Styan’s first delivery of the day. A golden duck for Perrin gave Chelmsford the opportunity for a hat-trick of wickets and a chance to put the visitors at 0/3 after just 8 balls. Christopher Bennett halted the opportunity however and saw off Styan’s bowling to finish the over with Harold Wood on 5/2 after two overs.
Disappointingly for the hosts, Hafeez would not put on a partnership with Bennett as the opener was brilliantly caught by Oliver Devenish in the slips from the bowling of Keaney. Like Perrin, Hafeez departed for a golden duck which meant Harold Wood were 10/3 after their first three overs and were seriously in trouble of not getting anywhere near Chelmsford’s score of 311.
After three wickets tumbled in each of the first three overs, Khan joined Bennett with the initial aim of not making it four wickets from four overs and the main task to plug the fall of wickets and somewhat turn their disastrous start it into a healthy innings for the home side.
To a certain extent, Bennett and Khan managed to do so but not to the extent that would see them with a more comfortable score. Only five overs passed when Chelmsford claimed their fourth wicket of the day, which happened to be Khan’s after he was caught by Jack Cook from the bowling of Liam Keaney in the 9th over. This meant that Juwel Roy was the next batsman at the crease at number six, but his innings would end exactly like Perrin and Hafeez, for a golden duck. Another great catch from Devenish at second slip enabled Keaney to be on a hat-trick ball and Roy was sent on his way with Harold Wood incredibly having their third batsman leave for a golden duck in this innings alone.
With more than half of the home side’s batsmen departing for a golden duck, the pressure was on Malik, to not only survive the hat-trick ball but to not make it four golden ducks of Harold Wood’s innings. To the relief of Malik and his comrades, he survived the next ball and looked to build with Bennett. However, after just three overs since Keaney’s double-wicket maiden, Bennett departed for a reasonable 20 off 32 after he was caught at second slip by Devenish, from the bowling of Keaney. Harold Wood were at an alarming 37/6 after 13 overs and Keaney claimed another wicket-maiden and his maiden 1st XI five-wicket haul!
Chelmsford were getting into a rhythm, especially Keaney with his bowling and Devenish with his fantastic catching at second slip, so a difficult objective of somewhat reviving Harold Wood’s innings was placed on the shoulders of batsmen Malik and Ausman Ginai.
The pair nearly survived eight overs together when Ben Waring claimed his first wicket of the day on the last ball of the 21st over. The Chelmsford spinner had Malik edging one to Sterland at first slip which meant Malik had to exit with just 3 runs off 35 balls. This placed Harold Wood at 54/7 after 21 overs.
Abbas joined Ginai and the pair looked comfortable against the spin attack of J. Clifford and Waring as the host’s batsmen boosted their side’s score to 83/7 at the start of the 31st over. However, Waring soon changed this when he had Ginai chipping one up to J. Cook for a routine catch, meaning the number 8 left for a relatively decent 30 from 58.
From this, the hosts were no longer taking to spin easily and in the over after Ginai’s departure, J. Clifford claimed his first wicket of the day when he had Abbas out LBW for 14 off 31. A wicket-maiden for J. Clifford meant that Harold Wood were 85/9 off 32 overs with Chelmsford staring at a comfortable victory on the horizon.
The visitors wrapped up the game just seven balls later when Carter was caught by J. Clifford from the bowling of Waring, meaning that Harold Wood were all out for just 85 in reply of Chelmsford’s 311/4 (dec). Waring picked up three wickets after Keaney’s maiden 1st XI fifer and J. Clifford and Styan with the one wicket each.
This victory for Chelmsford keeps them at the top of the table, 13 points in-front of second placed Wanstead with a chance to keep top spot should they get a positive result next week when they host Billericay at Chelmer Park.
2nd XI vs Ilford (Away) – League.
Chelmsford 165/4 from 33.3 overs.
Ilford 164 all out from 45.4 overs.
Chelmsford won by 6 wickets.
12.30 Saturday, a dry Chelmer Park for a change, but forecast is for afternoon thunderstorms, possibly.
Ilford win the toss and choose to bat on a surprisingly dry hard strip.
Nair (27) and Ul-Haq (45) start very positively and after 8 overs, Ilford are on 47-0, having seen already seen off Rishi Upadhyay (2-0-23-0) and Harry Arnold (2-0-15-0). Against Mark Drain from the bottom end, they are more circumspect, his corresponding figures being (4-1-8-0).
Cran brings Fergs on at the top end!, a rarity in itself. Next over, the 10th, Drainy makes the breakthrough, trimming the bails of Nair. 49-1.
The scoring rate is slowed somewhat as Ilford advance to 73-1 off 15 overs. Cran makes the decision to rest Drainy
(7-1-15-1) and Fergs (4-0-19-0), and introduce spin, in the form of Rob Hayto's off-spin from the bottom end and Stuart Everard's leg-spin from the top. This has the effect of further slowing the scoring rate, to around 3 an over.
And then, in the 23rd over Stuey takes 2 wickets in 2 balls. Ilford's No.3 top edges massively and skies to Fergs at mid-off. Next ball, opener Ul-Haq (45) nicks behind to Cran, Ilford 92-3. The hat-trick ball is defended. Stuey has 2-5 from 4 overs.
After half-way drinks at 25 overs, 99-3, Cran brings on Tom Halsey in place of Rob Hayto (5-1-16-0). Tom opens with a maiden, followed by a wicket-maiden, in which the ball runs up the bat to be be comfortably caught by Cran. Five overs later, a bowled wicket for Tom reduces Ilford to 117-5 with 16 overs remaining, and thoughts of 200+ receding fast.
Ilford skipper Bhogal (29) and Patel (23) combine sensibly to add another 34 in 8 overs, and then the innings implodes, as the returning Drainy bowls Bhogal, and the tail is skittled, by Drainy and Tom, the last 5 wickets going down for 13 in 21 balls.
Ilford are dismissed for 164, four overs short of their allocation of 50.
Drainy's second spell (2-1-5-3) gives him overall figures of (9-2-20-4). Tom claims 2-7 off his last 10 balls to give him overall figures of (10.4-2-40-4). Stuey's figures of of (13-2-27-2) are indicative of his control and economy.
So Chelmsford's target is 165 off 49 overs. Very achievable on recent batting form.
And so it proves as Hayto (49), plays the anchor role (and the jug avoidance card) as Harry Page (20), Gary Chidley (15), and Rishi, (44) along with 29 extras, mainly byes, take Chelmsford to the brink of victory. James Liddiard (7*) and Harry Arnold (1*) are at the wicket as the win is secured with 3 more byes, just as the victorious 1's return flushed from their crushing win against Harold Wood.
Congratulations to Sterls for his fantastic 196, Catchy, (isn't he actually the 2's captain and keeper?) 80* and Keano's 5-23.
Momentum maintained. Wanstead had a 20 point win at home to third placed Shenfield, so the points difference remains +37 with 6 games left.
And it is to Shenfield that the 2's travel to next week intent on 'maintaining that momentum'.
3rd XI vs Buckhurst Hill (Home) – League.
Chelmsford 254/7 (dec) from 46 overs.
Buckhurst Hill 69 all out from 30 overs.
Chelmsford win by 185 runs.
- Matthew Cook – 79.
- Luke Wilson – 63.
- Hugo Skepelhorn – 28.
- Matthew Cook – 7 overs, 2 maidens, 15 runs, 5 wickets.
- Tanay Mukherjee – 7 overs, 3 maidens, 10 runs, 2 wickets.
- Rory Skepelhorn – 8 overs, 5 maidens, 10 runs, 1 wicket.
- Abdul Baig – 8 overs, 2 maidens, 29 runs, 1 wicket.
4th XI vs Brentwood 4th XI (Away) – League.
Brentwood 110/5 from 27.1 overs.
Chelmsford 109 all out from 44 overs.
Chelmsford lose by 5 wickets.
- Paul Keaney – 33.
- Jordan Campion – 20.
- Henry Pearce – 10*.
- Shona Keaney – 12 overs, 3 maidens, 43 runs and 2 wickets.
- Aditya Kuzhupilly – 5 overs, 18 runs, 2 wickets.
5th XI vs Hutton 4th XI (Home) – League.
Chelmsford 192/9 from 45 overs.
Hutton 196/5 from 36.1 overs.
Chelmsford lose by 5 wickets.
The fifth team continued their campaign to literally drop out of Division 13 with another shambolic fielding display. Ben Lawrence bowled another good spell but it was the adults in the side who performed well with the bat.
Suhail Shahid (48) struck the ball well to give the innings impetus and Dave Hutchinson (39) provided good support. From 100 for two from 21 overs the middle order subsided to 111 for six from 31 with the Abbott brothers doing the damage.
Freddie Abbott (4-9) was particularly successful but from 126 for seven, Matt Spinks (32) and Andy Rodgers put together a good partnership. James Abbott (3-22) returned to take another wicket as the innings closed at 192, Rodgers unbeaten on 36.
Despite some good bowling from Ryan Cheverall, Verma (39) and Fitzgerald (27) put together a strong opening partnership. The introduction of spin brought the breakthrough and both fell in successive overs for 71 to Oakley Bromfield and Lawrence; Fitzgerald being superbly caught by Spinks.
However, the theme of the rest of the match was set between these two events as number 3 Crispin was dropped on a very straightforward catch off the back of Oakley’s bowling. Crispin would receive multiple reprieves on the way to a match winning 52.
Lawrence (3-42) continued to cause problems but some expensive overs at the other end meant insufficient pressure was retained. Hutton passed the target with nearly four overs and five wickets in hand.
Things are still very much in Chelmsford's hands, unfortunately evidence suggests nothing stays there long.