Hales sitting pretty at top

HALES played host to Garboldisham on Saturday at Postwick and can be happy with picking up a winning draw which keeps them sitting pretty at the top of Norfolk Alliance Division Two.

HALES played host to Garboldisham on Saturday at Postwick and can be happy with picking up a winning draw which keeps them sitting pretty at the top of Norfolk Alliance Division Two.

Tomorrow, Hales travel to North Runcton A in what could be a tight game, with a similar team to last week.

With three players travelling and one at a wedding, it meant the inclusion of the experienced Brian Read, and youngsters Todd Jones, Joe Kaye and wicketkeeper Jack Coo against Garboldisham.

In usual fashion, captain Steve Rowe lost the toss and Hales were put in to bat. However, this seemed to be to Hales' liking as 62 runs were amassed off the first six overs.

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With Dave Harmer and Martin Cornish batting with ease, Garboldisham needed a break-through, and this came courtesy of first-change bowler Leech as Harmer fell for an explosive and eye-pleasing 27.

This brought Phil Squire to the crease for an innings that he will not forget in a hurry. With a mixture of fast running between the wickets and good technical shots, Squire built up a score of 106 not out, his maiden century in Alliance cricket.

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Squire was ably supported by Cornish, who continued to hit hard and clocked up a quick-fire 59 before being bowled by Gooderham.

Next in was Brian Read who crafted a well-made 30 before playing at a wide one only to be caught behind.

Neil Pearce tested out all areas of his bat in his promotion up the order to No 5 and didn't disappoint in his new position.

With some lusty blows, Pearce hit 30 before being caught. This left Squire at the crease to bat through with the support of Joe Kaye (13) and two kamikaze batsmen Matt Lovick (5) and Rowe (2) who both gave their wickets up to ensure that Phil Squire could reach his century and that a declaration could be made as early as possible.

With the run rate staying at a good pace throughout the innings, Hales put together a total of 279 for seven before declaring in order to receive a few extra over to try and bowl out the opposition.

The Garboldisham reply started sluggishly, it being clear from the off that they were intent on gaining a losing draw.

Very few shots were played and with the score on 17 for one off 12 overs it seemed that Garboldisham would get their wish and gain the extra point awarded for dead batting and seeing the overs off.

Lovick got the first breakthrough, followed by Graham Squire bowling the cautious Alston in the 19th over.

Pearce was next to get a piece of the action, with the appointed umpire judging the Garboldisham player out lbw, despite the calming of the appeal once the Hales team realised it had struck the bat first.

This left Hales with a glimmer of hope of gaining the full win, however on a slow wicket with barely any movement, it was not until the 44th over that Hales got the fourth wicket, with a good direct hit from the fielding of Joe Kaye.

The final wicket was picked up by Squire in the 47th over with the help of a catch at point from Cornish.

However, this was not enough to pick up a full win, despite some looping spin from Rowe trying to entice the batsmen into some shots.

Garboldisham finished on 186 for five.

The Maxi Muscle man-of-the-match award for an impressive maiden Alliance century goes to Philip Squire.

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