Hales youngsters impress
Hales CC had a very eventful pre-season where the priorities of the club were off the field rather than on it. This meant it was a joy to start the season for real in a new division against new opponents, Stow.
Hales CC had a very eventful pre-season where the priorities of the club were off the field rather than on it.
This meant it was a joy to start the season for real in a new division against new opponents, Stow.
Hales made the long trip with an inexperienced side. Top five bats Dave Harmer, Martin Cornish and Dan Andersen, as well as opening bowler Graham Squire, were all unavailable for various reasons and will be in the long term.
This meant Hales' main priority, when they lost the toss and were asked to bat first, was to try to bat out the 50 overs in an attempt to accumulate as many runs as possible.
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Skipper Steve Rowe (13) and Chris Andersen (24) gave Hales a steady if unspectacular start, putting on 32 in the first nine overs. When Rowe was out, Philly Squire joined Andersen to top score with 42.
Aaron Jones chipped in with an aggressive 32, Mark Minns occupied the crease well, Rob Andersen batted sensibly for 26 and Tom Watts (15) and Neil Pearce (12) also chipped in. Stow bowled 33 wides, allowing Hales to get to 211 before losing their last wicket in the 50th over.
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Rob Andersen and Toddy Jones bowled economically at the start of the Stow reply, but despite an aggressive 39 from home skipper Sam Albutt and a patient 46 from K Thompson, Stow never looked like threatening to win the game.
Jamie Weston, after a shaky first over, returned impressive figures of two for 35 off seven overs and the more experienced Pearce, Matty Lovick and Rowe kept the runs tight as the main focus of Stow's innings became trying to get the 190 for 90 per cent and a shift in the points.
Rowe juggled his bowlers, and although hampered by not being able to recall Rob Andersen to the attack - deputising behind the stumps for brother Chris, who had dislocated a finger - Hales managed to restrict Stow to 185 for seven, giving Hales 16 points to Stow's nine.
The youngsters who came into the side showed great commitment all day and were a credit to themselves, while the older heads in the side encouraged and supported them well.
This was an excellent team effort as Hales achieved a better result than they expected from the game.
Although this was a great team effort, the Read Timber Merchant man of the match goes to Philly Squire for his well-constructed top score of 42, which was the bedrock of the Hales total.