Henley 3rds lost their Div 3a fixture at Chalfont St Peter on Saturday despite one of the most remarkable performances seen for Henley. Having won the toss on a good pitch the visitors were soon in trouble losing both openers with 33 on the board, but the balance was restored somewhat with fine 50 partnership between the experienced Paul Smith (36) and the classy Naresh Budhaayer (65). Once Smith was caught behind Manoharan joined the battle with Budhaayer.
The introduction of Nadeen to the bowling attack had an immediate effect removing three Henley batsmen within three overs. With their middle order blown away the visitors were teetering on the brink at 138 for 6, with Budhaayer holding firm.
Henley struggled to get the tight off spin of Din away as he chipped away at the lower order and they fell short of their minimum 200 target by 10 runs. Some hard work was required for Henley to defend this modest total.
Electing to take the old ball which resembled a much loved toy of a pack of Rottweilers, spinners Ranger and Gurung had little effect on this good batting pitch against some very good players of spin. Despite numerous bowling changes the break through seemed elusive.
It was only until the new ball was taken by Nathan Hopkins that any in roads were made as he struck with his first delivery having Ahmed caught by Gurung at cover. Despite this wicket Chalfont appeared to be moving serenely towards the finish line and Henley to a crushing defeat as opener Din cruised to his hundred.
The Henley skipper desperately changed his bowlers to try to find a combination to make this game competitive and found the answer in young leg spinner Sam Ranger. He struck straight away enticing Din to hit a return catch. In his next few overs he struck with regularity taking 4 wickets in one over including a hat trick.
With 15 runs needed to win panic was setting into the Chalfont dressing room. Could Henley snatch victory from the jaws of defeat? As Ranger continued his one man demolition job on the home side taking 2 further wickets things were looking hopeful but it was sadly Henley’s lack of runs that lost them the game as Chalfont crept home by only 2 wickets. Sam Ranger finishing with career best figures of 7-51.
12 points from this game still leaves Henley in 6th position with a vital home game next week against Royal Ascot.