PER­SONAL DUEL

Viney’s safe hands and bat­ting prow­ess sees Amersham home

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - SPORT -

Cove won the toss and elected to bowl and nor­mal ser­vice was re­sumed with Mthi­wekhaya Nabe and An­drew Short open­ing the bowl­ing.

Af­ter their open­ing spells Ger­rards Cross were 33 with­out loss off 11 overs. Hav­ing set­tled, Cross’ open­ers pres­sured Kazim Naqvi, but spin­ner Na­jeeb Ma­lik’s bowl­ing was back to its eco­nom­i­cal best.

Cove had to wait un­til the 25th over for a break­through, Jake Roy­lance catch­ing Jas­raj Gre­wal (59) be­hind off Ma­lik with Ger­rards Cross 102-1. Danger man Dan Hamp­ton came in but went a few overs later when Cove skip­per Jor­dan Fin­ney took an un­be­liev­able catch to give Ma­lik his sec­ond wicket and at 113-2 Cove were mak­ing progress.

Fin­ney brought him­self on and in­stantly claimed the other opener with Mal­keet Dhali­wal (39) trapped lbw and Cross 117-3, but al­though Ma­lik was bowl­ing well Cove had to wait un­til the 42nd over for the next wicket as Ben Lane and Matthew Whit­ley started to drive.

An­drew Short took the de­served wicket of Lane (39) and Cove had changed the seam­ers at one end with Fin­ney bowl­ing spin from the other, and tak­ing an­other wicket with Naqvi claim­ing one at the end of the in­nings.

Ger­rards Cross bat­ted out the 52 overs for a healthy 239-6 af­ter lack­lus­tre field­ing in the heat and Naqvi and Nabe were pun­ished in the last 10-over spell. Ma­lik and Fin­ney per­formed well, each bowl­ing straight 13-over spells and tak­ing two wick­ets, for 50 and 52, re­spec­tively.

Cove had 48 overs to re­ply and were soon in trou­ble when Nick Farr (1) went in the sec­ond over.

That brought Stan Marisa to the crease to join James Marsh and Cove were only on 23 when Marsh (14) went in the ninth over.

Ma­lik (1) fol­lowed in the 10th over with Cove 24-3 and wob­bling.

Tom Red­head joined Marisa and they had just got go­ing as Red­head went to a de­liv­ery that popped up from Joseph Bracey, who had posed no threat, to leave Cove 55-4.

Fin­ney came in and in­stantly opened the at­tack to the spin­ner, hit­ting a big six, mak­ing Cross push field­ers back and giv­ing Marisa the strike as of­ten as he could.

With Marisa bat­ting well and in con­trol of the bowlers, he went about hit­ting some won­der­ful stokes to get Cove back into the game.

Just as they started to glimpse hope, Fin­ney (16) got one that popped up from Bracey and he went with Marisa just pass­ing his 50 to have Cove 92-5 af­ter 24 overs.

Nick Ran­dall (16) joined Marisa and stayed around for 16 overs, again giv­ing his part­ner the strike be­fore be­ing caught.

With Marisa on 92 and Cove 156-6 with eight overs re­main­ing, Roy­lance came in and Marisa passed his 100 for the sec­ond time this sea­son.

Roy­lance was go­ing well when he played an un­nec­es­sary shot and breathed a sigh of relief as the catch was dropped five overs from the fin­ish.

A re­prieved Roy­lance (22 not out) then played some lovely strokes to see the overs out com­fort­ably as Cove posted 189-6 off the 48 overs and man-of-the-match Marisa saved the day with a bril­liant, chance­less 103 not out for the draw.

The re­sult sets up an en­tic­ing en­counter on Satur­day when Cross play host to the Wok­ing­ham table­top­pers they need to reel in.

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