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Thrilling first day win for Shenfield
3:28pm Wednesday 16th May 2012 in Sport
SHENFIELD Cricket Club 1st XI got their Premier League season off to a thrilling start with a last ball victory over Colchester at the Courage Fields.
Matt Salisbury was the hero of the hour, dispatching the last delivery for a straight six with one required to take the valuable 20 points.
The challenges faced by the groundsmen from recent weather meant an alternative strip had to be used in order to get the game started, at a reduced 38overs per side.
New captain Jack Kliber welcomed debutants Daniel Jacobs from Sydney first grade cricket and Jon Hammond from neighbours Hutton into the side, before winning the toss and taking the safe decision to field first on what looked, and proved to be, a slow wicket favouring the bowlers.
Seamer Tom Austin started in a somewhat wayward fashion, but did pick up the wicket of opposition skipper Julian Russell in the opening over.
Fellow Colchester opener, Ben Foakes (44) of Essex and England U19, played with assurance and built a solid partnership with number three Tom Blundell (57).
At the drinks interval, the visitors had set up a strong position with 113 on the board for the loss of two wickets.
The Shenfield spinners then tightened the screw, led by Arshad Ali who finished with 1-20 off eight overs and Jacobs, whose leg spin picked up three wickets.
Shenfield kept the pressure on and regular wickets fell as the innings was finished by tight bowling from Essex and Cambridge UCCE youngster Matt Salisbury (4-1-6-0) and Hammond. Hammond returning excellent debut figures of 4-29 off 4.4overs.
The Colchester innings finished on 179 all out of 37.4 leaving a competitive run chase in the conditions.
Shenfield’s opening batsmen negotiated the new ball without loss to the probing left arm seamers of Essex’s Reece Topley and gradually increased the scoring rate.
The opening stand-off 86 by Ali (53) and John Walter (27) was broken with two wickets in succession off the bowling of Gibbs.
Jacobs (22) and Jamie Walton (29) got the chase back on track as the overs ticked down.
Olly Ekers contributed a valuable 23, but wickets began to fall as the Shenfield lower order pushed for the seven runs per over require,d going into the last six overs.
At eight wickets down, Hammond and Salisbury came together to see the side home, Salisbury with 13 off just three balls including two towering sixes to seal the points.
Shenfield captain Klibersaid: “It was great to get the league campaign off to a positive start. It has been a very decent effort from the boys, particularly the spell after drinks in the field and some well built innings after tea.
The way the game was finished off by the lower order shows the strength in depth in the batting department.”
Shenfield travel to Chelmsford on Saturday, May 19, looking to continue their good start in the 50 over format of the competition.