Horley through to Surrey Trust League Tier Two final after nail-biting win
Horley CC are through to the final of the Surrey Trust League Tier Two competition after a nail-biting two-wicket win over Hampton Wick Royal CC in Sunday’s semi-final.
A half-century from Udith Molanguri and three wickets from Adam Stephenson provided the backbone of the Horley performance but it was a real team effort.
In the Surrey Trust League teams have to include five under-18s and two other under-21s, plus four senior players.
Hampton Wick’s first XI play a couple of tiers above Horley’s in the Surrey league pyramid, so Horley knew it would be tough to beat them but they were on top for much of the game.
Hampton Wick elected to bat at Horley Row and skipper Matt Gainsford took an early wicket, with a very sharp catch from Ant Puttick behind the stumps.
Stephenson picked up the next two wickets, one bowled and one caught by Puttick, and Hampton Wick were 66-3.
That soon became 88-6 after 22 overs as Stephenson (3-22 from seven overs) and Alex Field bowled one batter each and combined for a run out.
Hampton Wick then clawed their way back into the game with one of their senior players, Rory Blanchard, making 41 off 52 balls before Molanguri ran him out.
Ben Stewart and Ben Davies chipped in with a wicket each and occasional bowler Richard Waddington came on for the final over, had a catch dropped off his first ball but picked up the tenth scalp off his second, well caught on the boundary by Stephenson, as Hampton Wick were all out for 173.
Horley knew it was a gettable target and thanks largely to 16-year-old opener Molanguri they just about had the upper hand for much of the second innings, although when they lost four wickets for 21 runs to go from 71-1 to 95-6 the Horley supporters were getting nervous.
Molanguri rode his luck and coped with some excellent bowling and fielding to make 58 from 101 balls before he was run out by a direct hit in an extremely tight decision.
Puttick made 19 and Waddington 15 batting at two and three. Gainsford came in at the fall of the fifth wicket and took the score to 119-6 with a quick 13, before Stephenson combined with Molanguri to take the score past the 150 mark.
He and Molanguri fell in quick succession but 17-year-old Aryan Patel eased Horley’s nerves and took the leading role in a partnership with 14-year-old Luke Smith to see a jubilant Horley home with an over to spare. Patel finished on 17 not out from 16 balls and Smith on four not out.
Horley play Old Hamptonians CC in this Sunday’s final at Old Whitgiftian Cricket Club in South Croydon, starting at 12 noon.