HACC kicked off the second half of the season at Hylands Park with the visit of Rettendon. The weather was set fair for the duration of the game with a threat of rain later in the evening. Temperatures were comfortable and a far cry from last week’s heat wave.
At the toss Rettendon called incorrectly and once again Stuart Whitaker elected to bat on a dry looking pitch - with a view to his side continuing their recent batting dominance and posting a formidable total.
However, things did not get off to a great start with Nathan Bastin (6) and Lak Gill (0) falling early to leave Athletic reeling at 18-2, the latter courtesy to a jaffa from Rettendon opening bowler T. King. The returning Sushant Kapur immediately set about the Rettendon attack with some atypical elegant stroke play, stroking 5 boundaries before falling for 29. The in form Chris Humphries (31*) was joined by Ajit Kumar at the crease and the pair combined for a wonderful partnership of 164, with the ball being struck to the boundary on a regular basis. The partnership was broken when Humphries, approaching his third consecutive league century, was bowled by T. Snelling for a well-made 81, including thirteen 4s and one 6. Kumar remained and continued to hit the ball all around the park, reaching his maiden century for Athletic with another boundary, Kumar eventually fell for 111. Some late hitting from Kai Hatton (14*) saw Athletic go one run better than last week and post a total of 292-7 from their allotment of overs.
Once again HACC took the field with a lot of runs to play with and despite the absence of 4 four of their main bowlers got off to a great start as Kumar and the recalled Chris Poch settled in on great lines and lengths, whilst moving the ball away from the batsmen. Kumar made the early breakthrough with A. Smith caught behind by Ben Taylor on 0. A brief recovery was led by visiting captain C. Abrehart and number three batsman J. Locke, but with an ever increasing run rate the former lofted a drive to Kapur at mid-off who took the catch with ease off Poch. Wickets then fell at regular intervals with Rettendon reduced to 105-7 before some lusty blows from Bysouth (20) and Butler (27*) improved the scorecard for the visitors. Gill was introduced into the attack and shortly wrapped up the remaining two wickets to give HACC an emphatic victory by a margin of 122 runs.
HACC Captain Stuart Whitaker
"Once again we were delighted to win the toss and bat first. We got off to a shaky start but I always have confidence in our batting line up to post a good total. It also shows how we have improved over the course of the season when we capitulated chasing in the away fixture. What was pleasing today was the performance in the field from the bowlers, in particular Poch and Greenwood who really stepped up"