After last week’s disappointing washout, the 2s played host to StJB aiming to maintain their unbeaten run which stretched back from week 6. Stuart Whitaker won the toss and opted to bat first in decent conditions on what looked to be a fairly standard, good surface at Hylands.
Openers Nathaniel Bastin and Chris Humphries made a watchful start and had to weather a testing opening spell from the StJB bowlers. Runs were hard to come by and with the total on just 5, an ill judged run, led to the run out of Bastin (1). Sushant Kapur (0) fell two balls later and was shortly joined by the in-form Ajit Kumar (1) to leave HACC in trouble at 11-3. Humphries and Whitaker started to build a partnership before the former fell to the miserly Hadgraft for 24 with the total on 46. Wickets continued to fall at regular intervals, with the 2s shockingly reduced to 61-8. However, Lewis Byford (18) and Tom Greenwood (13*) demonstrated some resolve and helped to push the total up to 127-9 off 45 overs with Whitaker finishing on an unbeaten 51. Whilst the total was 20-30 short given the slow outfield, it did provide the home side with some semblance of a total to defend.
The 2s had to come at StJB hard and got off to a great start as Sam Blowers dismissed both openers without them troubling the scorers. This was followed up by Kumar removing danger man Hadgraft. Following the wicket of the opposition captain StJB began to rebuild through O’Neill and Wickes, who kept the score ticking over and finding the occasional boundary. Greenwood struck twice in quick succession to remove both of the set batsman to offer HACC a scent of victory. Their chances were further increased by the reintroduced pair of Blowers and Kumar who also picked up wickets. However, despite the faltering innings the visitors edged over the line with 2 wickets left in the shed.
The 2s pushed StJB close but it was ultimately down to not batting well enough and keeping a cool head when runs were hard to come by. The 2s were never really at the races with the bat and it was a missed opportunity to keep up the pressure on table toppers, Willow Herbs.
"We let ourselves down today with the bat - something I havent had to say much this season - but unfortunately today it proved to be the difference between the sides. All it needed was one more partnership to develop and we may have got enough"
HACC Captain Stuart Whitaker