High-flying Knotty Green provide a run fest against Hurley at Shepherds Lane

Mike Walton

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The visit of high flying Knotty Green to Hurley provided a run fest in the sunshine at Shepherds Lane, writes Mike Walton.

On winning the toss Yasir Gul opted to bowl first, condemning his side to an afternoon of chasing leather. The first few overs provided no clue as to the carnage to come.

Left-arm seamer Amman Mahmood beat the outside of James Baldwin with his first four deliveries of an opening maiden over and after the first four overs there were only 19 runs on the board.

Johnny Patel made his intentions clear, launching an assault on the bowling, smashing the ball to and over the boundary at every opportunity.

After his initial struggle, Baldwin gained in confidence and it was hard to see where a wicket would come from, but it did arrive courtesy of an excellent grab by Hassan Gul at square-leg off Mahmood to dismiss Baldwin (15).

With the scoring rate approaching seven an over, Harpreet Singh replaced Umar Zamman at the River End and Saeed Ajmal was introduced from the Shepherds Lane End.

Harpreet bowled with good pace but could do nothing to stem the flow of runs and it was Ajmal who got the wicket of Sukumar, trapped leg-before for 35.

The next over saw Neel Patel adjudged leg-before to Jagdeep Singh without scoring. Two more catches for Hassan and one in the deep by Harpreet gave Ajmal figures of 4-75 from his 12 over stint, including that of Johnny Patel (119) caught on the square-leg boundary by Hassan.

Despite the dismissal of Patel, there was little respite for the bowlers as the visitors racked up 330 for seven before declaring after 40 overs.

With a huge score on the board, Knotty Green opened the bowling with the spin pairing of Nikhil Shetty and Himanshu Patel, bowling with the old ball and all the fielders around the bat, creating a cacophony of noise.

The Hurley reply got off to a flying start, with 15 runs coming from the first over with the help of eight byes. Umar Zamman showed attacking intent with a boundary off Shetty and a six off Patel but was bowled trying to repeat the feat against Patel.

Naheem Khan (four) followed in the next over and despite the loss of two wickets, the hosts were ahead of the required rate after three overs.

Mike Walton usually relishes the challenge of batting for nearly fifty overs and looked to have dug in for the long haul but a misjudged sweep to a full toss from Shetty saw the ball balloon off the top edge and the bowler took the return catch.

His replacement Hassan only lasted three deliveries and Hurley were looking down both barrels at 58-4.

Harpreet decided attack was the best form of defence blasting 30 runs of a Patel over before falling to Shetty for 35 from 13 deliveries.

When the eighth wicket fell, Hurley were still eight runs short of a batting point but Mahmood (eight) and Ajmal (29) ensured they got to triple figures.

Ajmal’s 33 from 28 balls combined solid defence with punishment of anything loose and showed that he should probably be deployed higher in the batting order.

Mahmood was the last man out, edging Patel to slip where Rodney Charles took the catch to give Knotty Green the victory and cue predictably raucous celebrations.

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