08:30PM, Thursday 04 August 2022
The last Saturday in July saw Hurley make the short trip to promotion hopefuls Pinkneys Green where they were beaten by seven wickets, writes Mike Walton.
Home skipper Jack Stemp won the toss and invited the visitors to bat first on a what proved to be an ‘interesting’ track. Hurley’s worst fears were realised when both openers were back in the hutch with only four runs on the board. Jags Dhillon bowled Naeem Khan to reduce the visitors to 19 for 3. Greg ‘Bowel Boy’ Double and Umar Zamman set about rebuilding the innings, but their partnership was cruelly cut short when Zamman (10) was adjudged leg-before to Ben Purchese, despite the ball appearing to hit the middle of the bat.
Double (22) soon became Purchese’s second victim at 46 for 2. Hurley were looking at another humiliating capitulation, but Hassan Gul (16) and debutant Mohammed Imran (48) dug in and posted fifty-six in thirteen overs.
When Gul was bowled by Peter Brant, Mike Walton replaced him and had a stroke of luck, dropped by the keeper off his first delivery. Imran fell two short of his half-century to Bandla and Adnan Hussain only lasted five deliveries before a cross batted swipe saw him bowled by the same player. Hurley skipper, Yasir Gul, strode to the middle accompanied by some good-natured ribbing by the opposition. By the time Gul departed in the penultimate over, Hurley has reached 158 and secured a third batting point. The visitors finished on 163 for 9 after 47overs.
If Hurley were to get anything out of the game, they needed early wickets and were buoyed by the dismissal of Vinay Reddy to a good catch at slip by Mushtaq off Zamman in the third over. Despite the early setback, Pinkneys Green always looked in control as Ben Purchese (83*) and Uday Tikoo (25) posted eighty in fifteen overs for the second wicket. Purchese had a couple of let offs when dropped in the deep.
Imran had the left-handed Tikoo caught at square leg by Ajmal and Hurley sensed an opportunity with seventy-four still needed, however Purchese kept up the onslaught with an array of attacking shots. Sajeel Mahmood was brought on and struck with his first delivery to win and LBW decision against Sabba but by then the match was all but over. Purchese and Dillon (9*) saw their side home without further alarm with eighteen overs to spare. Hurley next host league leaders Emmbrook & Bearwood at Shepherds Lane and will need a big improvement if they are to have any hopes avoiding another defeat.