Bilall Hussain scored an unbeaten half century as Himley CC registered their second victory in as many games to maintain their momentum in the Birmingham League. In a weekend where the weather caused havoc to cricket games across the country, Himley were one of two teams to complete a fixture and register 20 massive points.
Both sides arrived at Stourbridge Road looking to build on recent impressive performances. However, the weather made sure that the game did not go ahead as planned and both sides had to watch it rain for the majority of the day.
Eventually the umpires gave the all clear and a 25 over match started at 4:15. Himley captain Ollie Westbury won an important toss on a wicket that had been under cover all day and asked Halesowen to bat first.
Jamie Turner and Matt Jeavons again set the tone for the innings with fantastic opening spells. On a pitch that offered assistance for the bowlers all game they hit a good area and repeatedly asked questions of the batsman’s technique. This was backed up well by Ollie Walker and Jamie Lunn. In the first 10 overs of the innings Himley took wickets regularly and at one stage Halesowen were 19-4.
They did fightback. Ed Bragg came to the crease and along with Harry Baddams they began reconstructing the innings. When Baddams was dismissed, Halesowen had made a small recovery and were 66-5. Himley would have been hopeful to keep Halesowen down to a total below 110 but some magnificent striking from Ed Bragg took them to 128-8 off their 25 overs. A competitive total.
The chase got off to the worst possible to start with Himley losing Callum Lea in the first over. Ollie Westbury then joined Bilall Hussain at the crease. The pair played with caution looking to avoid any further damage during the powerplay in what were challenging batting conditions against some good bowling.
The partnership was broken and Himley found themselves 64-2. At this point there was plenty of time left in the innings for Himley to get the remaining runs. However, the visitors showed why they have been in such good form in the early parts of the season. They bowled very tightly and made it hard for the batters to get the ball to the boundary and the rate went up. Hussain continued to play well and when there were 18 balls left Himley needed only 20 runs to get the target.
Somehow, in the next 15 balls Himley only managed to register 11 runs. Which left the side needing 9 runs to win from the final three balls of the innings. Up stepped Dan Vernon. He played the shot of the day, belting one through cover for four. He then squeezed the next delivery between point and third man for four and then nudged a single to complete a fantastic win for the hosts. It was a great way to end a great contest, Vernon was calm under pressure and his 9 runs was the equivalent in importance to Jack Leach’s 1* at Headingly back in the 2019 Ashes series.
Another great win for Himley who will be buoyed by the lack of cricket played elsewhere in the league. They will be looking to build on it when the visit Barnards Green next week with the return of red ball cricket.
For the second time in a week Himley’s bowlers shined as they recorded a much needed first league win of the season. They were once again accurate and disciplined not allowing Oswestry’s batters any opportunity to send the ball to the boundary. It was very much a team bowling effort which saw Oswestry dismissed for 171. The batters then made a great start to the chase as the team went in search of their first 20 points of the season. When Billal Hussain was dismissed at 96-1 Himley were well in control, other than losing their captain a couple of overs later, they remained unscathed and completed their victory by 8 wickets.
It was another fresh April day on Saturday for clash between Himley and Oswestry. A game which Himley needed to win after losing their first two league games. However, they were buoyed by a win against local rivals Wolverhampton in mid-week and went into the game with a spring in their step. After winning the toss Himley inserted Oswestry knowing that early wickets were crucial on what looked like a pitch that might offer the bowlers some assistance.
Jamie Turner took the vital wicket of Oswestry’s most important player Warrick Fynn in the third over. He was caught at backward point by a great sharp catch by Ollie Walker. Matt Jeavons enjoyed an impressive opening spell, he bowled with great control and took a further two wickets which left Oswestry struggling at 32-3. The opening bowlers set the tone but it was back up impressively by the whole attack. Jamie Lunn bowled an exceptional spell of 10-0-19-2 which kept the pressure on.
Oswestry did make a recovery and they went from 67-5 to 141-5. As they looked to up the anti towards the latter end of their innings Dan Vernon and Ben Robinson bowled well to ensure they didn’t get any momentum to make it a tricky chase. Vernon picked up 4-22 and Robinson 1-49 as they were all out in the last over of the innings for 171.
The chase began in great fashion with Ollie Westbury and Billal Hussain moving to 67-0 after the first 10 overs. Billal played some exquisite cover drives before he was dismissed for 46 at just under a run a ball. The only drawback from a successful day at the office was the dismissals over both openers who were both guilty of giving up their wickets with some daft cricket. When Callum Lea and Ollie Walker came together Himley still needed a further 63 runs to win. The played maturely and responsibly to both register red inkers and finish the game off.
It was a very good weekend for the club. An important first win for the first team but more importantly 5 out of the 6 senior teams registered victories. There were some noticeable contributions; Sam Cookson took 4-30 & made 41 for the threes whilst Ben Hopkins made 112* and Ali Latif made 85 for the 5ths!
The first team will be looking for back-to-back victories when they travel to Wem next weekend.