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.
HIMLEY CRICKET CLUB