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The weather held and a sizable audience flocked as recreation cricket returned to Garon Park in the shape of two well-contested inter-club matches staged by Old Southendian & Southchurch.
The first of the 30-over matches saw the clubs’ Fourth XI get the better of the Thirds.
Nathan Linfield stole the show for the victors with an unbeaten 96 as the Fourths posted117/5.Meanwhile, Owain Hathaway looked in good nick – himself reaching 46* only for his side to fall 14 runs short.
Exciting prospects, Stan Cornwell, Dylan Batt, Callum Powrie, Isaac Burgess and Alfie Jeeves all featured as the First XI faced the Seconds. Kyle Smith passed fifty as the top team reached 147/3. Kaden Threadgold’s 37 was the highlight of the response – the first team winning by 10 runs.
Having waited 85 days for the green light, Club Captain, Sam Hodgson was delighted that the club was able to stage some cricket before the Shepherd Neame Essex League begins next weekend.
“Saturday was an excellent day for the club and our members,” Hodgson told Yellow Sport.
“After over ten months without recreational cricket, it was fantastic to see so many of our players back out on the park, as well as countless others affiliated with the club spectating. The weather held all day, and we were treated to two competitive games of cricket.
“Perhaps most pleasing was that 20% of all the players involved on Saturday were youth members. Many of those have been working hard in the nets over the past few months, firstly in 1-2-1 and then small group sessions (in line with the Government and ECB advice) so to see that hard work come to fruition in these games, where they all held their own alongside our adult members, was encouraging to see and bodes well for the rest of the season and beyond.
“We now look forward to the Shepherd Neame Essex League beginning this coming weekend.”
Elsewhere, Benfleet 3rd XI saw off their Southend on Sea & EMT counterparts by seven wickets in a 40-over contest at Southchurch Park.
Will Roberts top-scored with 71*, while Ashton Lewis and Liam Connelly posted half-centuries before the trio retired not out – Benfleet eventually reaching 233/3.
Scott Elliott’s impressive 41* was the highlight for the home side, who were dismissed for 175 – Benfleet’s Lewis following his fifty by taking 4/19 with the ball.
Daren Mootoo was also amongst the runs, hitting an unbeaten half-century as Billericay staged their own inter-club event at Blunts Wall Road.