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Eason stars with half-century in Horspath defeat

05 Sep 2023

CAPTAIN Will Eason rolled back the years with a superb half-century as Horspath signed off their Home Counties Premier League Division 2 campaign with a six-wicket defeat at home to Thame Town.
Eason made 59 off 68 balls to steer the home side to 198 all out after they had chosen to bat. However, it proved nowhere near enough as Thame raced to 199-4 with 20.2 overs to spare.
Horspath went into the final game knowing they would finish in the drop zone in ninth place and the side's top order troubles resurfaced as they quickly slipped to 4-2.
Opener Jimmy Phillips, Horspath's leading runscorer this season, had made eight, taking his tally to 389, when he was caught at mid-wicket by Alex Browne off Luke Hayes to leave Horspath 30-3.
Elliot Ruff hinted at a home revival with a fluent 34. He had just hit a six over long on when he attempted to repeat the shot off Hayes's next delivery and was caught by Thame captain Hassam Mushtaq in front of the scout hut.
With Minhaj Jalill falling for 16 to a catch in the deep by Browne off Brad Watson in his final innings before returning home to Sri Lanka, Horspath slumped to 82-6.
But Eason and Jehan Mohammed set about repairing the damage. They had moved the score on to 131 when Mohammed was lbw to Hayes for 23.
Eason and Max Smith (20) then shared a stand of 66 for the ninth wicket. The captain, who hit six fours and a six, went to his fifty with an on drive for one in the 48th over before becoming one of three wickets to fall to Mushtaq's leg spin in the last over when he was stumped by Josh Towell.
Mushtaq finished with 3-50, while Hayes picked up 3-48 with Brad Watson (2-9) and Malan (2-28) the other wicket-takers.
Horspath made early inroads into Thame's batting with Justin Clarke and Eason taking a wicket apiece to leave the visitors 31-2.
But Browne then smashed four sixes in making 31 from 18 balls to give the innings momentum before he was caught behind by Robbie Eason off Jehan Mohammed (2-24) to make it 72-3.
When the Horspath medium pacer struck again with Smith taking a good catch at mid-wicket to dismiss Alex Tervet, Thame were 98-4 and the game was in the balance.
However, opener Ubaid Kiani and Dinushka Malan then took the game away from the home side with an unbroken stand of 101 for the fifth wicket.
Kiani proved a rock at the top of the Thame order and reached his half-century with a single into the offside at the end of the 22nd over.
Malan, meanwhile, was in destructive form, bringing up his fifty with his fourth six as the visitors stormed towards their target.
Kiani secured victory with his 11th four to add to one six, finishing unbeaten on 72 from 79 balls, while Malan was undefeated on 56 from 40 deliveries with his blistering knock also including five fours. The pair's runs also saw them both end the season on 500.
Jalill was out of luck with four overs of off-spin but finished as Horspath's leading wicket-taker with 23 victims.