Dingley helps Haverhill II snatch victory from the jaws of defeat
Number ten batsman Phil Dingley proved to be the hero for Haverhill II as they scraped home with just one wicket to spare to alleviate their anxieties at the wrong end of the Marshall Hatchick Two Counties Championship Division Three table.
Having bowled Halstead out for just 149, Haverhill looked on the brink of defeat after collapsing from 76-2 to 96-8 before wicketkeeper Dingley scored 27 to take them to within 12 runs of their target.
Halstead won the toss and opted to bat and having raced to 76 without loss inside 10 overs it was looking like a long afternoon in store for the hosts.
However, the first bowling changes brought a change of pace and instant rewards when Charles Shannon first dismissed Sadaat Salim (26) LBW.
He then dismissed the danger man Ian Pont (69) bowled off a well disguised slower ball.
Shannon finished his spell with figures of 5-0-25-2 which significantly changed the course of the game.
Meanwhile at the other end left armer Lee Phillips bowled with great control and a combination of good bowling, poor shot selection and some well taken catches saw Phillips take wickets on a regular basis.
His spell of 12-3-32-5 put Haverhill firmly in the driving seat.
Youngster Harry Harding (10-3-24-2) once again proved a real threat and he got his just reward for his bowling taking the last two Halstead wickets in good time.
Halstead ended their innings in the 38th over all out for 149, a total that looked highly unlikely after the first 10 overs. Haverhill were very content at the tea interval but knew there was still plenty of work to do.
Haverhill’s reply started steadily with Sam Hartshorn looking in good form.
The first wicket fell in the fifth over when Steve Fox was adjudged LBW, one of a number of marginal decisions which helped make for a thrilling climax.
After the loss of Liam Savage (2) the home side were 33 for 2. Rob Dovaston (16) joined Hartshorn (52) and set about chasing down the total in a relatively calm fashion.
Neither batsmen looked in any difficulty as Halstead turned to spin. HCC reached 76 for 2 in the 17th over and appeared to be coasting to victory.
When Dovaston was another LBW victim the wheels suddenly fell off in dramatic fashion.
After a flurry of wickets as the pressure suddenly built HCC found themselves on 96 for 8 & still requiring 54 for victory. A win & 20 points suddenly looked a long way off.
A Haverhill rearguard action was much required and Joe Woodley (13) and Dingley both played intelligently, first seeing off the Halstead spinners and then looking to take advantage of anything loose in the quest for runs.
Dingley was then clean bowled by Salim (2-20) with HCC still needing 12 to win.
Fifteen-year-old Harding then strode confidently to the crease and with Woodley using his experience, brilliantly guided HCC to within inches of victory.
With the large crowd cheering on every hard earned single and plenty of overs still remaining, victory for the home side was achieved when Harding steered a delivery down to the boundary for a four.
The crowd erupted and Haverhill ran out winners by one wicket and earned an important 20 points in the process.
Skipper Greg Street said: “This was an amazing game with fortunes for both sides swinging wildly as the game developed.
“At tea we were big favourites which in itself was highly unlikely only an hour earlier.
“Twenty five overs later and defeat looked a near certainty. Great credit must go to our lower order who got us over the line.
“I think this was a great advert for league cricket and played in a great spirit.”