CRICKET: Belcher, 14, takes six Reading wickets for Horspath

LLoyd Belcher took 6-51 in Horspath's defeat

LLoyd Belcher took 6-51 in Horspath's defeat

First published in Sport

Teenager Lloyd Belcher returned Horspath’s best league figures with 6-51, but it wasn't enough to stop leaders Reading claiming a two-wicket win in their rain-affected Serious Cricket Home Counties League Division 2 top-of-the-table clash.

The 14-year-old left-arm spinner’s superb spell gave the hosts an almighty scare before they overhauled Horspath's 130-7 with 11 balls to spare.

His figures bettered the 5-27 off-spinner Paul Jeacock picked up against the same opposition three years ago.

And it is believed he may also be the youngest bowler to return a five-wicket haul in Home Counties cricket.

Reading, who won the toss and put the visitors in to bat, appeared to be coasting to victory at 71-1 as opener Praful Waghela led the way.

But Belcher's introduction into the attack sparked a dramatic collapse.

Bowling with good flight and getting plenty of turn from a poor pitch he reduced Reading to 102-7.

His victims included the left-handed Waghela, who has played first-class cricket for Mumbai, for 45, caught by Robbie Eason at mid-off, while he also combined with wicket-keeper Andy Wynd to dismiss three other Reading batsmen.

Belcher’s efforts were all the more remarkable as he had been ill in the morning, but he tired later in his 13.1-over spell and the ninth-wicket pair of Tom Fray and Simon Andersson saw jittery Reading home.

The start of the match had been delayed to allow the ground to dry out following Friday night’s thunder-storm, and a shower before lunch saw the match further reduced to 87 overs, with a 46-41 split.

Horspath found it hard going with off-spinners Kashif Masim (4-49) and Khalid Malik getting the ball to explode off the surface.

And it was only a late flurry from Wynd, with an unbeaten 30 off 33 balls including a huge six over long on, and Jamil Faruq, with 14 not out from six deliveries, that allowed them to post their final total.

Horspath dropped from second to fifth as a result of this defeat.

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