CRICKET: Horspath's lead cut to four points after Reading claim win

Robbie Eason top-scored with 77not out for Horspath

Robbie Eason top-scored with 77not out for Horspath

First published in Sport

Horspath's Serious Cricket Home Counties Premier League Division 2 title ambitions were dented with a five-wicket defeat by Reading in their top-of-the-table clash at the Recreation Ground.

Will Eason's side remain top, but their advantage over the Berkshire club has been slashed to just four points.

After Reading won the toss and put the hosts in to bat, off-spinner Khalid Malik (2-27) made the first inroads with the wickets of Joey Todd and Jimmy Phillips.

But Robbie Eason stood firm at the top of the order, batting through the innings for a gritty unbeaten 77 as Horspath posted 194-8 off their 50 overs.

Eason, whose runs came off 141 balls, with four boundaries and a six over the nets off the last ball of the innings, received good support from Shahbaz Ali (25) as they took the score to 99 in the 30th over when the left-hander was bowled by Kashif Nasim.

It was a solid foundation, but Horspath's swing section then hit all the wrong notes.

Mark Skelton was bowled by Andrew Rishton, while Jack Beaven (3-46) had the big-hitting Jamil Faruq caught at long on by Martin Andersson, before trapping Pat Foster lbw first ball.

And when Dean Conradie was caught behind by Sukhmeet Kang off Rishton, Horspath were in real trouble at 135-7.

It was only when Will Eason (27) joined his brother that the innings regained some impetus, but even then the final total looked below-par.

The Horspath captain raised his side’s hopes further by gaining an lbw verdict against the dangerous Praful Waghela early in Reading's reply.

Fifteen-year-old left-arm spinner Lloyd Belcher produced an excellent spell, conceding just 22 runs from his ten overs, which included the wickets of Andersson and Rishton, both with the score on 56.

However, opener Tom Fray, playing the anchor role to make 69 make off 121 balls, which contained six fours and one six, and Curran Gaur, then put on 97 for the fourth wicket as Reading took command.

Adam Krol bowled Fray and Amardeep Dosanjh in quick succession.

But the impressive Gaur saw Reading home with 2.3 overs to spare, pulling a short delivery from Krol through mid-wicket for the winning boundary, his tenth four in an unbeaten 75, which came off 95 balls.

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