1s sneak home at Horndon
By Richard Williams
3 wicket win sets up clash with holders Hornchurch in 2nd round
Shane Barwick's men produced a gutsy performance to chase down Horndon-on-the-Hill's 161 with 9 balls to spare in a terrific battle between two under-strength, but committed sides at Horndon Rec.
In all honesty, the key moment in the game was probably the calf-strain suffered by Horndon opening bowler Connor Hammond, who had taken two early wickets as Brook lurched to 9-3, but when he had to leave the field, the hosts were reduced to ten fielders and had to find five overs from part-time options, a significant disadvantage in a low scoring game.
The key partnership in the Goresbrook innings was between skipper Barwick, who hit a fine 61 and his 2013 Matchplay final teammate Stuart Greaves, who saw the side home with a dogged 39*, as Brook recovered from 9-3 and 51-5 to reach 114 before Barwick became the 6th man to fall.
With 48 still required and the overs and light running out, Greaves kept his head to knock the ball around for 1s and 2s and with support from veteran Richie Williams the target was reached in the penultimate over when Greaves clipped Paul Bennett down to the long leg boundary to set-up a David v Goliath clash with last year's treble winners Hornchurch, a tremendous first home game as SNEL club for us and an extra half hour in bed for the visitors.
Earlier, after winning the toss, a youthful Goresbrook attack (with one notable exception) acquitted themselves well in cold and windy conditions, bowling with good discipline and throwing themselves around in the field to keep the scoring rate in check. Paul Bennett mixed watchful defence with some trademark hitting to see through tidy new ball spells from Daryl Forward (1-24) and Williams (1-28) to reach 48, but after surviving a couple of drops, he hit the excellent Billy Smith (4 for 20) straight to Kurt Whisker at cover.
A 40 partnership between Martin Sayers and Hammond then threatened to take the game away from Brook as the pair put pressure on the fielders with numerous quick singles. However a route back into the game was provided when Hammond died by the quick single sword, being sent back by his partner as he looked to pinch a leg bye, and from 125-5 the Goresbrook spinners wrapped up the innings for 161, Barwick (2-36) picking up late wickets and Craig Ivey stumping the unfortunate Philpott via his cheek as he got everything behind a lifter from Afzal Hussain.
161 seemed like a par score on a pitch that offered something for the seamers and a slow outfield and so it proved, as Brook showed great heart to recover from early set-backs as their makeshift top order struggled against the new ball, a captains innings from Barwick wresting back the initiative, as his middle order took full advantage of Hammond's misfortune to chase down their target.