Everards County League: Cookson helps Barkby hold on at Harborough

Action from Barkby United Second XI's draw at Market Harborough EMN-160615-165658002

Action from Barkby United Second XI's draw at Market Harborough EMN-160615-165658002

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With unpredictable weather conditions at Market Harborough, Barkby Seconds skipper Adam Cookson elected to bowl first after winning the toss.

The Harborough openers scored heavily from the start as loose deliveries and fielding mistakes were punished, and the score quickly reached 71-0 off 12 overs.

Action from Barkby United Second XI's draw at Market Harborough EMN-160615-165710002

Action from Barkby United Second XI's draw at Market Harborough EMN-160615-165710002

A dubious umpiring decision seemed to fire up Barkby’s players, especially opening bowler Alex Smithard who clean bowled Collins for 37.

In the next over Cookson had the other opener caught by Freddie Hammond at cover (79-2). Cookson continued to restrict the opposing batsmen, and took a sharp catch off his own bowling.

In-form spinner Dave Botting persuaded the number five batsman to edge to Ben Hollis who took a sharp slip catch low down.

With the score at 100-4, Harborough played sensibly against some testing bowling until Modhwadia was caught by Hammond on the boundary off Botting for 52.

Home captain Collins added crucial late runs before he was bowled by Hammond for 35. Harborough closed on 209-6 marking a good fightback by Barkby’s attack of Smithard (9-2-36-1), Barchha (4-0-27-0), Cookson (12-0-53-2), Botting (12-2-31-1), Hollis (6-0-39-0) and Hammond (2-0-16-1).

The reply started badly when Hollis (2) was caught at slip in the second over.

Lloyd Phillips and Jack Wood again scored quickly with strong boundary hitting and sharp running between the wickets.

They added 63 until the introduction of spin in the 12th over saw Wood (18) caught at mid-off attempting a lofted drive.

Just two balls later, Phillips was caught in the deep for a quick 42, and two more cheap wickets saw Barkby struggling on 77-5.

A sixth-wicket stand of 56 between Hammond and Cookson steadied the ship, Hammond (34) hitting some notable cover drives and aggressive sweep shots before he was caught behind (133-6).

Joe Keightley battled hard for eight, but the resilience of Cookson (48 not out) ensured his side didn’t lose the game, refusing to give up his wicket while picking up vital runs.

Barkby were also indebted to a dropped slip catch off Alex Smithard’s first ball, recovering to finish 19 not out as United finished on 192-7, only 17 runs short, to earn 12 points.

Barkby sit fourth in Division Five East, 20 points behind the leaders, and host University of Leicester Staff on Saturday (1pm).