Harding’s century helps Congresbury defeat Weston youngsters

Alex Leeks in action for Weston. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

Alex Leeks in action for Weston. Picture: MARK ATHERTON - Credit: Archant

?After a long wait, due to the Coronavirus pandemic, Weston and Congresbury played their first match of 2020 in front of a healthy crowd at the King George V Playing Field.

Cameron Harding scored 100 from 95 balls during Congresbury's victory over Weston. Picture: Jason Cr

Cameron Harding scored 100 from 95 balls during Congresbury's victory over Weston. Picture: Jason Crane. - Credit: Archant

With the match having been arranged at short notice due to the sudden change of government position, many regular first XI players were unavailable, so Weston seized the opportunity to give some of their promising youngsters the experience of playing at a higher level.

As for the hosts, they named a strong side and batted first, but lost skipper Justin Yau in the first over as he was bowled by George Cox for four.

Alex Leeks bowled well from the other end, but with no other regular first-team bowlers available and captain Chris Davidson opting to give the youngsters a chance to bowl rather than doing so himself, Congresbury seized on the inexperience of the rest of the bowling attack.

Cameron Harding and Jack Kearns set about repairing the damage with some positive running and fluent stroke play.

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And when Kearns was removed for 19 by Matt Knight, Mick Edmunds took on the role of aggressor, striking some big blows on his way to an undefeated 55 off 51 balls.

Edmunds had put on a partnership of 101 with Harding before retiring.

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By now Weston youth players Dexter Trego and Jack Trego were having their first taste of bowling at this level.

Harding, who was playing his first game for Congresbury having resigned from Clevedon, continued to play his own game and moved into fifth gear as he played several audacious strokes on his way to a 95-ball century.

Harding, like Edmunds, retired to give others some time in the middle and James Vowles (24 not out) and Jack Richardson (20 not out) played some great strokes as Congresbury finished on 264 for five off 40 overs.

New signing Sam Elstone opened Weston’s batting with Jack Press and they got off to a good start against a strong bowling attack, putting on 32 in the first eight overs before Press was bowled for 10 by Richardson.

The fall of the first wicket allowed Congresbury to take control with Richardson claiming a further two scalps to return impressive figures of three for 13 off six overs.

The rest of the wickets were shared around with Will Eyres, Jack Kearns, Sam Evans. Joe Thompson and Iraq Thomas all claiming one victim each, while two excellent pieces of fielding resulted in run outs.

Weston finished on 138 all out with Elstone top scoring with an impressive 42 and Leeks contributing 36.

With more notice, Weston will hope for better availability when the two sides meet again at Devonshire Road this Saturday (1pm), although they will be missing Cox and Leeks.

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