Miller and Harper shine as Royston win

ROYSTON CC overturned a dangerous Saffron Walden side on what was, again, a typically sluggish early season wicket on Saturday.

Royston won the toss and elected to bat, hoping to get runs on the board and then let the pitch, which looked likely to deteriorate, help them in restricting Walden’s run chase.

Mick Miller and Rory Harper opened the batting however tight bowling from Spencer Hill and Ben Appleby made batting tricky.

With runs hard to come by, the pressure told and soon Royston found themselves in deep trouble at 27-4 from just under 20 overs.

Reaching a target of 100 looked extremely unlikely.

Bowling changes saw a sudden release in pressure. Paul Miller and Richard Temple began to take advantage of some wayward bowling, putting on a vital partnership of 51 for the fifth wicket, before Temple (23) was bowled with the score on 78-5.

Wickets began to tumble once more, however Miller (53) remained at the crease and bludgeoned his way to a crucial half century, before finally being caught in the deep in the last over.

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Royston ended on 121 all out; an impressive achievement bearing in mind the state the innings had been in at the halfway stage.

In response, Walden began steadily, however found it equally hard going and soon found their backs to the walls after tight spells of bowling from Hall and Temple, and after 15 overs were struggling at 31-4.

The introduction of Jon Harper and Matt Gillham into the attack well and truly turned the tide in Royston’s favour as scoring became even more difficult and subsequently a flurry of wickets saw Walden reduced to 65-9.

Harper ended with spectacular figures of 5-15.

A ninth wicket partnership between Peter Hill and Ben Appleby frustrated the Crows for a short time, the pair adding a further 26 runs to the Walden total, however Hill was caught and this abruptly curtailed proceedings.

Vice-captain Martin Leary said: “In hindsight batting first worked out well considering how rapidly the wicket deteriorated and became extremely difficult to score on.

“By no means did we bat convincingly, however outstanding individual performances from Paul Miller with the bat and Jon Harper with the ball, as well as a tight fielding display, ultimately helped us over the finish line.”

Royston have a week off before playing host to Elmdon on June 1 at Therfield.