Phelps hits another ton, but Heath draw

Jonny Phelps hit a second consecutive league century
Jonny Phelps hit a second consecutive league century

In the first game of the second half of the season Heath Skipper Callum Smith won the toss and chose to bat: no change there.

Openers Johnny Phelps and Chris Blunt put on 82 for the first wicket with Phelps dominating the scoring.

After an early working over by Owen Kernan, Blunt had just started to look more comfortable before he dragged a short pitched ball from the same bowler on to his stumps.

Fresh off a hundred the previous week Phelps looked as fluent as ever and kept the pressure on Nomads with number three Callum Smith, who also started confidently before being adjudged lbw against the spin of Adam O’Brien.

Ed Long also made a competent start and was at the crease when Phelps (101) brought up another magnificent hundred, this time off just 92 balls including 16 fours and a six. He had looked untroubled against all of the Nomads bowlers and was therefore frustrated when excitement got the better of him and he holed-out to long on immediately after making his century.

Heath were in a strong position at 154 – 3 from 32 overs but when Long departed in the very next over there was still work to do to ensure a competitive score. Alex Dodsworth played an excellent innings of 49*, and was well supported by Stephen Goulds who again made a valuable and aggressive contribution in the closing overs, scoring a quick fire 26. Heath finished on 246 for 7 from 53; Adam O’Brien was the pick of the Nomads bowlers taking 3 for 53 from 15.

Matt O’Keeffe made an early breakthrough by bowling Taron Ikram in the third over, and the key wicket of Aaron Philips came just 5 overs later when Phelps trapped him lbw for 19.

At the other end Richard Dexter had made a steady to start to his innings and welcomed the quick scoring of his new partner Abdul Shafi, who made 20 from 15 balls before being caught in the deep off the bowling of Bailey, who had replaced O’Keeffe at the pavilion end. Bailey was bowling with great rhythm yet again and his aggressive leg spin proved too tough a challenge for Edward Salkield and Mason Robinson. Nomads had now been reduced to 79-5 and seemed unsure whether they wanted to stick or twist.

Dexter continued to play the anchor role and captain Jason Robinson hit a couple of lusty blows, suggesting they were still going to give it a go, but when he also fell to Bailey the Nomads run chase was over. Dexter was determined not to gift Heath the win and made the most of attacking fields to up his scoring rate. Phelps returned for a second spell and got the wicket of Toby Glover, but Owen Kernan and Dexter negotiated the remaining overs to secure a draw and allow Dexter to reach a hundred of his own, which he reached in the final over – Nomads finished 213 for 7 and Bailey was yet again the best Heath bowler on show, taking 4 for 41 from 17 overs.