Toby Pugh’s First Team started the season with a dramatic pre-season friendly away to Harlow CC on a bitterly cold April afternoon. Having lost the toss, the Dons batted first and suffered three early set-backs with Jimmy Ainscough, Max Bryant and Ben Gibbons all departing early, leaving Maldon on 18 runs for 3 wickets after 11 overs.
The early wickets resulted in club stalwart Ian Elliott (pictured) and youngster, Mackenzie Jones being at the crease together. As the pair steadied the ship, they produced a magnificent partnership equalling 119 runs before Elmo was run out for 57. The Dons lost two further wickets in quick succession, but Jones was joined at the crease by Matt Coppen who scored a quick fire 32 runs off just 28 deliveries.
Jones, aged only 16, remained unbeaten at the end of the innings, as his maiden first XI fifty resulted in him finishing on 94 runs off 111 balls at the end of the 45 over contest, with ten fours and one six to his name. The Dons’ posting a decent total of 225/7 from the 45 overs.
In reply, Harlow got off to an impressive start with an opening stand of 129 runs, before Ieuan Thomas removed Syed Hassan as he was caught by Max Bryant for 41. With Harlow appearing to be in control, the Dons began to fight back after some economical bowling from Toby Pugh and Elmo.
With just 18 overs to go the home side required 92 runs to win with 9 wickets in hand. However, Elmo had other ideas as he capped off a fine afternoon as he finished up with 4 wickets for 41 runs from his nine overs, including the most important wicket of Ben Yeats. The Harlow opener departed having scored 138 runs from 124 deliveries.
When Yeats departed in the 44th over, the hosts required 13 runs and then required eleven runs off the final over, that was to be bowled by Matt Anderson. After scoring six runs from the first five deliveries, Harlow needed five runs off the last ball, as Mark Quant squeezed an impressive Ando yorker to the square leg boundary for four runs, to see the contest end in a fitting tie.
Maldon CC: 225/7 (45 overs)
Mackenzie Jones 94*, Ian Elliott 57.
Abuallah Farooq 2-31.
Harlow CC: 225/6 (45 overs)
Ben Yeats 138, Syed Hassan 41.
Ian Elliott 4-41.
Harlow CC won the toss and elected to field.
The First XI commence competitive action on Saturday 17 April, with another away match this time travelling to Braintree CC. Spectators are permitted next week, with the match scheduled to commence at 12pm.