Dunn and dusted

July 25, 2021

Hirst Courtney 283-3 Heworth 3rd XI 176-5

A sun-drenched Oval was treated to a record-breaking batting display from the imperious Sam Dunn over the weekend after he smashed 209 runs for Hirst Courtney in the sweltering summer heat.

His once-in-a-generation performance on Saturday was arguably the greatest innings seen at The Oval in Hirst’s illustrious 115-year history. Incredibly, 120 of those glorious runs against a demoralised Heworth III came from 20 mighty sixes. Dunn also slapped 10 fours during a breathtaking demonstration in the art of demolition batting. It was Caribbean cricket from the Hirst talisman whose 209 not out eclipsed the previous club record of 176 set by Nigel Emery in 2010. Emery had held the record for 11 years after surpassing the previous one - set by none other than Dunn’s father and Hirst legend Dave Howsam in the late 1980s. Howsam’s record had stood for 21 years. And yet, it wasn’t all plain sailing for Dunn on his way to the mammoth total and he survived umpteen early scares before he found his range and rhythm. In the first 10 overs he looked rusty, uncharacteristically mistiming shots and was dropped after hoicking one to long-off.

More chances were spurned by the Heworth fielders and they would live to regret them, as Dunn fired up the pistons and began pulverising the opposition bowlers who were put on the back foot after Hirst won the toss and elected to bat. After surviving a close lbw decision, Dunn never looked back and with opening partner Nicky Towle providing a solid counterweight at the other end, Hirst cruised to 100 not out in the blink of an eye. It was around the 15th over when Dunn cut loose, smashing balls to every corner of the ground and, indeed, the surrounding cow fields. In full swing, he was literally chipping balls for six off a full length. The scoreboard had moved beyond 150 when vice-captain Towle, who had just creamed a delicious cover drive for four, was finally trapped lbw by spinner Andy Inkster. Skipper Barraclough came in to provide some able assistance for Dunn who was notching up so many boundaries it was starting to become embarrassing.

Barraclough finally fell on 16 after creaming one towards the legside boundary, where Alistair Simpson took a flying catch just in front of the rope off the bowling of Stuart Ross. Hirst no.5 Jack Whattam stood firm and batted through to the end with Dunn, who received a huge ovation when he broke the record and an even bigger one when he reached his double century. He carried his bat on 209 off 99 balls and Whattam finished on 22 not out. Hirst finished on an unassailable 283-3. Dunn is now by far and away the division’s leading run-scorer. With 542 runs to his name and just half the season gone, his strike rate is a scarcely believable 174.42. Heworth were effectively out for the count and their batsmen, chasing such a daunting target, never looked like they believed it was within their reach. Hirst’s in-form opening bowlers Darren Brinded and Chris Iveson had Heworth’s openers pegged back from the word go and it didn’t take long for Iveson to make his mark when he had Arthur Sharpe caught-and-bowled for nine. Brinded, whose nagging line and length had Heworth in all kinds of trouble, responded in turn by trapping Micky Bristow lbw for eight. Even the prodigiously talented Jacob Inkster - who had put Hirst to the sword in the reverse fixture back in May - couldn’t save his team from a crushing defeat.

The technically gifted young batsmen hit six fours and two sixes on his way to 80, but he saw teammate Richard Rowntree bowled by the excellent Brinded for 14 and Dan Adkinson go for a duck following a superb in-swinger by Jack Whattam, which struck the timbers between middle and off peg. Spin wizard Barraclough bamboozled Nick Bernard who was caught behind for one, the ball finding a thin edge and falling into the safe hands of stumper Matty Snell. With the game out of reach for the away side, Hirst gave a bowling debut to Liam Parkinson, who had been a livewire in the field and didn’t let his team down with the ball, his five impressive overs a sign of things to come from the blond-haired battering ram who was unlucky not to claim his maiden wicket. Inkster stayed to the end with new batting partner Alistair Simpson, but Heworth went out like a lamb, finishing on 176-5 - 107 runs short of the Hirst total. Hirst are now 39 points clear at the top of York Vale League Division 2 after second-placed Burn suffered a shock defeat at home to Hemingbrough.

Next up for the Hirst boys is bottom-placed Ovington at The Oval on Saturday, July 24. Stumps at 1.30pm.

Hirst all-rounder Jack Whattam chipped in with 22 not out on a record-breaking day for the home side. (22-07-33 SU

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