Southend & EMT skipper Joe Robbins salutes Gade Hanuma Vihari’s fine 177 knock for Hutton

Echo: Phil Gray - hit 74 not out for Southend & EMT Phil Gray - hit 74 not out for Southend & EMT

SOUTHEND & EMT skipper Joe Robbins felt Hutton’s star batsman Gade Hanuma Vihari produced the best innings he had ever seen in club cricket in Saturday’s draw at Southchurch Park.

Vihari, who played in last year’s Indian Premier League, hit a magnificent 177 to continue his stunning start in Division One of the Shepherd Neame Essex League.

Viharu has now hit 574 runs in his first five games at an average of 191.

And Robbins insisted he had never witnessed an innings quite like Vihari’s at the weekend.

“It was quite simply the best innings I’ve ever seen in club cricket,” said Robbins.

“He was just too good to be honest and scored a brilliant 177.

“But the rest of their innings was effectively 100-7.”

Hutton ended their innings on 277-8 with Robbins the pick of Southend’s bowlers, taking five wickets for 70 runs.

John Horne chipped in with 3-85 before Southend made 215-7 in their innings.

Phil Gray top-scored with 74 not out to stop the Seasiders suffering a defeat.

And Robbins was pleased with the draw.

“Batting wise, there were a lot of starts and people getting themselves out which was disappointing,” said Robbins.

“But Phil played excellently for 74 not out to see us to the draw and it was pleasing to get seven points from the day.”

The draw moved Southend up to fifth in the standings, ahead of Hadleigh & Thundersley who dropped to sixth after drawing at Hainault & Clayhall.

Hainault made 179 after being put into bat, with skipper Adam Soilleux taking 4-26 and David Williams 4-41.

But Hadleigh then hit 124-8 in their innings with Kellon Carmichael top-scoring with 28 to ensure the game ended in a draw.

However, it was another afternoon to forget for Wickford as they were beaten by three wickets against Woodford Wells.

Wickford made 219-6 with Darren Robinson scoring 113 and Jonathan Pratt 49.

But Woodford reached the required total for the loss of seven wickets despite some fine bowling from Chirag Desai, who took three wickets for 56 runs.

Wickford have still yet to win in five attempts this season and remain second from bottom in the standings.

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