1s & 2s do double over Radlett, as 3s win again thanks to Catlin Jr.

Preston 1st XI v Radlett 2nd XI, SHCL Div 2A

Following the success of the previous week, Preston’s 1st XI were optimistic going into their Saturday fixture against bottom of the table Radlett 2nds. None more so than a certain Mark Waters who had been watching with glee as the heavens opened throughout the week.

Owing to the weather, the pitch had a greener tinge than usual but otherwise looked a solid deck, meaning Captain Max was holding out slight hope the decision would not be his to make at the toss. However, it duly went Preston’s way and feeling that there may be something in the wicket early on – Max decided to take the field.

A strong start to continue momentum from last week was the order of the day, yet 3 wickets in the first 3 overs without conceding a run was more than anyone could have expected. At 0-3 the Radlett innings was in dire straits and required some real application to post a respectable total. Unfortunately, aside from a well-constructed 29 from Robin Willis, the Radlett order failed to stand up to an inspired spell of bowling from Waters (13-7-26-5), who bowled with superb accuracy and movement to all but end the game as a contest at 65 for 7 in the 23rd over. At the other end, Max Anderson (10-2-35-2) and Blake Mills (2.2-0-6-2) ensured the pressure never let up on the Radlett batsmen who, following a remarkably agile run out from Waters off his own bowling, closed their innings at 70 in the 26th over.

Without the reliable James Stevens, Pete Murrell (16) continued to show his usefulness up the order, steering the side to 46 before being the 2nd and last wicket to fall – ensuring there would be no need for nerves in the dressing room. Following Murrell’s dismissal, Jack Stevens (24*) and Daniel Plumb (10*) made no mistake in knocking off the remaining runs to complete an emphatic 8 wicket win for Preston by 3:45pm with tea still to be ready.

A very comfortable victory for the side in their final fixture before the league resets next week against St. Albans. Meaning Preston finish with 5 wins and only 2 losses from the first 9 games. Though, with the league still exceptionally tight, and the three sides above still to play over the next six weeks, it is critical the team’s intensity and performances remain for the more arduous tests to come.

Scorecard

Div 2A Table

Preston 2nd XI v Radlett 3rd XI, SHCL Div 5A

Preston 2s returned to winning ways with a 4 -wicket victory at bottom of the table Radlett 3s.

Choosing to bowl first, Preston claimed both openers in quick succession through the fiery menace of Casey Hughes (2-11 from 7) who gave all of the top order an uncomfortable time with considerable pace and bounce. Ollie Gallimore, returning to form, shared the new ball and reeled off 15 straight overs at just over 2 an over, his inswing cramping the batsmen for room. However, while the run rate stayed under control, further wickets proved elusive and only the introduction of skipper Ashley Catlin in the 23rd over brought further success. His first 6 overs brought 3 wickets for just 1 run and with spinner David Fleckney inducing some aerial shots at the other end a low Radlett total seemed possible. A determined 47 from No3 Mohammed Faisal and some well-timed strokes by No8 Azhar Kayani (50) pushed the scoring along though and Radlett 3s were eventually all out for 177, young keeper Tom Chambers topping a fine display with a stumping to end the innings, Catlin taking 4-33 and Fleckney 3-64.

In reply Tom Lincoln and Alf Rehman produced their customary solid start but with Lincoln’s unfortunate dismissal for 25 (caught glancing toward the untenanted fine leg boundary) came a downturn in Preston’s fortunes with three senior batsmen removed and the score on 52-3 off 20 overs. Callum Blair was able to occupy the crease and was partnered in an important stand of 55 by the free-scoring Will Mercer (25) to give momentum to the chase. An injury to skipper Catlin and his consequent run-out kept the game in the balance, but Blair found some extra gears, and support in the middle order, to bring Preston home with an undefeated 74, his unbroken partnership of 32 with debutant Chambers especially good to see. A well-judged chase, held together by Callum with the younger players at the fore – excellent.

At the half-way stage of Div 5A, the league is very tightly grouped with wins in the 100 over format particularly useful in making ground on the leaders, one of which, St Albans 2s, come to the Field of Dreams on Saturday.

Radlett’s scorer uses the nxCricket (Cricket ScoreBook) app and sent Dean this comprehensive scorecard including waggon wheels for the batsmen and bowlers: Radlett_3rds_v_Preston_2nds_scorecard

Div 5A Table

Preston 3rd XI v Kings Langley 3rd XI, SHCL Div 9B

The Thirds had to fight hard for their win against bottom of the table Kings Langley, but another 30 points puts them nicely in 4th place in Div 9B at the halfway mark of the league season.

With regular skipper John Garnham missing with a gammy leg, Iain Williamson lost the toss and the visitors elected to bat on a dicey looking Whitwell track. Swampy and debutante Gillan Ide kept the scoring rate down while extracting some extravagent bounce from the wicket. A change of bowling brought a wicket, as 13 year old Alex Williamson ran round from square leg and dived to take the catch off very proud Dad Iain.

Drinks were taken with KL having crawled to 64 for 1. Preston’s fielding then let them down for a while as several catches were dropped, before Bomber surprised everyone by holding onto one at slip, again off Skinny. The stand-in captain’s marathon 15 over spell eventually yielded figures of 4 for 40, as most of the visitors’ batsmen proved unable to score many. But at one end their opener and skipper, Rich Davis, began to play some big shots, and eventually he completed an excellent captain’s hundred. Gillan Ide returned to pick up 3 wickets, including Davis, but his century enabled KL to post a challenging total of 196 for 8 from their 53 overs.

Preston openers Bomber and Martin Pierce endured some interesting deliveries, some of them very wide, some rearing alarmingly, but runs (especially extras!) came at a good rate. Pierce fell for 21 but an opening partnership of 63 had given the Threes a platform.

Olly Catlin came in at number 3, promoted up the order to be given a chance with several senior batsmen unavailable. He immediately settled in, and the left hand / right hand combination with Bomber seemed to put off the visitors’ bowlers. Olly found his timing and played some lovely attacking shots, particularly the pull shot on the leg side. While Bomber continued to find life difficult at the other end, eventually falling for 15 when trying to attack, Olly was relishing it and dominated their partnership of 55.

On the boundary the watching players and supporters (Brian Waters, Dave Hill, Marcus Baines, and Olly’s grandparents John and Shiela) began to get nervous, but Olly showed no fear and duly reached his maiden league 50 at just 13 years of age. Is that a club record? Olly celebrated with a beaming smile but almost immediately skied a catch. His excellent innings contained a remarkable 10 fours and bodes well for the future.

Like many other of the senior batsmen in the match, Skinny and George Constantinidi then found batting difficult at first, but Skinny’s good form told and he began to put the bad ball away. Eventually George too was able to bludgeon a couple of 4s and a big 6, before he was bowled after a stand of 58 with Skinny (44*). Greig Hearne then supplied the coup de grace with a typical cover drive that rocketed to the boundary. Preston had won by 6 wickets with 4 overs remaining.

Div 9B Table

Preston 4th XI v Tewin 2nd XI, SHCL Reg Dev Div 2 East

Preston 4s travelled to the delightful village of Tewin to play their 2s. On winning the toss Dave Saunders elected to bat first on an easy paced wicket. Peter Robbins was looking good before he was bowled for 15 and likewise Nigel Biggs 16. The outsanding batsman though was 13 year old Joe Clark who made an unbeaten 23 including several elegant strokes. However, only 108/9 in 40 overs was posted and that looked a well below par score. Opening bowlers David Ogden and Bob Hearne took two early wickets apiece. Hearne only conceding 13 runs from his maximume 8 overs.Rupert Bruce bowled a tidy 7 overs but no further wickets were achieved as the home team won by 6 wickets in 34 overs. Despite the defeat it was one of the most enjoyable games of the season with very genuine hosts.

Regional Div B East Table

Preston Sunday 1st XI v Luton Town & Indians 2nd XI, Beds League Div 1

After a disappointing loss to Biggleswade the week before, the Preston Sunday 1’s responded with an excellent performance against Luton Town Indians. With skipper Max Anderson yet again winning the toss and electing to bat, openers Pete Murrell and Daniel Plumb got the innings off that fine start, adding 56 for the first wicket. After Murrell was caught at the wicket for 31, there was brief middle order wobble with Neil Pomeroy impersonator Jack Morecroft adding 22 before performing the hokey cokey onto his stumps, and Callum Blair taking a well-earned rest after his heroics the previous day. Is was up to Plumb, fresh from an exciting weekend of rocking out to Barry Gibb in a field in Somerset, to hold the innings together with a well-constructed 67, supported by some middle order heave ho from Alf Rehman (52 from 42. No really), and Blake Mills with a brisk 28, 24 of which coming from one over. Late order runs from George the Greek and Avesh Odedra meant that Preston were able to finish with an imposing score of 255.

Luton’s run chase never really got going, as tight bowling from Ollie Gallimore (2-19) and Anderson (1-14) restricted the visitors from the off. Two wickets apiece for Murrell and Louis Harrington-Smith meant that Luton were 67-7 and the game was effectively over. Some resistance was offered from Guvinder Singh and Dharmesh Mistry, who stuck around for a partnership of 70, helped from some distinctly ordinary fielding in the mid-on region. It was up to Mills and the unlikely figure of Plumb and his right arm seam/swing/spin (?) to clean up the Luton tail and complete a comfortable 74 run victory.

With the screams of Will Mercer still echoing from the shower room, Preston can look forward to a visit to the picturesque Ickwell next week and continue their quest for mid table mediocrity.

Scorecard

Table

Preston Sunday 2nd XI v Lilley, Friendly

Preston’s Sunday 2nd X1 travelled the short distance down the hill to old friends Lilley CC for their first of two friendlies scheduled this season.

Skipper David Fleckney lost the toss as normal but Preston were inserted on a pitch that hadn’t been played on so far in the 2017 season. With an outfield hairier than Pete Murrell’s back and a winter mole problem creating some landscaping issues around the outfield, getting value for shots was always going to be hard.

The Lilley openers bowled a tidy line and length at times and the pitch was offering some interesting and exaggerated movement. Preston were under the cosh early on with Bomber, Chairman Constantinidi and young Tom Chambers back in the hutch for not many. Bomber snicking one behind, young Tom being caught superbly in the gully and Chairman Gambo just playing round a straight one.

Preston 2s batting at Lilley

Preston 2s batting at Lilley

Skipper Fleckney took charge at No 4 and was determined to make a stand. He managed to survive several good deliveries and a few pitch-assisted surprises, particularly from MacLaughlin from the church end and the high-jumping Bash from the footpath end, to crash several big shots and milk the singles.

Swampy was batting well with the Skipper before he forgot to run off a well played drive and was run out from a direct hit from a suprised fieldsman lurking somewhere near the woods. Plus we needed him back in the pavilion to take over the scorebook. Will Mercer batted well to pick up from Swampy and he started to build a good partnership with Skipper Fleckney before falling.

Fleckney continued to play some aggressive strokes; the gremlins in the pitch settling down. His eyes started to glaze over with the thought of a century looking more and more likely. Fellow follicly-challenged Waters crashed an ugly 39* at the other end, while trying to steal as much of the strike as he could to prevent the Skipper’s quest for a century. Fleckers finally brought up a well made 100 – and ended up caught off the last ball of the innings for 110. His first ton for a number of years – probably the first since the undressing wicketkeeper incident at Watford.

Preston posted 216-6 off their 40 overs. Well batted Dave.

After a superb Lilley tea, Preston opened up with the wiley Rupert Bruce who picked up 3 wickets and Swampy the Sidewinder who bowled well when using the off-stump line. Swamp picked up the dangerous MacLaughlin early on which was a big wicket.

Lilley batsman Matt Case (and as it turned out Preston 4th XI player when asked who he played for on Saturdays by the up-to-the minute Fleckney) was really the only Lilley player to make a stand and crashed his way to 52 before “The Cobra” Mark Smith snared him through the gate – kissing his bail off as gently as a sleeping baby’s sigh.

Will Mercer, The Cobra, and Rupert bowled particularly well offering up over-ripe, looping lollipops that were just too sumptuous not to have a nibble at. With the catchers ready, the traps were sprung fairly regularly.

Lilley's 12th man appears on the outfield to put off Mark Waters

Lilley’s 12th man appears on the outfield to put off Mark Waters

The Cobra and Rupert picked up 3 each. The Sidewinder and Will Mercer also taking home 2 each to finish off Lilley for a round 100. As usual, the standard-setting Waters fielded particularly well and was frequently put off by moles.

Kayos disappeared into the nettles at about 5-45 and we didn’t see him for about an hour. Something to do with nettles and roman helmets…

Tom Chambers again looked a class act behind the sticks and certainly one to continue to be pushed into the senior sides on Saturday – very tidy indeed.

A rousing win for the Lads and an enjoyable cold-one down at the Lilley Arms with the Lilley team before enjoying Big Dave’s jugs back at the Red Lion in celebration of his well made and confidence building 110. Some great performances from all the players. We look forward to welcoming Lilley to Preston later this season (Sep 3rd).

Thanks for everyone to helping get the game on and playing on a Sunday again.

These games are so worth it – of course it’s money for the club but these matches are usually really enjoyable and great fun. A chance to field a blend of players from all the sides in the club, and importantly for everyone to get some more batting and bowling in and of course a chance to bring in the youngsters. All that, and also maintaining relationships with good, local, well-managed clubs. With unforeseen circumstances on Saturday evening, one of our other younger players was unable to make it, sadly, but good to hear all is now OK.

We will continue to get the younger guys in for some senior side experience and hopefully the senior players can keep giving up a Sunday or two to keep these matches happening.