1sts keep top spot with excellent performance
Match reports for Sat 21st July 2018
Preston v Abbots Langley, SHCL Div 2A
Preston hosted Abbots Langley having already won their first encounter in an exciting, tight game in the first half of the season.
The sun was again beating down as the UK’s heatwave continues unabated; this was an important toss for both sides. Preston’s Anderson had no hesitation in electing to bat on the winning call.
The Preston innings got off to a faltering start with Australian Lewis Balcombe back in the pavilion 4th ball having a snagged a Hamilton loosener to Cleary at point. That certainly wasn’t in the plan. Was it going to be one of those days?
However, once again James Stevens shouldered the weight and played another well crafted, sensible innings of 62 – taking his time and making the loose deliveries pay. Working around him were brother Jack who once again started to nose in front and take the initiative away from the Langley bowlers but was cruelly run-out backing up at the non-strikers by the sharp Warner.
What came after this however was a steely and determined fight back from the Preston middle-order. George Biggs (25), Ben Hill (17) kept the momentum moving before both being caught trying to after some losser bowling. Dan Plumb (30) and Peter Murrell (33) both played excellently to again keep Abbots chasing after well struck shots and clever singles. Anderson also chalked up a useful 15.
Abbots bowled well most of the time with the ever reliable Barry Warner probably being the pick (2/44 off 10) along with Nick Gurney (2/45 off 9). Hot work for sure and Preston felt after the early loss of Balco, the spine of the innings really came up trumps this week, led by Jimmy but everyone certainly playing their part with some essential runs and building partnerships.
Preston’s innings closed at 241/7 off the 50.
With no drop in temperature, Preston’s openers had a fight on their hands from ball one. Cleary and Warner once again opened up and quickly punished anything with cuttable width or lacking in length. Once again, Jimmy was the pick of the openers only conceding 10 runs in 6 very good overs but unable to find the chink in the armour. The usually reliable heatwave specialist Waters couldn’t make an impact either going for 0/45 off 10. Cleary particularly looking to drive his way to a comfortable score and Warner cutting away and using the width and speed of the outfield to his advantage and despite playing and missing Jimmy a few times, not much was going to get through.
It was over to plan B.
Once again, the change of pace changed the dynamic. Evergreen golden-arm Fleckney nipped in for a couple and clean bowled the well-set Warner (52) with a ball that seemed to just stop in the air and, really, changed the momentum of the game with it.
From then on it was a game of two Abbots innings. After Warner was bowled it was really only Cleary that continued to face up the job at hand and he constructed a well made, patient 93 before being well caught by Balco in front of square off Anderson in the later stages of the innings.
However Burgess, Read, Gurney, Hamilton, Graves, Khiyora, Dunstone and Nixon all came and went and fell for just 29 runs with some excellent bowling from Murrell (2/37), Jack Stevens (3/45) and Skipper Anderson (3/35) supported by an excellent fielding display. Ben Hill had another good day with two stumpings behind the sticks, some excellent catches from Balco and Fleckney were snaffled and a sharp Biggsy run out saw the final Abbots wicket fall at 199 all out in 46.2 overs.
With the Preston 2’s finishing early and all coming over the watch, it also gave us a real boost. We were vocal throughout the Abbots innings and refused to flag in the heat.
We fielded exceptionally well and never let Abbot’s really back into the game after Warner had departed. Cleary remained a threat if he had gone on to make a big hundred and if he’d have found some support from somewhere else at the other end but full credit to Preston who just didn’t let go and raised their game above the temperature to put together one of the better Preston performances of the season.
Always an excellent game against old friends Abbots Langley and we wish them well for the rest of their 2018 campaign.
Preston 3rd XI v London Colney 2nds, SHCL Div 9B
A much weakened 3rd XI hosted lowly London Colney 2nds at Whitwell. Stand-in skipper Matt Burleigh won the toss and elected to bat, knowing that much relied on the under-appreciated by some opening partnership of himself and Mark Smith. They followed their match winning century stand in the previous fixture with Colney by reaching 57 for 0 after ten overs, but then Burleigh fell to an excellent stumping having over-balanced playing a drive, and Mark fell LBW shortly after with no complaints. Preston then subsided disappointingly to 93 for 7, before youngsters Gabriel Ryan and Alex Williamson brightened proceedings. Gabriel played some excellent attacking shots around the ground to race to 39, before being caught. He was very well supported by Alex, who knew he just had to hold his end up and give his mate as much strike as possible. It was excellent and intelligent batting from two rising stars of the club. Sadly, Preston were all out for 145 and it was never going to be enough on a hot and sunny day.
Iain Hamilton bowled a tight opening spell, conceding just 18 runs in 10 overs and extracting life from the pitch. But Colney knew they had all the time in the world to chase down the small target. Gabriel, Alex and Adam Turner all put in good spells, as did Miles Findlay who beat the bat numerous times with just a little movement in the air and off the seam. But luck was not with us, and Colney won by 8 wickets with 7 overs to spare.
Preston 4th XI v Tewin, SHCL Reg Div B East
The team traveled to Tewin in search of a much needed win with the threat of relegation beginning to loom. Biggs (19) and Maxwell (39) batted patiently against the opening attack and were set to reap the rewards of the bowling changes when Biggs had to retire injured after one quick single too many. Maxwell, Ponder (6) and Saunders (21) all fell to young off spinner Cullen but Hearne (36) and Kay (a new pb of 37) stepped up to marshal the Preston innings to a decent 190-6 off 40 overs.
Tewin opened with Taylor who had previously smashed Preston for 137*, however this time he was relatively quiet and when Newell (8-0-18-2) bowled him for 6 out of an opening stand of 47, Preston spirits lifted. Preston bowlers tied down the middle order well, leaving Tewin needing 60 off the last 10 overs. As Tewin wickets fell, dangerman Grey remained at the crease despite a huge LBW shout to Luke Ponder (6-0-25-1). The Tewin captain declined the appeal to the amazement of all and Grey (40*) proceeded to knock off the remaining runs taking Tewin to 193-7 off 38.1 overs. A disappointing end to a game we felt we should have won.
Disappointing also to hear some dissent about batting order. Our absolute priority now is for this team to avoid relegation to the bottom division and match circumstances may require difficult decisions to be made about bowling and batting order. We’ll make those decisions for the good of the team as we look for our next win.