2nds & 3rds push towards promotion spots

Match reports for Sat 15th July and Sunday 16th July 2017.

Preston 1st XI v Ickleford 1st XI, SHCL Div 2A

The Preston 1st XI took on local rivals Ickleford, looking to rectify their early season defeat to the same side. Some late morning rain added a little moisture to the wicket but it still looked dry and a decent deck overall so once again after winning the toss, Max Anderson decided the team would have first look at conditions and opted to bat first.

Knowing the game was vital for their promotions hopes, the side were looking to post a competitive score first up to enable the bowlers to put pressure on the Ickleford batting order. Sadly what unfolded over the course of 36 overs was extremely disappointing.

After reaching 15-0, the side collapsed horribly to 40-5 with Blake Mills (27) the only member of the Preston top six to reach more than twenty, as a spell of consistent bowling and very poor shot making totally derailed the batting innings. With only 5 batsmen making double figures, including Pete Murrell, (14) Max Anderson (10) and Liam Kenna (13), the side limped to 96 all out, in what was comfortably the worst batting performance of the entire season.

Pete Murrell against Ickleford. Picture: Danny Loo

Pete Murrell against Ickleford. Picture: Danny Loo

Owing to Preston’s own shortened innings, the teams immediately emerged for the Ickleford innings, with the visiting side having 12 overs to negotiate before the Tea break. Preston desperately needed to take two or three of the Ickleford top order with them to stand any chance of forcing a victory. However the two Ickleford openers, Jack Edwards (15) and John Hilliard (22) showed the Preston side what was required at the top of the order by batting with great application to take their side to 34-0 at the break and all but finish the game as a contest.

Only Mark Waters (15-7-18-2) could hold his head high at the end of the game for his own personal performance as despite 3 quick wickets to have Ickleford 55-3, some lusty blows from overseas Dillon Smit (23*) allowed Ickleford to cruise to victory.

A fairly average bowling and fielding display to go with the batting for Preston, with three dropped catches and 27 extras being the highest scorer for Ickleford in pursuit of a minute total of 96, on a day all of the side would probably like to forget.

Back to back defeats for Preston for the first time this season and their can be no dispute about either being deserved, with the side being a long way off even second best against an Ickleford side who showed why they deserve to be up towards the top of the table.

An incredibly poor day for the side in one of the biggest games of the season so far, meant some much needed choice words said after the game. As it has been quite a while now since the side have played to their potential as a whole on the pitch, especially the batsmen.

Up next the side are away to Abbotts Langley on Saturday and will need to dust themselves off from this result, but more importantly remember what it means to play 1st XI cricket by starting to put in some much improved performances individually and as a team this week coming, which every member of the side has the talent and capability to do.

Div 2A Table


Preston 2nd XI v Ickleford 2nd XI, SHCL Div 5A

Preston’s Saturday 2nd XI leapfrogged local rivals Ickleford in Herts League Div 5A, completing a seasonal double over the Tigers with a comfortable six wicket victory.

After pre-match drizzle at Chambers Lane faded to allow a prompt start, Ickleford won the toss and chose to bat, Deacon (34) and Giggle (34) making a determined if unspectacular start against the persistent Ollie Gallimore and Casey Walker. The stand was broken on 59 in the 21st over however and wickets began to fall regularly to the spin of Andrew Riant (5-42) as none of the batsmen were able to lift the scoring rate above 3 per over. Henry Morecroft, blowing away the cobwebs to find some rhythm over 15 overs, took 2-46 and skipper Ash Catlin peeled off a number of back-protecting sweaters to nip out 2 for 10 as Ickleford reached 150-9 in their 53 over allocation.

A flurry of boundaries from Tom Lincoln (37 from 30 balls) forced Ickleford into an early bowling change and although he was soon to sky a catch off the loopy temptation of Crouch (1-49) his innings ensured that the momentum stayed with Preston. Casey Walker made a disciplined 35 but when he was 4th out with the score on 98 there was still some batting to be done to confirm Preston’s superiority. None better to calmly push the team over the line than the assured David Fleckney (37*) and skipper Catlin (23*), their unbroken stand of 56 meaning Preston won with more than 8 overs to spare.

Young George Crouch did well for Ickleford, returning with a second spell of 1-19 after his initial mauling by Lincoln, but overall Preston, now sitting in fourth place in the league, looked much the more likely team to mount a promotion challenge with some key fixtures approaching.

Div 5A Table

Preston 3rd XI v North Mymms 3rd XI, SHCL Div 9B

The Thirds travelled to the Royal Veterinary College to take on North Mymms 3rds, and found a very pleasant ground with a small but modern pavilion and a flat pitch. Struggling Mymms won the toss and unsurprisingly elected to bat, and were soon off to a fast start as Iain Hamilton took a bit of punishment. Preston’s bowlers were not helped by a wet ball following the lunchtime drizzle. Anything short sat up to be hit, but Iain’s luck was in and one of the openers soon hammered one straight at skipper John Garnham, who took a good low catch at cover.

Mymms blasted their way to 79 before Tom Maxwell trapped the other opener LBW, and then Iain Williamson began, once more, to take wickets. Shah made a very good 54 for the hosts before walking across his stumps and losing the leg bail to Skinny, and then Mymms innings rather fell away. Skinny finished with 4 for 54 from 14 overs, and Andrew Hedges bowled tidily to pick up two wickets. There were good catches for youngsters Alex Williamson and Olly Catlin, and the Thirds were pleased to dismiss Mymms for 170 in the 46th over, having at one stage thought they might be chasing over 230.

However, the chase proved to be tough, as Mymms’ opening bowlers Matt Rathbone and Kyran Millard (2 for 9 in 7 overs) bowled superbly, finding swing and seam where Preston had struggled. The lack of a sightscreen also made Rathbone in particular difficult to pick up out of the dark woods behind him, but his control was excellent. Martin Pierce fell early but with plenty of overs available, Matt Burleigh and Olly Catlin dug in patiently, picking up singles where they could. Olly was caught behind down the leg side, and Andrew Hedges, fresh from snowboarding in New Zealand, joined Bomber in a stand of 63.

Eventually the opening bowlers were relieved, and batting became easier. This was the cue for Bomber (35) to pick out the only fielder on the leg side, and Hedgey too fell for a good 40. George Constantinidi (35) and Skinny (33) continued their good form, and Preston looked on their way to a comfortable victory.

But with 16 needed, skipper Rathbone (2 for 24 from 15 overs) returned and dismissed them both. Suitably lifted, Mymms felt a famous win might be on the cards. Tom Maxwell came and departed, and the match went to the 53rd and last over of Preston’s innings. Skipper Garnham, determined to see his side home, scrambled a quick single, and then Swampy carved one through a vacant mid-on to finally take us over the line with 2 balls and 3 wickets in hand.

The 3rds have now won 4 matches on the trot, and 5 of their last 7 (the other two being draws), and are within 26 points of the second promotion spot. All to play for….

Div 9B Table


Preston 4th XI v Old Albanians 4th XI, SHCL Reg Dev Div 2 East

With Dave Saunders out of action following surgery, Nigel Biggs took the reins for the 4’s vs Old Albanians, promptly losing the toss and being put in to bat on a Whitwell wicket spiced up by some pre-match rain. Kimpton regular Simon Thompson (31) opened for Preston with David Clark, who looked at ease casually sweeping his second ball for four but next ball being surprised by a lifting seamer that took the edge. Thompson and Newell (30) did well to fend off the numerous short balls and keep the score ticking over to 75 for 1 at 25 overs. With Thompson departing to another catch behind, Biggs (21) tried to hustle the run rate along but the introduction of off spinner Barwich (3-9) proved astute as he extracted lift and turn from the wicket, snaring Newell, Biggs and Ponder (6) in quick succession. Preston ran out of overs at 133-7 having never quite found top gear.

Inspired by Captain Saunders rising from his sick bed and supporting from the boundary, Preston opening bowlers David Ogden and young Joe Clark (1-37) soon found their rhythm as the OA batsman struggled to get going. Ogden (3-20) turned in his best spell of the season clean bowling nos. 1 and 4 with beautiful inswinging deliveries. Meanwhile the hard hitting Turner (26) was settling in until he mis-timed a drive at Ogden and was well caught by Gabriel Ryan at mid off. When David Kay took a Gambo-esque gully catch to remove no.3 Cresswell for a duck, OA were teetering at 63-4. The introduction of the stylish David Clark away swing (3-42) turned the game Preston’s way as OA’s slumped to 88-8 with committed fielding from Preston, including second catches for Ryan and Kay and a stumping and catch for Thompson. The OA no.10 Iqbal (32*) fought back well, hitting three sixes as they limped towards Preston’s total and at 127-9 it was all to play for. Unfortunately, as so often happens, the game was finished with a thick inside edge from the no.11 which raced to the boundary for the OA winning runs. Nevertheless, an excellent effort from the Preston boys, young and old, with great commitment and team spirit.

Regional Div B East Table


Preston Sunday 2nd XI v Players & Jesters

Preston hosted Players & Jesters CC last Sunday and what unravelled was a scintillating game which eventually saw Preston Sunday 2s win by 6 runs.

Preston lost the toss but won the toss and were offered the toss but didn’t toss and elected to bat. Sort of.

Preston opened up with the impressive Theo Reintjes playing in his first game of the season and veteran Bomber. Theo was cleaned up for a tidy 15 but Bomber was trapped by a low screamer LBW for 6. That wasn’t in the script.

P&J bowler Owas Bhat was a bit of handful, brisk at times and getting balls to pop off a length down the hill, and the veteran Taylor bowled a tidy line to constrict the runs from the bottom end. That wasn’t in the script either.

Preston’s No.3 C.Gayle also batted well with some superb strokes against some naughty bounce before being bowled for 18 by Bhat.

Waters at No 4 got his head down for once and with Skipper Fleckney coming in at 5 they both started to settle the ship and ended up carrying their bats in a well constructed partnership. Fleckney hit a well made 88 and Waters ended up on 62 Not Out to take the Preston total up to 211. With the P&J putting fielders in new positions every second ball and Fleckney making a point of hitting the ball from where the fielder came from, plus some lost balls, time ticked on.

Several bowlers also asking one of our Level 1 qualified Umpire’s how many balls were left in the over, every over, to make sure he was paying attention things took some more time and the Preston innings finished nearer to 5 o’clock.

A lovely Jane tea was enjoyed in quick time and we avoided the rain – then P&J got off to a flyer. Skipper Mason remembering he’d left the gas on pumped some of the looser deliveries with some lovely shots off Preston openers Mercer and Reintjes.

But Theo really impressed with the ball finding lovely line and length at times and Merc bowled some Jaffa’s too. Mason made a classy 51 but was caught by Oggie at wide mid-wicket with a catch that has to go down in the annals as a Screamer! Bhat at No 3 batted well and played a hard hitting 56 before holing out to a now dribbling Waters at Mid-Off off C.Gayle.

Has to be said, Preston took some outstanding catches. First with Hilda Ogden taking his screamer to dismiss Mason but Bomber got in the act and took a falling catch to his left off the Cobra. The Cobra himself was literally airborne at one point and got fingers to a hard hit chance to save the four and took 47 minutes to get back up.

But the best catch of the afternoon was behind to Kayos behind the sticks off Merc. Fresh from helmet / nettle therapy a swift leg side glance was swallowed by Kayos diving to his left, outstretched. In fact, a special mention in despatches to Kayos for his incredible acrobatics behind the stumps. Quite sensational. Perhaps it’s the golf-glove inners that makes Kayos stickier than Colesy’s Vaseline jar rim.

Looking at times like a member of Ashley Banjo’s Diversity; Kayos spent more time on his side, back and head than a Brooklyn Breakdance Crew. He stopped many of the afternoons looser deliveries, throwing himself at everything. Well done Kayos and I hope the ribs repair soon.

P&J wickets continued to fall quite regularly with the impressive Clark bowling beautiful, dainty wobblers up the hill and young Liam Waters who having only played cricket twice before bowled excellently. Hilda also got better the longer he bowled. Despite some of the wides, everyone bowled well and backed-up in the field superbly. But bad balls were punished and P&J’s total climbed higher.

Needing 6 off the last over, the game was in the balance and a win at this point would be a great finish to the day. With the introduction of Skipper Fleckney bowling his lollipops at the end, the P&J No 11 Taylor couldn’t help himself trying to hit the forbidden, globular, juicy fruits from the temptingly-ripe bowling tree. Everything slowed for a few seconds as the bat came through the arc and eyes started to look towards the college…….

…..but it was a miss and Taylor was clean bowled and with that final wicket Players & Jesters were bowled out just 6 short, with Evans stranded at the other end on 19.

Wickets were shared around with everyone bagging one or two except Theo and Hilda – both of whom however utterly deserved one.

A belter of a game.

What was great was that everyone played their part. Some good innings (apologies for those that didn’t get in – a rare occurrence) but everyone bowled apart from the First X1 opening bowler as his arms would have probably fallen off. Catches were held and we fielded so well with great, great spirit.

Excellent to see Theo get stuck in and open his account this year and for everyone for offering to play. Two games for some is hard but these games continue to have a place on our agenda – thanks Lads for playing. An excellent game and well worth the efforts once again.

Well played all and look forward to welcoming Players & Jesters CC next year.

Hilda Ogden fielding off his own bowling, somewhere near the compound

Hilda Ogden fielding off his own bowling, somewhere near the compound