Big win for the 1st XI as league season ends

Reports from the final league weekend of the 2017 season, 2nd & 3rd September 2017.

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

Preston travelled to Radlett in their final game of the 2017 league season; hoping to finish on a high note after a few frustrating weeks and with Radlett regretfully going down already.

James Stevens (26) and Waz made a determined start with James especially cutting lose with some powerful strokes but both fell in quick succession to slightly disappointing shots off loose deliveries.

Enter Jack Stevens at number 3. One of the best things to witness in a Preston CC shirt is Jack scoring big runs. After a determined and focused start he went on to build a sensational innings of 114 before falling to Carpenter.

Jack played some massive shots that threatened to derail the Radlett to St Pancras service a couple of times as well as beautiful, powerful drives that left the Radeltt fieldsmen diving at dust.

With Ben Hill (63) at the other end, also gunning for most amount of league runs scored during the season against Jack, was also building a superb knock. It was great to watch them both play with freedom and at times considerable power.

Not forgetting good support roles from Callum (15) and Blakey (29), Preston saw their largest league total approaching.

A flurry of wickets at the end saw a panic for kit but Preston finished on 286 for 9 of their 50. A top effort.

The Radlett bowlers did get some beef at times, but Carpenter 4-44 was the pick and also Gallagher – 3-53 – bowled well.

Skipper Anderson knew the radlett wicket would offer some pace, so opted for Preston’s speedier bowlers and opened up with James Stevens and Millsy. Both bent their backs and did bowl well – with good movement and pace. Lipschitz and Malde both made starts getting hold of a few but were soon back in the pavilion.

The highlight of the Radlett innings was Dom Baldwin who batted with great composure as he climbed to 41 whilst the wickets were falling about him.

Jones, Willis, and Singh all made starts too but fell to the tight lines of Anderson and Murrell who once again bowled well and forced the chances with their slow turners. Murrell taking home 4-45 and Skipper Anderson 3-36.

The Radlett innings was wrapped up in the 45th over – all out for 164.

Preston put in certainly one of their strongest performances of the season. It’s allowed to be said that it’s shame that we couldn’t have put in more performances like this throughout the season. Lack of league pressure seems to let us play with more freedom and we could really see what we can do when we we a little more relaxed

The day was built around another memorable innings from Jack – with both bat and ball and this is where we should be aiming for more regularly.

With hopefully stronger, more regular availability from the players in the top two sides this can achieved and we can without doubt threaten the top spots next year.

Thanks for everyone for putting in the hard years this year, it’s not been easy, and congratulations to new Skipper Max Anderson in his first year.

Thanks also to our Selection Committee led excellently by Andy Riant. Our Captains work tremendously hard to enable everyone to get their cricket. It’s very, very hard to do and I hope we can count of every members support next season.

Ensuring our Committee has hard decisions to make, every week, is the way we improve as well as the development of our younger players and it’s been great to see the genuine impact these Guys have made in the lower sides. Despite the frustration this year, there have been some genuine high notes too. We should all be very proud.

For the 1s, performances like this against Radlett should send very powerful messages to all our players around confidence.

Looking forward to 2018 already and well done all.

Div 2A Table

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

TOO MANY FROM COOK SPOILS THE BROTH

Skipper Ash Catlin has used many ingredients (33 different players) in trying to find a recipe for Saturday 2nd XI success, with many from the 3rd and 4th XIs getting a run out as availability in the senior sides has fluctuated. On Saturday visiting Radlett 3s (needing a win to avoid the two-division relegation that goes with a bottom of the table finish) recruited instead from the upper reaches of their club, drafting in A Cook whose undefeated 114 won the game for the visitors.

There can be no doubt that his very composed innings, choosing shots sensibly and concentrating hard to repel the more difficult deliveries, was a fine example to any whose season has struggled for regular runs. Radlett were able to win with 6 wickets and more than four overs in hand.

The afternoon started with a hiccup for Preston with leading scorer Tom Lincoln edging to slip for his first ever league duck in 10 Herts League years. Alf Rehman (41) steadied the troops by combining with Casey Walker (31) to put on 74 for the second wicket and establish a platform for a winning total. After Walker’s lbw (the first of four wickets for the unconventionally shod Rash Zaman), the innings stuttered however with just 32 runs added from overs 20 to 35. David Fleckney (20), Catlin (19) and later a swamptastic 20 from Ian Purton (crashing through the final overs like a high-octane airboat on the Florida everglades) achieved enough acceleration for Preston to post 195-9 – a little under par but, in normal circumstances, well in the game.

Andrew Riant, asked to open the home bowling only after consuming five times the medically-recommended amount of tea-time fruit cake, was able to remove opener Kirsten for 3 (the edge deflecting from keeper Chambers to give Rehman his 8th and season-leading catch at slip). Young number 3 Freddie Wright batted well for Radlett making 23, although was perhaps ill-advised to enter a good-natured sledging competition with Preston’s de-mob happy end-of-season grafters and skipper Catlin soon took his 27th wicket of the season as the team’s leading bowler. The unruffled Cook was then joined by the limpet-like Faisal who contributed 34 of a third wicket partnership of 118. Catching chances came and went, as has been too often the case this summer, and only the returning Walker with two late wickets could boost Preston’s bonus point tally in defeat to 10 – frustratingly one point short of an extra place up the table.

Alf’s innings means that he just outscored Lincy for aggregate runs over the season (327 v 311) but as your correspondent reflects on the multi-coloured entries (thanks Dean) that make up the season’s scorebook, it is the unsettled nature of the team that has done most to undermine what could have been, with better availability, a promotion campaign. Young players have been blooded at this level and gone on to perform consistently (notably Will Mercer and Tom Chambers) but only with better availability from core players can the right standards be set for players to push on towards 1st XI cricket from the right environment. Promotion and relegation means Div 5A loses St Albans and Old Haberdashers upwards and Radlett and Old Cholmeleians downwards. In their stead come Watford and Hertford from above and Holtwhites and London Colney from below. Only 8 months to wait!!

Div 5A Table

20170902-Preston II-Radlett CC 3rd XI

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

The Thirds travelled to Kings Langley’s quaint second ground, a short walk from the main ground, to play the side languishing at the foot of the Div 9B table. The hosts won the toss and elected to bat, a decision perhaps influenced by the very short boundaries….

Preston began rather sleepily in the field, with veterans Iain Williamson and Matt Burleigh dropping catches in the gulley off the unfortunate Ian Hamilton. KL’s even more veteran openers put on 41 for the 1st wicket before Bhav Patel took a good running catch on the square leg boundary, and Preston dominated the match thereafter.

Theo Reintjes bowled a good spell first change and grabbed a wicket, and then 13 year old Alex Williamson got one to nip back off the seam to claim his first senior wicket. He soon had another too, as John Garnham plucked a catch at backward square. Alex’s spell of 2 for 9 from 5 overs had Dad Iain beaming from ear to ear, and he celebrated with 3 wickets in his own 10 over spell. Bhav Patel returned to take 2 wickets, discovering that lower order batsmen aren’t so able to see him off, and Preston had dismissed KL for 103 in 40 overs.

After tea at the pavilion on the main ground, Martin Pierce began brightly with 3 successive fours to ease any pressure, before he picked out backward point. Chris Newell was LBW for one, and Matt Burleigh (21) found the boundary mainly off the edge. Runs came relatively easily, and Theo Reintjes especially enjoyed the short square boundaries. His 37*, with Iain Williamson making a quick 19* at the other end, saw Preston to victory by 7 wickets inside 20 overs.

The win lifted the Thirds back to 4th position, which represents a fine effort in our first year in Div 9B, especially as the availabilties dipped in the second half of the season. The standard is a noticeable step up from last season in 10B, but hopefully the Thirds can press for promotion in 2018.

Div 9B Table

Scorecard

Also, here’s the 4th XI Table.

Preston Sunday 1st XI v Great Brickhill, Beds League Div 1

Preston Sunday 1s visited Great Brickhill CC in the final Sunday Beds League encounter of the 2017 season.

After an interesting journey seeing the many sights of a vibrant Dunstable town centre on a Sunday lunchtime, the Preston Faithful finally arrived.

GBCC is situated on top of a hill, the wind blew hard at times and the mizzle did just enough to be annoyingly wet but not enough to pull stumps and go in for tea and crumpets.

Preston lost the toss and were inserted. With 11 sore heads after the final Saturday league games, a nice spell in the pavilion watching others sweat and toil and would have been nice. However, Max “Tails Never Fails” Anderson…failed.

The GBCC innings got off the a flyer and really stayed flying for the entire 45 overs with overseas Ruben Clinton smashing 145 and No 3 Javed 116. The boundary was peppered and GBCC Skipper ran marathons trying to locate cricket balls as they disappeared into various trees, bushes and assorted shrubbery bordering the ground. GBCC posted 365 for 5 off their 45 overs. Wickets were scarce but shared between Fleckers, Ando, Walker and some bloke call Hill.

The half-time break meant we could enjoy probably one the finest teas you’re fat correspondent has ever eaten with every food group pretty much covered off – from cream horns to midget gems, from pizzas to jam roly-poly – we had the lot. A huge thanks to the ladies who prepared such a boarding school, Billy Bunter sized feast. Amazing.

….burp.

In reply, Preston opened up with Wilson and Muzz, both of whom looked good, smashed a few runs and then fell cheaply. Cal batted well for a well made 21 using the good surface to good sure chop effect.

However, highlight of the Preston innings was the entrance of Preston Tentman Blake Mills who decided that he needed a good, hard spank and proceeded to smash an even faster hundred. Even bigger sixes were struck with a fine, aggressive display of dismissive batting.

Balls flew everywhere and much to the frustration of several GBCC players who let quite a few through legs and a few dropped catches. Worried frowns started to appear – probably because quite unbelievably considering the GBCC innings, Preston would have been ahead of the run rate if rain played a heavier hand at one point.

Blake batted superbly but we knew if he fell, it would be a tall ask. As it turned out to be, with Blake not quite getting hold of one, and he was caught for a bullying 126.

After a slightly blurry 26 from that bloke Hill again, the Preston innings folded with Waters un-typically letting one sneak through his gate as he gracefully tried to tickle it round the corner for a well judged single….even the handle string unraveled.

An enjoyable cricket game played in rugby conditions. Thanks for being great hosts and for the superb tea Great Brickhill CC and congrats on the well deserved win.

Thanks also to both Umpires who stood with good grace in pretty grim conditions.

Well done Blake – to finish on such a huge innings.

Well done this year too to all players. To end up where we have in Div 1 in only our second season in the Beds League is a great achievement. Sunday cricket is a superb window into the success of a Club, we’ve always said that. With many Clubs genuinely struggling to even play Sunday cricket, it’s important Preston continue to push the Sunday cricket agenda. That will help us also to continue too to provide 2nd X1 Sunday cricket for those that want it. Tough this year, but it can be done with a little hard work.

Well done All.

Onwards to 2018.

Scorecard

Table