Big wins for 1sts and 3rds, but 2nds fail again

Match reports for Saturday 24th June 2017.

    Preston 1st XI v Holtwhites Trinibis 1st XI, SHCL Div 2A

After the previous weeks performance, a rejuvenated Preston travelled to Holtwhites Trinibis eager to register their first win of the 53/47 format. Captain Max Anderson once again won the toss and the hot weather convinced him that batting first would be the right call.

An uncharacteristically poor start left Preston 25 for 2 after the first 7 overs with both openers back in the shed, James Stevens being particularly unlucky in his dismissal. After recovering from a sore back last week, Jack Stevens continued where he had left off with the bat, scoring fluently all round the wicket for 48. At the other end, following his runs the previous week, Pete Murrell struggled to come to terms with the bouncy Holtwhites wicket – falling for a laboured 18 off 80 balls. Unfortunately the usually reliable middle order failed to get out of first gear, Ben Hill going without troubling the scorers and Blake Mills managing just a single. A mixture of good bowling and some average stroke making meant that Preston were precariously placed at 117 for 8.

However, Warren Hearne (22*) and Max Anderson (38) played their parts in a match winning rear guard action with a superb partnership of 52. Still well under par, but resembling something of a score, Preston closed their innings on 171 for 9 from their allotted 53 overs.

Following some choice words from the captain, Preston took the field knowing early wickets were needed to have any chance of forcing a victory. James Stevens, with the bit between his teeth following the first innings, delivered a wicket with the first ball of the innings to set the tone of what was to come. 0 for 1 quickly became 14 for 3, as Mills and Stevens (9-2-26-3) produced a vicious opening spell to leave Holtwhites wobbling at 49 for 4. From then on in, the very capable fingers of Pete Murrell (9.1-2-22-5) spun Preston to victory, in an excellent spell, to bowl Holtwhites out for 108 and gift Preston the full 30 points.

A very good comeback victory for Preston, owed in large part to Warren and Max’s innings and the bowling unit as a whole. However this performance must serve as a reminder that we cannot allow any complacency to creep into our performances, as the side will not always be so lucky as to get themselves out of jail from similar positions. Having said that, it shows the character of the side in being able to fight back from such positions and the skill of the bowling unit to defend, in the end, quit easily a below par score. Next week sees the side face Radlett at home, and they will be hoping for a return to a more all-round performance.

Div 2A Table

    Preston 2nd XI v Hatfield & Crusaders 1st XI, SHCL Div 5A

It’s lose, lose for 2s as Hatfield take Wynne win through spin.

Consecutive league defeats against Leverstock Green and now at home to Hatfield have pushed Preston’s Saturday 2nd XI down to seventh in the Div 5A table. With a won four – lost four record, Ash Catlin’s troops will approach next weekend’s visit to bottom of the table Radlett 3s hoping for a confidence-boosting victory.

All started well enough against Hatfield, with the returning Chris Cole looking comfortable at the crease in constructing an opening partnership with Callum Blair that passed 50 in the 12th over. The visitors turned quickly to the wiles of veteran left-arm spinner Gareth Wynne to slow the scoring and he achieved just that with Preston taking only 27 off the next 12 overs. When first Blair (31) and then Cole (47) went with the score on 83, Preston, needing time to rebuild the innings, lost wickets at regular intervals. David Fleckney was disappointed to be given out LBW, and became one of five batsmen to perish for single figures. Only Catlin (21) and Mark Waters (19*), with a little help from the tail, were able to push on after Wynne completed his 15 overs with 2-19, a late charge pushing the score up to 172-8.

With a quick outfield offering full value for strokeplay, Preston needed to take their chances to defend their relatively modest total and with both openers back in the hutch with the total on 20, the second courtesy of a direct-hit run-out from Fleckney, it seemed that a close game was likely. League leaders Hatfield judged their innings well though with a stand of 99 for the third wicket bolstered by a clutch of missed catching opportunities. Fleckney came on to dismiss Bond for 69 and bowled without much luck as the visitors’ captain Kalaskar guided his team home with an undefeated 47, six wickets in hand and three overs to spare.

Preston will look for more depth in their batting, more penetration in their bowling and a sharper fielding performance as they bid to bounce back up the table.

Div 5A Table

    Preston 3rd XI v Sandridge 2nd XI, SHCL Div 9B

The Thirds produced a brilliant team performance to beat table topping Sandridge 2nds in Div 9B. Preston elected to bat on a dry wicket, and after losing the openers early on, Iain Williamson (31) and Andrew Hedges dug in against some accurate bowling. However, both fell to catches behind the wicket, and skipper John Garnham was soon trapped LBW. From 78 for 5, Preston then staged a superb recovery thanks to an intelligent and patient partnership between Greig Hearne (49) and George Constantinidi (32). With Tom Maxwell taking 19 off the final over of the innings, Preston finished in a strong position at 205 for 9.

Preston’s momentum continued as Iain Purton dismissed one of Sandridge’s in-form openers for a golden duck, thanks to a good catch at 1st slip by Iain Williamson. Swampy then followed this up with a Glenn McGrath-eqsue jaffer (swung out, nipped in) to bowl the hosts’ number 3. But at the other end, runs were coming quickly as Sandridge’s number 1 smashed anything remotely over-pitched, giving Bhav Patel a particularly hard time.

Iain Williamson came on to try and get the important wicket, and after disappearing for a couple of fours and a big 6 to the short leg side boundary, he duly bowled his target. From then on in it was a stroll for Preston. Skinny’s big inswingers were too much for the division leaders, and he finished with outstanding figures of 6 for 24. Olly Catlin got in on the act with an LBW, and John Garnham snaffled a sharp chance at slip to dismiss Sandridge for just 100, giving Preston a huge win by 105 runs.

Div 9B Table