Three Preston victories in great start to league season

Match reports for Saturday May 5th 2018

    Preston 1st XI v Totteridge Millhillians 2nd XI SHCL Div 2A

Preston kicked off their Herts Division 2A campaign with a hard fought and thrilling victory away against newly promoted Totteridge Millhillians 2s.

On losing the toss and being asked to bat first Preston made excellent progress reaching 104 without loss by the 22nd over, with the aggressive Pete Murrell (66) and the patient James Stevens (47) providing a solid platform for a score in excess of 250. The removal of Murrell brought Jack Stevens (18) to the crease and in tandem with his twin they batted sensibly putting on 52 for the 2nd wicket with good shot selection and running. A flurry of middle order wickets saw Preston lose their way slightly at 201 for 6 by the 44th over and were indebted to a 49 run 8th wicket partnership between George Biggs (33) and skipper Max Anderson with a hard hit (35) to allow them to finish their innings on 254 for 9 from their allocated 50 overs.

The home side set about their run chase in confident fashion scoring freely and with ease between 5 and 6 runs an over as Preston found the unique ground dimensions hard to defend. It was seamer George Biggs (10/1/47/1) that made the initial breakthrough with the removal of the dangerous Aussie Tim Smith, however Totteridge were well placed to push for victory at the 35 over mark at 161 for 3. Preston managed to strangle the home side and slow their scoring rate and to increase the required rate to 8 an over with the introduction of spin duo Pete Murrell (10/1/36/1) and skipper Max Anderson (10/2/27/1). One area of definite concern was the amount of extras conceded by Preston with 25 wides contributing to the 32 extras, which allowed Totteridge to stay in the game right up until the final over with 10 runs required for victory with 1 wicket remaining. It was spinner Jack Stevens (5/0/29/2) that held his nerve conceding just the 3 runs as Preston scrambled home to victory by 7 runs.

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    Preston 2nds v Hatfield Crusaders SHCL Div 5A

On a beautiful day at Preston, skipper Ash Catlin still hasn’t found the first day victory that he has been looking for as Hatfield’s Edge gave the visitors a 2 wicket win.

Inserted, Preston’s openers Lincoln and Walker got to 23 without being troubled before both fell in the same Sam Edge over which also saw Blair bowled first ball. Will Mercer and Glenn Thompson fell quickly too giving Catlin much to do. He found some company in the middle from debutant Haseeb Ashrab (20) and a fluent Tom Mercer (29) but ran out of partners on 44 with a total of just 133 – below par despite the slow outfield and encouragement for the seamers.

Mark Waters swung into action after tea with three quick wickets and, as Tom Mercer won an lbw decision, Hatfield mirrored Preston’s early collapse to 25-4. More measured batting in the middle order from Hasiza (29)and Clark (35) saw Preston contain the scoring but fail to penetrate until Craig Tennant on debut took 2-16 to put Hatfield in trouble at 85-7 with 15 overs to go. Enter man of the match Edge (15*) guiding his team to a 2 wicket victory with 13 balls to spare.

Not a poor display, with two determined debuts, strong performances from veterans Catlin and Waters (4-29) and a healthy team spirit suggesting not too long a wait for a first victory.

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    Preston 3rds v Old Minchendenians SHCL Div 9B

The Thirds were grateful to new skipper Iain Williamson when he won the toss at Old Minchendenians and quickly elected to bowl on a pitch that was reportedly under water only two weeks ago. None of the home team batsmen could muster a decent innings, with neither defensive application or IPL-style slogging working for them. Oli Catlin started the rout with a run out from point, Oli Gallimore got one to bounce awkwardly, and Iain Purton won an LBW. Alex Williamson came on and took two wickets for 12 runs, including a smart catch by Dad, but it was Bhav Patel who was the pick of the bowlers, taking 4 for 12 and proving far too skillful for the OM’s middle and lower order.

An early tea and Preston set out in pursuit of 61 for victory. Matt Burleigh was bowled off his pads third ball, but there was no panic as Oli Catlin at number 3 proved to be the man of the match. Oli made an extremely patient 18 not out from 58 balls to slowly reel in the target. He played resolutely straight to everything, waiting only for the short ball to pull for four. He was assisted at first by Martin Pierce, and in the end by Greig Hearne (17*) who managed to find his timing to play a couple of big shots and put the match to bed. The Threes won by 6 wickets to make a great start to their 2018 campaign.

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    Preston 4th XI v Old Camdenians 2nd XI SHCL Regional Div B East

The 4th XI began their campaign with a healthy mix of youth and experience in the side, with Luke Ponder, Joe Clark and Tom Spinks all starting their second season in senior cricket. They have some way to go to catch up with Chris Newell, who having invested in some new kit over the winter, started something like his 63rd year at Preston!

Skipper Dave Saunders won the toss and duly inserted Old Camdenians II on a good looking but softish Whitwell track. Youngsters Tom Spinks and Joe Clark soon had Old Cam in trouble as they found runs difficult to come by and mis-timed their shots. Spinks in particular caught the eye (5-0-13-3), removing the first three batsmen, one to a slip catch by Saunders and two bowled. Clark (6-2-5-1) and Ponder (6-3-14-0) kept up the pressure with the Old Cam batsmen spending more energy on arguing with their umpiring teammates on the new wide and no ball rules, than they did on batting.

The introduction of Rupert Bruce (6.5-1-10-4) proved too much for Old Cam as they fell foul of his tempting seamers and with Newell (2-2-0-0) tying down the other end Old Cam collapsed to 46 all out. An excellent all round bowling display, supported by fine fielding and catching.

The experienced Preston openers Biggs (17*) and Pomeroy (14*) were largely untroubled by the Old Cam bowlers and made sure of a ten wicket win with Preston at 47-0 off 12.5 overs

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