1sts thrash Stortford 2nds on Sat, then win derby v Ickleford on Sun
Match reports for Sat 12th / Sun 13th Aug 2017
Preston 1st XI v Bishops Stortford 1st XI, SHCL Div 2A
Preston 1st XI we’re looking to bounce back from another disappointing loss and some frustrating weather affected fixtures over the previous few weeks against a side who they felt they owed one from the reverse fixture.
After winning yet another toss Max decided to have a bat first on a pretty yet sticky deck. Warren Hearne and James Stevens got Preston off to their second solid start in two weeks with Warren unfortunately toe ending a bad ball straight into long legs grateful hands. The partnership worth 35. This did not stop Preston in their tracks however as Jack Stevens joined his twin brother at the crease and the pair batted sensibly yet ruthlessly to put on a stand of 63. Unfortunately, the sun popped out and put an end to this brilliant partnership as an otherwise loose Perman had James Stevens LBW for 41 who claimed the golden orb obscured his vision.
Jack was not deterred and continued punishing the loose ball and was joined for some smaller partnerships by Murrell (4, still refusing to leave the sweep shot alone) and Hill (9) who hit two lovely fours before getting a good one. At this point the top orders job of setting the base was over as Jack Stevens was removed by O’Donovan trying to move the score along slightly.
Mills came out and batted with real aggression for his 20 off 15 deliveries before holing out to mid off. Unfortunately, the lower order could not provide much resistance and somewhat let down the top order with only George Constantinidi showing any resistance on his Sat 1st XI debut for 7*. Preston were dismissed for 172 off 42 overs which looked slightly below par and another batting performance where there were not enough contributions.
After Tea the message from Captain Anderson was clear that the score was very defendable as long as we showed application with the ball and in the field.
James Stevens opening from one end was unfortunate not to pick up a wicket bowling a tight and agressive spell (6-1-18-0) from the top end. It was Mills however from the pavilion end who managed to get the breakthrough dismissing Lucas (1) who looked uncomfortable during his 11 ball stay and also the impressive Hussein (24) with a short ball that he had been playing so well up to this point. Mills finished with figures of 8-3-25-2. The score had now ticked on to 41-2 from 14 overs.
With the game seemingly in the balance Anderson turned to spin in himself and Murrell. The injection of the slow bowling starting an almighty collapse from the visitors, as they lost 9 wickets for 28 runs to be dismissed for 69. Murrell bowled with his usual flight and guile, getting some big turn down the hill and returning with figures of 8-5-15-4. Anderson from the pavilion end bowled with more pace and even chucked in the odd surprise ball that turned. He completed an extremely tight spell of 5.5-3-7-4 with four of those runs coming in the final over from the inside edge of the number 11.s willow.
All in all a very impressive bowling performance from Preston but another performance that the batsmen will be slightly disappointed in and hoping to start to build on the base set by the top order.
Preston 2nd XI v Bentley Heath, SHCL Div 5A
Preston 2s went down to a thumping 9 wicket defeat at lowly Bentley Heath to effectively end their outside promotion hopes from Herts League Division 5A.
Opting to bat first, Preston quickly lost Alf Rehman offering no stroke to an inswinger and Callum Blair soon followed to Heath’s dangerous Zeb – Hubbard combination. David Fleckney worked hard to keep the solid Tom Lincoln company but when he perished lbw to one that kept low for 13, Preston were 58-3 off 26 and, with several regular players missing, looking nervously at a longer than normal tail. However, Will Mercer played purposefully for 37, having survived a good shout for caught behind, putting on first 64 with the increasingly dominant Lincoln (63) and then 35 with Casey Hughes (27). Some swishing and running in the last overs aided by indifferent fielding by the home team meant that Preston were able to post 188-6 from their 50 overs and take tea with some confidence.
Having had to work very hard to build an innings, Preston let their opponents get off to a flying start, Heath reaching 69-0 off 10 without having to take risks against some very friendly bowling. The introduction of slower bowlers reduced the scoring rate from a canter to a trot, with one wicket for Fleckney that could have been more with better fielding, but Hubbard (66*), Hussain (50) and Tirmizi (49*) were all able to see the hosts home by the 38th over without being significantly troubled.
Three wins in the last three fixtures might still leave Preston close to the top two promotion places but on this form those wins seem unlikely.
Preston 3rd XI v Hitchin 3rd XI, SHCL Div 9B
The less said about the ten-man 3rd XI’s 152 run thumping by Hitchin 3rds, the better. Just to mention that skipper John Garnham went above and beyond the call of duty, returning from his holiday on the Suffolk coast to lead from the front, once it was clear that we could raise no more than 9 other players. He kept wicket and then batted determinedly on a slow, plasticene track that was a dream for any bowler who could land it on a length. All to no avail.
Preston’s lack of bowling options was laid bare as they conceded 256 runs in Hitchin’s 50 overs. Special mention to 13 year old Luke Ponder who bowled his 5 overs for just 20 runs and took his first senior wicket. Luke also struck two good boundaries when he batted and generally had a much better day than most of the experienced players. Andrew Hedges was the pick of Preston’s bowlers, conceding just 20 runs in his ten overs, and Gambo also bowled tidely after an uncharacteristically loose start. Bhav Patel took a good catch on the boundary and deserved better bowling figures. Greig Hearne top scored with 25 including 3 big sixes to spare worse blushes, and at least we got a batting point.
Preston 4th XI v Totteridge Millhillians 4th XI, SHCL Reg Dev Div 2 East
A scorebook showing byes as the top scorer with 16 runs makes for grim reading and so it was on Saturday when the Preston 4th team hosted promotion chasing Totteridge Millhillians at Whitwell. With player shortages further up the chain decimating the usual 4th team squad we managed to field a full team thanks to occasional players and Mark Clark-Jones who only came to watch but was kitted out in spare Preston regalia within minutes of arriving.
Having won the toss and predictably inserted Preston, Totteridge unleashed a stronger opening attack than the previous fixture and one which was probably the most accurate and miserly we’ve faced this year. Young Joe Clark (5) bravely stepped up to open the batting and saw off the opening half dozen overs until he was undone by the pace and seam of Hammatt (6-3-4-1) whilst skipper Biggs (15) dug in at the other end and together with Robbins ((3) moved the score to 28 from 17 overs. Their respective departures prompted a loss of 6 wickets for 12 runs as the middle order came and went in quick succession leaving Preston at 40-7. Fortunately some belligerent late order hitting from Bailey (9) and Bruce (12) upped the score, both well supported by Clark-Jones (7 not out, including a sumptuous ‘shot of the day’ cover drive for 4) as the innings ended at 74 all out from 37.3 overs.
In reply, Hearne (6-0-22-1) picked up an early wicket caught behind as Totteridge skipper Skilber looked to finish the game quickly, whilst at the other end Joe Clark (4-0-6-0) bowled a very tidy opening spell. Gabriel Ryan tried three overs of promising leg spin before Bruce (4-0-8-1) and the in-form Stark (6-2-10-1) (following up his previous three wicket haul at Knebworth Blues), bowled well to keep the pressure on the Totteridge batsmen. However, 74 was always within reach and despite Preston’s best efforts and good spirit in the field, Totteridge eventually made it to 75-3 after 23.3 overs.
Preston Sunday 1st XI v Ickleford, Beds League Div 1
In the Beds League Div 1 on Sunday, Preston took the honours in the derby fixture with Ickleford. Batting first, Preston made 209 for 6 in their 45 overs, thanks to 55 from Ben Hill and 50* from just 33 balls by Dom Baldwin. In response, Dillon Smit threatened to win the game for Ickleford with 52 from 34 balls, including 4 sixes, but after he was caught by Blake Mills at cover, the visitors began to struggle. Luke Marsden anchored the innings with 29, before Pete Murrell finished off the game with 3 for 5 in 4 overs. Ickleford were all out for 168 in the 36th over to lose by 41 runs.
Mention also of a couple of outstanding catches by Preston: standing up to the stumps as Blake bowled offies, Max Anderson dived like a goalkeeper to catch Matt Marsden down the leg side as he under-edged a sweep. Later, Dom Baldwin reacted quickly at slip to catch Scot Crouch one handed off Pete Murrell, holding the rebound as it popped up when his elbow hit the ground.