A ton for Lewis as 1sts continue winning ways but 3rds stumble despite a century for Skinny
Match reports from 9/10 June 2018
Preston v St Albans SHCL Div 2A
Preston continued on their winning way thanks to another superb all round team performance, resulting in an 88 run victory over St Albans.
After being inserted by the visitors Preston’s opening pair of Lewis Balcombe and James Stevens (40) laid the perfect platform for the latter hitters as they put on 115 runs for the 1st wicket by the 31st over. The arrival of George Biggs (24) again saw steady progress with Balcombe as they put on 60 for the 2nd wicket, as Preston started to push for a score somewhere near 250. Balcombe’s fantastic innings finally came to end for 111. He punished the loose ball and drove with great ease. Ben Hill (19*) and David Fleckney (20*) then combined to help Preston close their innings on 245 for 6.
In the field Preston were indebted to Mark Waters who produced a miserly opening spell of seam bowling with figures of 10/7/4/1, helping to reduce St Albans to 68 for 3 by the 20th over. With the dangerous Simon White (82) still at the crease Preston continued to squeeze from the other end with spinners Pete Murrell (10/3/17/3), David Fleckney (10/0/44/2), Max Anderson (9/0/29/1) and Charlie Bruce (1.4/0/1/1) all applying pressure on the batsmen. Along with two direct hit run outs Preston dismissed St Albans for 157 in the 48th over.
Preston 2nd XI v Bentley Heath, SHCL Div 5A
Preston 2s lost by 4 wickets at Bentley Heath and sit bottom of Div 5A after one third of the season.
Heath’s opening bowlers used the conditions well to reduce Preston to 9-3 and it needed the returning Alf Rehman (16 from 82) to provide some much-needed backbone to the innings when joined by skipper Ash Catlin in a fourth wicket stand of 72. Catlin’s determined and well-judged innings of 71 guided further partnerships of 34 with Tom Mercer (22) and 43 with Andrew Riant (16) to post 172-9.
Steady drizzle after tea made for an increasingly slippy ball and served to calm the wicket’s quirks but it was steady batting by the home side and a couple of missed chances that helped an opening stand of 65 before Joe Riant’s sharp catch dismissed home captain Ollie Hubbard off the previously luckless Bhav Patel (1-35). Slow bowlers Riant (2-13) and Catlin (1-22) then inched through the top order batting and at 108-5, the game seemed evenly poised. Preston could not find the penetration needed though and patient middle order batting was enough to see the hosts home with three overs to spare.
Preston showed enough spirit to suggest that a climb of the table is possible – stronger availability and a little luck could see the corner turned with consecutive home games up next.
Preston 3rd XI v Sandridge 2nd XI, SHCL Div 9B
The Thirds came out second-best in their top of the table clash with Sandridge 2nds, but were still pleased to gain 16 bonus points thanks in particular to an outstanding century from skipper Iain Williamson.
With a number of regular players and bowlers missing, Craig Tennant opened the bowling but sadly broke down after only two balls, and his over had to be completed by Chris Harper. At the other end, Tom Maxwell was having his first bowl of the season and that didn’t go to plan either. Preston conceded 50 runs from the first five overs and it is always difficult to come back from such a start. Sandridge opener Paul Rothery is outstanding at this level and, especially after being dropped on about 30, he took full advantage and hammered an impressive 130. With extras also racking up the Sandridge score began to run away on Preston. Credit to Alex Williamson for another steady spell, and to Craig Tennant who returned to bowl his full compliment of overs off a few paces, and managed to have Rothery caught behind by John Garnham. Still, Sandridge’s lower order could bat with confidence and they finished on 294-7 from their 50 overs.
Sandridge’s opening bowlers were a bit more accurate, but Iain Williamson and Matt Burleigh found few demons in the hard pitch and put on 86 for the first wicket before Bomber was LBW for 34. Skinny then opened up and began to enjoy himself. Sandridge’s skipper at one point had all 9 outfielders on the boundary, but Skinny still hit three sucessive fours between them. He brought up an impressive century before falling for 113. With Craig Tennant (27) and Gil Ide (17*) also playing some big shots Preston lifted themselves to 237 for 9 by the close of their innings.
Preston 4th XI v Shenley Village 4th XI, Reg Div B East
With skipper Dave Saunders reluctantly awol at a family gathering, the 4th team finally won a toss and put Shenley Village 4’s in to bat on Saturday. The Shenley openers set out all guns blazing taking 24 off the first three overs until the irresistable Rupert Bruce (2-27) had them both bowled by the fifth over. Not long after, Bruce was back in the action, somehow finding himself fielding at slip and diving low and fast to his left to take an outstanding catch from the no.3. Shenley skipper George White (41) batted well to take his team to 103-3 at drinks but whatever was consumed did the trick for Preston as Rajiwate (2-28) and Carter(2-39) took the next four wickets for just four runs, leaving Shenley teetering at 107-7. Alas, Preston could not find a killer blow as no.7 Davis (57*) played a fine recovery innings before giving it the long handle in the final overs, getting Shenley to 197-9. The Preston bowlers tried hard, (Clark 0-30, Newell 2-40, Biggs 1-38) and were well supported by the fielders and Andy Mower behind the stumps. Congratulations to young Jody Hearne who made his senior debut and put in a great shift patrolling the boundary – better get used to it Jody!
In reply, Preston lost Rajiwate (3) early, however Hearne G. (23) and Pomeroy (13) were progressing well at 40-1 off 12 overs until the strong bowling attack made inroads and they both departed, followed by Robbins (0) and Clark (10) leaving Preston at 65-5 off 25 overs. Newell (26) and Biggs (33*) restored some respectability and gained valuable batting points getting Preston to 138-6 at the close.
Shenley proved to be the strongest all round team we’ve played this year, batting and bowling in depth and with superb, youthful ground fielding, never relaxing their grip on the game.
Their skipper was also generous in his praise for the Whitwell facilities, pitch and teas. Well done all, good effort, good game, fair result. We’re not far away from a win and try again at Old Albanians this Saturday.
National Village Cup, Preston v Langleybury
Preston squandered a good position in Sunday’s regional final of the National Village Cup against a strong Langleybury XI. Chasing 180 for victory, they reached 105 for 3 before losing their last 7 wickets for 29 runs to collapse to a disappointing 45 run defeat.