Delight for the 1sts in the local derby and Village Cup
Preston 1st XI v Hitchin 1st XI, SHCL Div 2A
Mark “Hemingway” Waters reports from the front line:
Preston CC travelled to Hitchin CC in their first encounter of the 2017 Saracens league season. It was an historic game too with Preston and Hitchin competing in the same league for the first time.
With all four local clubs – Preston, Hitchin, Ickleford, and Knebworth – competing all together in Div 2 Preston were keen to put in a strong performance. As it turned out, Preston dominated in all departments to secure an utterly comprehensive win.
Skipper Anderson won the important toss and elected to bat. In the absence of regular opener and class bat James Stevens the innings opened with Morecroft and Murrell. Hitchin new ball openers of Moore and Chandarana were on the money straight away and Morecroft was soon back in the pavilion for a 0 after an accurate yorker from Chandarana.
Preston No 3 Jack Stevens continues to impress and fought against some tight bowling at times to get to a well made, determined 65 before being adjudged leg before – the curse of the sweep shot.
This innings however set up the foundation and it continued with the in-form Ben Hill making a solid and positive 52 and Aussie Blake Mills, looking utterly at home, constructing an innings of 82 in quick time. Some huge straight shots, powerful strokes and clever glances had the Hitchin side scratching their heads. This passage of play with Mills and Hill at the crease really took the game away from Hitchin.
210-ish was the call at the beginning of the innings and Preston finished on 257 for 6 in the 50 overs. With 3 players contributing big 50’s and players like Murrell and Hearne chipping in with 20’s, it proves that with the right heads-on the Preston batsman can construct a strong innings. Everyone played a part and got their heads down.
The Hitchin bowlers worked hard but struggled to find the rhythm at times and the wickets that did fall were spread around between Moore, Chandarana, Harris, Mahmoud and Fair. There were chances in the field however but Hitchin dropped a few catches and some lazy fielding at times allowed the Preston middle order to capitalise especially.
The job had been done with the bat but Preston now needed to turn it on with the ball and also back themselves up in the field and not sit back against a strong total.
Waters and Anderson took the new ball with Waters finding line and length quickly soon had Hitchin opener Chandarana caught at mid-wicket by Plumb. Waters finished with 2-20 off 10 and Anderson also finished with tight figures with 1-22 off his 10 having bowled with great control.
Mills picked up the wicket of the dangerous Flint for 22 and Fair holed out to the predatory Hearne (taking 4 catches in the game at mid-off) for 1 off Stevens. With these two back in the pavilion, the climb for Hitchin became even steeper.
It was then the introduction of Pete Murrell that saw the Hitchin middle and bottom order collapse. Murrell bowled with clever variation and took home excellent figures of 5 for 23 off only 6.1 overs.
Other than Flint (22) and the stranded Moore (19) it was really only opener Khalid who made any impression with a solid 57 before Murrell took a trademark sharp caught and bowled.
But really the wickets fell too quickly and too regularly. Hitchin were all out for 126 in 42 overs.
It was the strongest team display so far this season for Preston. Even without one of the best batsman and not using 2 of the bowlers also in the side. Everyone was up for it, arriving early, playing to a plan and executing it positively. There was a confidence about the performance that was good to see. When batsman create partnerships this allows the powerful stroke makers in the team to play freely. We have the confidence in our bowlers to also do their job.
All the bowlers bowled well but Peter Murrell was the stand out. The fielding was good on the whole but Hearne’s 4 catches at mid-off deserve a mention.
Next week we welcome Knebworth Park CC to Preston and will absolutely be aiming for a similar team performance.
Preston 2nd XI v Waltham Cross Rosedale SHCL Div 5A
Andy “Orwell” Riant sends us this dispatch from the 2nd XI trenches:
For the third week in a row, Preston’s Saturday 2nd XI fought back from what seemed like a losing position to claim victory and maintain second place in Herts League Div 5A.
Batting first against Waltham Cross Rosedale, Alf Rehman (39) and Tom Lincoln (30) put on a sound opening partnership of 73 before both were out trying to up the scoring rate. Waltham X’s slower bowlers then bowled accurately to restrict scoring opportunities and once skipper Ash Catlin (34*) lost Liam Kenna (24) he could find nobody else to occupy the crease for any length of time as the last 5 wickets fell meekly for just 17 runs and a well below par home total of 152.
In benign conditions, the target looked even smaller as Waltham X took 24 off the first two overs. The brisk start was ended by a slower ball from Tom Mercer who bowled both openers in a spell of 2-36. The visitors continued to gather runs relatively easily, needing just 72 to win with 7 wickets in hand and 32 overs remaining, before skipper Catlin’s intervention with the ball. His 10 over spell claimed 5-19 to shift the momentum in Preston’s favour and finding support from Iain Williamson (3-13) and a classy leg side stumping from Kenna, Catlin was left to reflect on a 19 run victory and the tenacity of his team in refusing to accept a likely defeat.
Preston 3rd XI v Redbourn 3rd XI SHCL Div 9B
The less said about the 3rd team performance at Whitwell on Saturday, the better. Preston bowled well enough, but the ground fielding left a lot to be desired. Redbourn’s best two batsmen were two 13 year olds, one of whom (Dan Khalid) made 59*, as the visitors reached 166 for 6 in 50 overs. They put Preston to shame. The loss of Garnham and Burleigh for ducks seemed to knock the stuffing out of the side. Richard Gatehouse made 25, but some utterly horrendous shots from too many batsmen saw Preston collapse to 62 for 9. Bhav Patel and Ian Hamilton put on 31 for the last wicket before a comedy run out summed it all up.
Preston 4th XI v Old Haberdashers 2nd XI, SHCL Reg Div B East
Big Bird keeps it brief with this telegram from the 4ths:
Preston 4ths visited Borehamwood on Saturday to play the rejuvinated Old Haberdashers. 2nds Skipper Dave Saunders won the toss and elected to take first knock on a good looking track. Alas only 3 Batsman got into double figures: Peter Robbins 17*, Chris Newell 13 and Graham Hull 11, and only 72 was posted. Hull then performed well with the ball getting the breakthrough (8 overs 1-18). Roger Hickman got the next wicket, then young Luke Ponder chipped in with a run out. David Ogden got the 4th victim, then Newell nabbed the top scorer. But this was all too late, as the home side rallied to win by 5 wickets.
Sunday: Preston v Northchurch, The Cricketer Village Cup Round 3
Liam “Dylan Thomas” Kenna waxes lyrical from the Field of Dreams while forgetting that Plumby scored a few:
Preston hosted Northchurch in the National Village Cup regional semi-final.
With a host of first team players skipping church for the day, Preston were able to field a strong XI and captain Max Anderson chose to have a bat in the sunshine.
Callum Blair fell early leaving Jack Morecroft playing the Bomber role, supporting the swashbuckling Jack Stevens. Morecroft fell for 11 and brought David Fleckney to the crease.
Stevens was making hay when the sun shone but Fleckney ran himself out going for a quick single only to enquire to the umpire as to whether the ‘keeper took zee bails off with his elbow. How the former first team captain could see from where he was is beyond me!
Stevens fell for 85 and Liam Kenna (25) and Pete Murrell (15) at the end gave Preston a very defendable 221.
Preston then opened up with spin at both ends. Captain Ando and The white Sulieman Benn, Stevens kept things tighter than a snare drum, frustrating Northchurch into a collapse. Pete Murrell and Dom Baldwin picking up four wickets apiece.
The Preston fielding was superb at times. A young fit side and Fleckers raced around the field and took their catches. Ollie Gallimore, surplus to requirements with both bat and ball, snaffled one at cover. The whole ground were in shock, none more than extra cover who was on his way to the boundary.
The visitors were all out for 130 and Preston now go on to the regional final at Reed CC on Sunday June 11th. Only another 34 rounds and we’re off to Wembley.