Grand Slam Saturday!
Match reports for Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th August 2016.
It was a Grand Slam Saturday for Preston as all four sides won their Herts league fixtures. Then the Sunday Ones chased down a huge score at the Field of Dreams, while the young stars of the future led the Twos to a comfortable victory at Great Gaddesden.
Preston 1st XI v Holtwhites Trinibis 1st XI, SHCL Div 2A
Promotion-chasing Preston travelled to in-form Holtwhites Trinibis on Saturday. Skipper David Fleckney won the toss and elected to bat with the Herts league switching back to the win-lose 50 over a side rules.
The top order all made starts but failed to go on to make score of note. Still, after reaching 103 for 3 Preston looked in a good position. Dan Plumb (29), making his first team debut, held the middle order together but was then one of 3 quick wickets which left the innings precariously placed at 119 for 6. On a decent wicket and quick outfield, a match winning total looked distant.
But a sensible partnership of 43 then ensued between Pete Murrell (28) and Max Anderson (31). The latter fell going for one too many shots, bringing in all rounder Henry Morecroft (16*) to compile another significant partnership with the watchful Murrell. Preston completed their 50 overs with the score 202 for 8.
Holtwhites went off like a train, Saleem Ullah in particular smashing three early sixes to place the home side in a very commanding position of 52 for no wicket off five overs. Spinners Pete Murrell (3 for 20) and Max Anderson (3 for 12) came to the rescue, quickly dismissing the top three for the addition of just 7 runs, Casey Hughes snaffling a smart catch in the process. Together with a run out, Murrell and Anderson all but won the game for Preston, as Holtwhites slid to 111 for 7 at the end of the pair’s 10 over spells. Despite some resistance from the lower order, Seb Walton-Adams cleaned up taking 3 for 37 and Trinibis were all out for 161 in the 42nd over.
Preston 2nd XI v Bentley Heath 1st XI, SHCL Div 5A
Preston 2nd XI took their Div 5A winning run to six on Saturday with a 79 run home spanking of lowly Bentley Heath. Winning the toss and batting in excellent conditions clearly helped and the Preston top three were all able to score freely, though none could go on to make a big score. Visiting seamer Francis (2-42) impressed as Warren Hearne (32), Chris Cole (14) and Callum Blair (35) were all sent back after threatening. When spinner Zeb produced some bounce to say goodnight to Jack Morecroft, Preston were 109-4 off 26 overs and the innings could have gone either way. However a fine unbroken partnership of 146 between Ashley Catlin (87* off 85 balls) and in-form Liam Kenna (51* off 64 balls) broke the back of the visitors’ attack. Carefully seeing off the better bowlers and milking the weaker replacements, the duo smoothly accelerated to take Preston to a season-high 255-4 off of their 50 overs.
The customarily frenetic reply from Bentley Heath produced early boundaries but at the cost of regular wickets, flame-haired opening bowler Casey Walker (3-38) generating two well-judged mid-off catches for the enthusiastic Warren Hearne. When visiting skipper Olly Hubbard was removed in the 21st over at 99 for 4, Preston sniffed victory and closed out the game as 5 wickets fell for 22, spinners old Andrew Riant (4-31) and Charlie Bruce (2-51) enticing the necessary indiscretions from the Bentley Heath middle order. Celebrations were delayed by a perky 50 partnership for the 9th wicket but skipper Catlin eventually bowled the last man to confirm a clear victory and close further on rivals for the league’s two promotion places. Three games to go and nothing less than three victories needed if 4th place is to be traded for one of the two promotion slots.
Preston 3rd XI v Southgate Compton 2nd XI, SHCL Div 10B
The Thirds increased their lead at the top of Div 10B with their 8th successive victory, and an important win over 3rd placed Southgate Compton. Skipper John Garnham opted to bowl first on probably the best wicket Preston’s players could remember seeing at Compton. None-the-less, Iain Purton and Bhav Patel were as miserly as usual, and Compton scored only 11 runs in the first 10 overs. Compton’s openers managed to raise a 50 partnership, before Tom Mercer (3 for 21) changed the direction of the match by bowling both in the same over. Club Chairman Paul Constantinidi then bowled a tight 10 over spell of slow bowling to pick up 3 for 19, as Compton collapsed to 82 for 6. The tail end batted with a bit of common sense to raise the total to 140, before the returning Iain Purton took two wickets to end the innings.
Preston fancied their chances on a flat wicket and fast outfield, and Will Mercer immediately put away two neat boundaries, before chipping a simple catch to square leg. Dean Johnson fell to Compton’s snarling fastish bowler, but Matt Burleigh (30*) was booked in for bed and breakfast at the other end. Richard Gatehouse should have been caught at mid-off on 0, but made the most of the let off to race to fifty. Compton’s heads dropped, and Gatehouse’s run out for 73, after a century partnership with Burleigh, was too late for them. Garnham square cut the winning boundary, and Preston now need (at most) 2 victories / 60 points from the last 3 games to secure the title, and just one win or 23 points to guarantee promotion.
Preston 4th XI v Watford Town 4th XI, Friendly
The 4ths travelled to Watford 4ths, having being awarded a walkover against Old Owens 3rds in the league after they failed to raise a side. The home team chose to bat first and were bowled out for 129. There were 3 wickets apiece for Sav Balac and Chris Newell. However, preston found that the rack was ropey as well and were skittled out for a dissapointing 70. There was a suprising top scorer in Rupert Bruce who made a flashing 22.
Preston Sunday 1st XI v Eaton Socon 1st XI, Beds County League Div 2
Intrepid investigative journalist (ie tabloid hack) Liam Kenna reports from an extra-ordinary game on Sunday:
The Sunday 1st XI hosted Eaton Socon at the Field of Dreams in the Bedfordshire League, hoping to add to the four wins picked up by the club the previous day.
Pete Murrell lost the toss, confirming that he is in fact a useless tosser and Preston were in the field first up.
Max Anderson took the gloves and gave Liam Kenna some sobering up time at slip. 3rd ball of the game and Ollie Gallimore – Mr Bedford School 3 years running – took the edge of the opposition Overseas for a bleary eyed Kenna to put it down. Luckily enough Justin Powick was on hand to run out the Cambridgeshire Girls under 16 batsman out from second slip without the young lady facing a ball. (The cad! – Ed)
Two overs later a 15 year old that a few weeks before scored 170 nicked off from Gallimore straight to safe hands Kenna who once more shelled it. A look of disgust from and a shake of head from Krones ensued.
Fireworks then went off and the young man put the attack all around the ground, Murrell bowling the only maiden of the match. Powick was brought in to the attack and combined with Kenna (now with gloves on). Gallimore finally got his man on 146 and declared:
“He might have won a few battles but I won the war”
Eaton Socon finished 311-6.
Even with such a high score needed, Preston were quietly confident about the run chase. Powick and Murrell opened up and both raced along with Muzza departing with the score on 89. LBW Blair padded up to the young lady to give her both wickets early on. Soon it was Bodger and Badger at the crease. Alf Rehman playing the holding role for Powick who displayed the best bit of hitting by an Australian since Dr Karl Kennedy nicked his secretary. Powick brought up his 8th century of the season. No mean feat when Rehman almost made him nod off twice. Powick finished by foxtrotting past one on 143.
Anderson and Kenna were now at the crease with 50 to win off 7 overs. Ando was in some what of hurry, news that the pub opened early led to him smashing it into Bomber’s house and pupils at the college had not been so scared since Jack Morecroft took a detour home from the pub one Saturday night. Dom Baldwin (35 off 14 balls) entered when Ando went (31 off 13 balls) and Kenna looked after a highly increasing average with 20 off 9 balls to give Preston a fine win. 1000 runs scored at Preston CC over one weekend. Well done ground staff!
Preston Sunday 2nd XI v Great Gaddesden, Friendly
The availability of several of our youngest players prompted a late decision to arrange a friendly for the Sunday 2nd XI, and after a little bit of work a plumb fixture was found at Great Gaddesden. Most of Preston’s seniors had never played there, but what a gem of a village ground, surrounded by oak trees and with a lovely pub (the Crown & Sceptre) just beyond the boundary.
Skipper Ashley Catlin decided to bat first and he sent out Charlie Bruce and 12 year old Jack Munson to open. They get off to a quick start before Munson was unfortunately run out by a direct hit. Preston debutant, 15 year old Theo Ridgents joined his cousin Lord Charles, and they put on 125 together, albeit helped by a few dropped catches. Charlie was eventually bowled for 76, and Theo for 78. Olly Catlin got going at number 4 and hit some nice boundaries to make 35*, with old timer Matt Burleigh making 19* at the other end as Preston finished on 235 for 3 from 40 overs.
A lovely tea was provided by the hosts in their old pavilion, with the players enjoying the little garden out the back as the Sun beat down.
Another of the under 12s/13s, Adam Turner, opened the bowling, with Rupert Bruce providing experience at the other end. Rupert took 2 quick wickets, and an excellent catch by 13 year old Tom Chambers behind the stumps, grabbing the ball before Bomber at first slip could drop it, gave Adam his first senior wicket. Adam soon had two more courtesy of catches by Simon Porter and Rupert, and he finished with 3 for 25, a super effort. Great Gaddesden were surrendering rather meakly, although fortunately one of their younger players in the tail end batted well to raise the total past three figures. Simon Porter enjoyed a first bowl for a few years and picked up a wicket thanks to another catch by Tom Chambers, this time off the batsman’s glove down the leg side. A very promising performance by Tom behind the sticks. Jack Munson came on to clean bowl two victims, and Charlie Bruce & Tom Chambers combined to run out the last man to give Preston a comfortable 122 run victory.
Both sides retired to the Crown & Sceptre for a good chat over a beer, and hopefully we will be able to arrange another fixture for next season. A perfect venue for the Sunday Twos, wonderfully hosted by GG.