Lords hopes dashed at Reed
Preston v Bishops Stortford 2nd XI, SHCL Div 2A
Preston travelled to Bishops Stortford for what turned out to be a frustrating game in our the first 53/47 format of the ’17 season.
Preston found themselves just 18 runs short in a dramatic run chase. Our batsman were on top in the middle order and looking comfortable but a two key partnerships were broken and then we lost 3 further wickets for 1 run.
Preston won the toss and elected to bowl first on a decent looking top in the hope that the Preston attack could restrict the hosts to an achievable total.
Preston’s new ball pair of James Stevens and Mark Waters bowled well with Stevens especially bending his back to gain movement and pace that was too much for Stortford Skipper Felsted, who was back in the pavilion for 0. An excellent spell, taking 1 for 14 off 6.
Preston felt number 2 Pedro Venus got away with gloving one behind that was adjudged not out off Max Anderson, and he went on to make a slow 51 before being run out.
Young Alex Portas at No 3 batted well; taking a few risks but finding the gaps to make 65 before a soft caught and bowled off Anderson. A solid 22 from Smith and a bullying 43 from Reed added reinforcement in the latter stages of the Stortford innings to take the total to 225 off 52 overs for 7.
The Preston side bowled well and fielded with commitment. It was one of those days however that a few catch opportunities just didn’t go to hand and the lofted shots found the gaps and looser deliveries were given the treatment by Stortford’s lower order.
In reply, Preston went out with confidence but Morecroft was back in the pavilion caught for 14 and Jimmy Stevens falling LBW for just 6 both having looked comfortable.
Dan Plumb played a great knock – taking a few chances but played some beautiful strokes and achieved a very important 60 before being adjudged to have been caught behind off Stortford’s Austin Sewell.
The in-form Ben Hill also batted with grit to make a well made 47 but didn’t go further having also been caught. Jack Stevens made 20 at No 3 but was also caught, off Sewell.
Blake Mills once again took the reigns from Hill and Plumb and started to look dangerous as the Stortford total came in sight. Mills got to 27 quite quickly and comfortably before being adjudged LBW with Preston looking to hunt down 49 in the final few overs. Fleckney, Hearne and Anderson unfortunately failed to finish the job and all 3 fell for just 1 run to put the innings in trouble.
Pete Murrell made a quick-fire 9 as the total dropped to below 20 before he called Waters through for a single off an edge to slip that Waters must have been 21 yards short of making and that unfortunately saw the Preston innings close 18 runs short in the 44th over.
A very frustrating result as we got so close.
Stortford’s Austin Sewell took home figures of 6-53 of a full 15 overs. The impressive Portas was the other pick of the home side bowlers with 3 for 42 off 7. Stortford take the full 30 and sees them ride up to 2nd place and Preston drop to 6th place but just one win off the top spots again.
We need to shake it out and dust ourselves down for the next week’s usually fruity encounter with Watford, at home.
We can feel unlucky this week but we absolutely have the players and should have the confidence too for our challenges ahead so we move on, up and into next week.
Preston 2nd XI v Bentley Heath, SHCL Div 5A
Preston’s Saturday 2nd XI made it four wins from the last five with a 7-wicket victory over struggling Bentley Heath. Asked to bowl first, Preston started brightly with Casey Walker returning both openers to the pavilion in quick order. Henry Morecroft bowled well without reward as the experienced Hubbard brothers then put together a stand of 67, helped by three dropped chances. With their departure, to well-judged Alf Rehman catches at mid-on, the Heath cupboard was relatively bare and 104 for 3 rapidly became 116 all out. Captain Ash Catlin, on 18 league wickets for the season already, returned 4-15 with support from Riant (2-18) and a return to form for Ollie Gallimore (1-31).
In reply, openers Tom Lincoln (36) and Alf Rehman, whose partnerships average 64 this season, batted purposefully combining some smartly taken singles with punishment of the bad ball. Visiting spinner Zeb (3-23) bowled tidily, inducing a mini flurry of wickets with the chase in the 70s, but Morecroft looked good with the bat too and helped Rehman cross the line undefeated on 51 showing a nice range of shots to add to his earlier three catches.
Tougher opposition to come in the next few weeks but Preston’s win puts them up to 3rd in what is shaping to be quite an open Herts League Division 5A, with only 16 points separating the top 5 clubs.
Preston 4th XI v Totteridge Millhillians 4th XI, SHCL Reg Div B East
Preston 4ths lost by 8 wickets to a strong Totteridge 4ths at the decent venue of London Maccabi Vale. On winning the toss Dave Saunders chose to bat first with the exciting prospect Simon Thompson, who was making his Preston debut. However a keystone cops run out put paid to that. Only Nigel Biggs on his return from injury got going with a well made 46 as Preston posted just 113 all out. The home side never looked in trouble and got home with ease. Bob Hearne and Rupert Bruce taking the only two wickets.
National Village Cup: Preston v Reed
Lords dream comes to an end.
Preston’s dream of playing at Lords in this year’s National Village cup was ended on Sunday after they were outplayed by the 2012 winners Reed CC in the Herts & Beds regional final.
The stage was perfectly set with glorious conditions bringing out a Preston army of 30 supporters cheering the P’s in their first appearance in the regional final.
Skipper Anderson followed previous rounds and elected to bat after winning the toss. In what was always going to be the P’s toughest task of the season it was James Stevens & Jack Moorcroft who were given the responsibility of keeping out the highly rated Reed bowling attack. Unfortunately for Preston it was Reed who won the opening battle with Jack Tidy seeing off Jack & James Stevens in the first 8 overs leaving Preston wobbling for 20-2. This brought inform Daniel Plumb to the crease but it didn’t take long for Tidy to be back in the wickets seeing Plumb off for just 7 as Tidy finished off with 3-17 off his 8, Preston in trouble on 41-3 off 16.
Moorecroft & Hill went around rebuilding the Preston innings both showing promise scoring 24 & 30 respectively but it was Reeds disciplined bowling which won the battle securing the wickets of both batsmen in quick succession. Peter Murrell and Welsh overseas Liam Kenna were the next two tasked with getting Preston to a competitive score and the pair did just that reaching their 20’s in quick time, both looking at home amongst their Championships Hosts. But yet again it was Reeds tight bowling which stopped Prestons batsmen building on their starts this time Sean Tidy doing the damage by taking the wickets of Kenna (24) & Murrell (26). Eventually it was Skipper Anderson who gave the away supporters something to cheer about hitting two maximums in the closing overs ending on 23 not out and Preston finishing on a slightly slim looking 149-8.
Preston took the field with the extra incentive of taking ex-Prestoner Richard Wharton’s wicket who opened the batting alongside Will Heslem. James Stevens took the new ball alongside Anderson and bowled an aggressive spell but lacked the luck to take wickets, Murrell dropping a tough Heslem slip catch being one of the near misses. Both Heslem & Wharton batted well and Preston had to wait until the 12th over to eventually take their first wicket, Murrell bowling Heslem for 28 leaving Reed on 46-1 off 12.
Preston built on the wicket and with Waters & Murrell bowling well in tandem they managed to restrict Reed to just 60 off their 20 overs giving the P’s hope of an upset. Unfortunately the next 5 overs after drinks saw a spell which essentially took the game away from Preston – Reed going onto score 41 quick runs including a calamity dropped catch from Daniel Plumb off a ugly looking Wharton stroke. Preston failed to recover from this period and Lankaster and Wharton deservedly went on to reach their half centuries with Reed only needing to score at under 3 an over to keep up with the required run rate. Anderson turned to Walker in the closing stages of the game, taking the wickets of Lankaster (60) and eventually the scalp of Wharton for 52. However these were no more than consolation wickets as Reed eventually reached the 150 target in the 35th over.
Reed will now go onto face Foxton in the next round of the NVT and Preston would like to wish them the very best for the remainder of the cup. A huge thank you for everyone who came and supported, it was a useful exercise for a lot of the Preston players who will have aspirations of competing alongside Reed in the Championship in the not too far future.