A bad day at the office for the club, despite strong availabilities. Sunday’s games were both rained off. Match reports for Saturday July 11th 2016.
Preston v Holtwhites Trinibis, SHCL Div2A
Preston won the toss and chose to bat first for the visit of Holtwhites Trinibis. Justin Powick (38) and James Stevens (18) grafted their way to an impressive opening partnership of 57 before Stevens lost his off stump to one that kept low. Preston stayed patient, accumulating runs where they could but a slow outfield and some tight bowling, particularly from skipper Habib Younis (3 for 29) restricted the home side to 117 for 5 after 34 overs. Then a sixth wicket partnership of 49 between Fleckney and keeper Hill (42*) allowed big hitting all rounder Peter Murrell (21*) to take the side over 200 and gain maximum batting points.
Casey Hughes struck in the first over of Holtwhites reply for the first of his three wickets, but the visitors’ top order showed clear intent to go for the win. Saleem Ullah smashed five sixes on his way to a quick fire 50 but wickets kept falling to keep Preston in with just a sniff of a chance. Holtwhites needed just 9 runs for victory with 5 wickets in hand but panic set in and David Fleckney’s 3 quick wicketskept hopes of an unlikely victory alive. However, Trinibis snuck over the line 8 down.
Preston 2nds v Bentley Heath, SHCL Div 5A
Preston 2s arrived at bottom of the table Bentley Heath hoping to return to winning form but left with just 6 points and the feeling that an opportunity had been lost. Losing the toss and being asked to bat on a slow wicket, Preston found few opportunities to attack some accurate bowling and subsided to 25-3 from 18 overs. Captain Ashly Catlin (44) provided some backbone for the innings with support from Callum Blair (13) and Nick Jones (15) but Preston’s last three wickets fell on consecutive balls to total just 122. Francis (4-30) and Zeb (2-26) were the pick of the home bowlers.
With a low total to defend, every chance needed to be taken but catches were soon dropped as Bentley Heath attempted to keep the scoreboard moving during the opening spells of Mark Waters (1-23) and Ollie Gallimore (1-19). Having removed both openers with the total on 22 the game was still open but a stand of 79 between Ollie Hubbard (32) and the much reprieved Shabaz Hussain (36) took the hosts to the verge of their first league victory of the season. Some hint of batting frailty in the middle order was provided when Catlin (3-8) prompted a late flurry of wickets just short of the target but Preston lost by 4 wickets to slip into the relegation positions. Top of the Herts League 5A table Parkfield & Headstone bring their 100% record to Preston next week.
Preston 3rds v Southgate Compton 2nds, SHCL Div 10B
High flying Southgate Compton 2nds put Preston 3rds into bat at Whitwell, but John Garnham and Matt Burleigh gave Preston a steady start before Garnham chipped a catch to mid off. Despite the wicket providing assistance for Compton’s decent bowling attack, Burleigh advanced to 72 and formed a half century partnership with Iain Williamson (25). Then, after their dismissals, James Skirrow played some strong attacking shots to make 36. However, the tail end rather subsided as Preston (194 all out) failed to take maximum bonus points and, crucially, gave SC two extra overs.
The threes ground fielding and bowling was a distinct improvement on recent weeks, and kept the SC chase in check. Iain Williamson in particular bowled a tight spell of 15 overs to take 3 wickets. However, SC’s strong middle order slowly brought them back into the game until a direct hit run out from Will Mercer at cover, and then another for Will via an excellent return to John Garnham’s gloves from short square leg, seemed to turn the game Preston’s way. But a crucial catch went down on the boundary, and SC’s last pair rode their luck to take 25 from the last 3 overs of the innings – including 2 sixes in the last 6 balls – to win the match with 1 delivery to spare.
On the face of it a galling defeat for the thirds, who have now lost to what looks like the best two sides in Div 10B, but having come so close there is the chance to reverse the results in the return fixtures later in the summer.
Preston 4ths v Old Owens 3rds, Regional Div B East
Preston 4ths were asked to take first knock at Old Owens and a modest 130 was posted. Dave Saunders (49) and Tom O’Reilly (30) were the only two batsmen to get going. In reply Owens got home by 4 wickets despite 3 for 18 from Chris Newell.