Twos win again, rain defeats ones, & a Sunday ton for Blake
Match reports for Sat 20th / Sun 21st May 2017
Preston 1st XI v Abbots Langley 1st XI, SHCL Div 2A
Preston CC 1’s hosted old friends Abbots Langley CC on Saturday in a 50 overs a side match.
With the blackening sky positively Tolkien-esque at times, both sides silently knew that we would be lucky to finish.
Abbots won the toss and inserted Preston. Once again, James Stevens and Jack Morecroft got off to a great start, capitalising on some lose deliveries. Jack fell for 21 having made a start, but it was James that went on to build a strong innings of 73 before being caught.
Rain fell and a short interlude in play saw not only Ickleford CC arrive to watch but also some of the Hitchin CC team, both of whom were rained off.
After the rain break the match was resumed and reduced to 43 overs a side. The Preston innings was then about squeezing as many runs as possible from the remaining overs. Jack Stevens made a fluent 23. Hill, Plumb, Hearne and Anderson all found the gaps to drain the final remaining overs of every run, and Preston posted an admirable total of 194 for 8. A solid, determined batting display given the worsening conditions and some tight spells at times from Parkins, Khiroya, Joubert and Gurney.
With the Bay 13 area of the pavilion on song and well lubricated, Preston then opened the attack once again with James Stevens down the slope and a puffing Waters chuffing up the hill, grimacing into the wind and diagonal rain.
Both bowled well considering the conditions, but beyond the Chequers Lane chimney-line a dark squall was building. There was no-where to run and within 10 minutes, with the Abbots innings poised salivatingly on 45 for 2 off 12 overs, the heavens opened.
With biblical amounts of rain in quick time, any chance of reaching a conclusion disappeared. A shame. Always against Abbots Langley…..
Preston were pleased to have been the main event in the area and a pity that the game couldn’t sneak around the ever-threatening weather.
Next week will see Preston travel the short distance to the next local derby against Hitchin CC. Lets hope for better weather and the chance to build on a positive performance.
Preston 2nd XI v Old Cholmelians 1st XI, SHCL Div 5A
Squinting through the raindrop splodges on the 2nd XI scorebook, the following details emerge:
Preston’s Saturday 2nd XI collected another 30 Herts League points, winning by 60 runs at Old Cholmelians.
In very damp conditions, the 50 overs match started on time with Preston asked to bat but, having reached 30 without loss off 13, a prolonged rain delay reduced the match to 41 overs per side. Openers Tom Lincoln (26) and Alf Rehman (29) then perished looking to up the run rate after a solid partnership of 57 and Preston struggled to accelerate in the testing conditions. The large wet outfield meant that no boundary was scored in the last 15 overs of the Preston innings but a run-a-ball 26 from Liam Kenna, with support from the large capacity engine room of Ian Williamson and Greg Hearne, improved the total to 137-6 at tea.
Confidence was high in the home dressing room with an apparently modest target and, as dangerman Whybrow took 13 off the second over of the Old Cholms reply, prospects of an away win seemed slim. However, Casey Hughes, bowling unchanged for 9 overs, splashing downhill with the wind, built up a head of steam first to have Whybrow caught well at slip by Williamson and then to sink the rest of the top order with 5-19. Old Cholms could only manage one further partnership in double figures and when that was ended by a difficult swirling catch by Rehman, further rain seemed the only possible factor to deny Preston victory. The rain stayed away and skipper Ash Catlin (3-5) extinguished any danger of a late home rally, also claiming the winning wicket with a one-handed catch off Tom Murrell, as Old Cholmelians submerged for just 77.
Preston 3rd XI v London Colney 2nd XI, SHCL Div 9B
A weakened 3rd XI travelled to London Colney, with ex 2nd team skipper Martin Pierce leading the side in a Sinatra-esque comeback for one show only.
With rain threatening, Colney had no hesitation in inserting Preston, who were soon in trouble as top order regulars Burleigh and Hedges were judged LBW within a few balls of each other. Colney’s experienced Usman Zaman bowled an excellent line, and in his ten overs he took 5 for 12 to leave Preston desperate at 38 for 6.
A rain break reduced the match to 46 overs per side, and David Clark then dug in with debutant 13 year old Adam Turner. Both batted extra-ordinarily well to post a 60 run partnership in 20 overs, before Adam fell for a memorable 21. Clarkie attacked a bit more towards the end to finish with 63*, but it was Bhav Patel who lifted the final score to 146 for 8 with some IPL-style big shots in his 20*.
Preston knew they now had a chance, and Bhav and Iain Purton soon had a wicket each to leave Colney wobbling at 6 for 2. A confident Bhav bowled really well (3 for 16 off 10), mixing up out and in-swingers with cut and seam, and one outrageous neon-signed slower ball that the batsman still managed to miss and lose his bails.
With Colney 47 for 5, Preston were delighted, but the home side’s middle order began to put together some runs. Olly Catlin took a crucial wicket to break a partnership, and the pressure returned. Dean Johnson bowled aggressivley to take 2 for 27, and Swampy returned to pick up another to leave Colney in the mire at 129 for 8. But then a vital run out chance was fumbled, and Colney’s hero Usman took full advantage of his luck to see his side home.
A great effort from an under-strength Thirds, especially young Adam Turner, but we now know we are in a much more competitive division than last year, and two narrow defeats leave us in the lower half of the table.
Preston 4th XI v someone
Match cancelled due to Whitwell’s weather finally re-filling the River Mimram.
Preston Sunday 1st XI v Luton Town and Indians 2nd XI, Beds League Div 1
Retired comeback hero only to retire again Will “Sinatra” Gallimore reports:
On Sunday, the 1sts made the short journey across the Bedfordshire border to Luton to face up against Luton Town and Indians 2nd XI. The mood was subdued due to a late night for some of the team, which made young Alf feel like a king stuck to a throne.
Max arrived in perfect time for the toss, called incorrectly, but was redeemed when the home skipper inserted the Ps. HRH Rehman and Peter Murrell were the men offered up to the opening bowlers, who bowled a tight line which pinned both down. Murrell was out in the 3rd over, edging a ball to the keeper while in the process of leaving it. This brought Callum to the crease. Runs were hard to come by, wides being the highest contributor for some time. Callum was undone by a straight one after scoring 7, which brought in recently retired Will Gallimore. After scoring a gutsy 11 he decided to re-retire and miss a straight one, which would have uprooted middle stump, had his pad not intercepted it on route. Soon after Alf followed, followed by Henrys brother, followed by Avesh, followed by George. This left Preston on 59-7 and the team wondering if Ray and Jo could fire up the newly acquired pizza oven at the pub early.
Blake and Max had other ideas. Well Blake did at least, reaching 50 when Max was on 5 and 100 with Max on 10 (positively Bomber-esque – Ed.). Blake had smashed a 77-ball ton and finished on 111. When he departed, the score was 187-8 and with little batting remaining Max decided it would be a good idea to start scoring some runs. Preston were eventually bowled out for 216, which became 237 when the slow over rate penalty was applied by the umpires.
Preston opening the Luton innings with the slow bowling duo of Anderson and Seth Rogan impersonator, O. Gallimore. Max had both openers fairly quickly, one bowled by a trademark yorker, with the other snared at slip by W. Gallimore, his first of 3 catches in the position, while Ollie had the number 4 caught by Pete. After Ollie had got bored of bowling down the leg side, Will had a go from the same end, producing some superb deliveries that had Blake cooing in the slips. His only wicket coming from a hostile low full toss that was chipped to cover. Tom Murrell operated from the other end, his 6 overs coming from 6 different run ups, producing one wicket, caught Alf. Wanting to give Luton a chance, Max brought on Callum and George. This backfired, as Callum had the number 3 caught well by Jack in the deep and George took 2 wickets in his 4 overs for 14 runs. Pete finished the innings quickly with 2 wickets in his 2.1. Preston had restricted Luton to 124. All the bowlers had contributed with at least one wicket, with Max, George and Pete with two each.
Preston Sunday 2s v FM Arthurs X1, Friendly
Vice-Chair Mark “what’s that red thing” Waters reports:
Sunday saw the first Preston Sunday 2s match of the season, taking on local wanderers F M Arthurs. Once again we fielded a mixed side from across the Preston saturday senior XIs, alongside 3 young players from the junior club, Saif, Alex Williamson and Luke Ponder.
Preston bowled first and Saif bowled superbly, knocking back the off stump with his 3rd ball and eventually claiming 2 for 42 off 8 overs. Alex Williamson, son of “Skipper for the Day” and Preston stalwart Skinny, bowled excellently with no luck but took home figures 4-1-7-0 to restrict the runs. Luke Ponder also bowled well up the hill, with a super line and length at times.
Considering these young lads were bowling against experienced players such as Ben Thompson, Luke Day and Ben Smith they bowled maturely, remembered their coaching and did themselves proud. Ben Smith battled well for 61 and Luke Day also played sensibly for a well made 57.
The Preston side restricted Arthur’s to 173 off 40 overs.
The Preston innings was soon floundering with Chairman Constantinidi falling for 0, as did a startled, sleeping Waters and Williamson Senior being run-out for 1. Opener Burleigh stuck his ground for the whole innings, carrying his bat for a crafted 47*, but wasn’t supported by the spine of the innings.
The young lads supported the determined Burleigh well, whilst seeing off some good deliveries from the Arthurs attack but the Prestoners had too much to do. Rupert Bruce and Smudger sprinkled the leg side boundary with a flurry of 4’s at the end of the innings to score 18 and 19* apiece but the Preston side could only muster 130 for 9 in reply. A pity. Had one or all of the senior players knocked a few off it could have been a closer game. Arthurs bowled and fielded exceptionally well with wickets being shared out.
Some real positives from the game were of course the inclusion of some very capable young players, getting the support from the senior club, contributing brilliantly, certainly proving they’re not out of their depth, and ready for the step up. This is a big reason why we work hard to keep these games happening.
There are quite a few more Sunday 2nd XI matches planned and we’d urge other members of the senior club to be available and help genuinely with the development of our young players for the next generation. For Preston to still be able to field two Sunday teams is surely a window into the health of the Club. Many clubs struggle to field even one, and sides as large as Long Marston and Shenley have even had to concede games in the Village Cup this year. A few more senior players to be available at times would be perfect – the young Guys are keen as mustard.
Well batted Matt too to carry his bat.
Onwards and upwards.