Victory for the 1sts in a tight clash with Northchurch
Match reports for 30th May 2015
Preston 1sts v Northchurch, SHCL Div 2A
Cricinfo’s George Dobell reports from the Field of Dreams.
Sorry, I meant Mark Waters.
Preston find themselves sitting in 5th spot after a thrilling game against Northchurch in the Div 2A 50/50 encounter.
After a morning spent remembering Preston player and dear friend, Dave “Mad Dog” Allen, and receiving a new bench in remembrance, it seemed fitting that the afternoon’s game was one of the best in recent memory.
Northchurch won the toss and elected to bowl. Preston’s opening partnership of Hearne and Walker was short lived as Walker apparently edged behind in the first few overs. Hearne hung around and once again batted doggedly for 34 before fishing for a wide one and caught behind. Preston’s middle order batted well with Murrell, Fleckney and Crea all getting into the 20’s and 30’s but led by Hill who posted a respectable 67 to bolster the Preston innings. Some excellent running between the wickets put Northchurch under pressure in the final stages and Preston posted a challenging 211 for 7 off the 50. Northchurch regular Hobley returned figures of 2-37.
Preston’s opening attack of Crea and Waters bowled well with Waters again getting into wickets early removing the Northchurch 1, 2 and 3 cheaply. Crea again bowled with great pace and was unlucky not to take an early scalp when a chance at first slip went begging. First change Nick Jones proved a handful and straight away bowled a tricky line and length and caused Northchurch problems. Wickets fell regularly with Waters and Jones posting miserly figures – Waters 3-26 and Jones 3-27.
The Northchurch innings however was driven and carried by a superb 100 from No.6 Theo Gayton. His impressive composure and powerful hitting got Preston rattled and the total of 211 got ever closer as Preston’s bowling and fielding started to crumble and panic set in. Anderson continued to plug away and took away 2 wickets and finally Australian Crea cleaned up centurion Gayton will a full-toss of all things to finish the Northchurch chase at 197.
A close call for Preston. A game that exposed some big things for Preston to work on around composure under pressure. Also the realisation dawned that sides simply won’t lie down for us and let themselves be beaten. Gayton’s 100 at No.6 was one of the best knocks in recent seasons seen at Preston – a treat to watch – and was a telling reminder to the Preston 1st X1 that it’s never over and we need to raise our game and utterly change our attitudes when the heat’s on to beat good sides. If we are to challenge this year every single player needs to raise their bar.
We got away with it this time – it would be good to see improvements around positivity for next weeks encounter against Holtwhites Trinibis.
Preston 2nds v Hemel Hempstead 3rds, SHCL Div 5A
After their record breaking batting last weekend, Preston 2nds crashed back down to defeat in a low scoring game at Hemel Hempstead 3rds.
Preston opted to bat first, hoping that the psychology of runs on the board would once again work in their favour. A last minute change of personnel necessitated Iain Williamson opening with Matt Burleigh, but the pair soon discovered that the Hemel track was a bowler’s paradise. A damp top helped every delivery seam and bounce awkwardly, and after surviving a dropped slip catch Williamson soon departed, dragging a half volley onto his stumps as he attempted to break the shackles. Burleigh survived a little longer before edging a good delivery to slip, and thereafter it was somewhat of a precession as Preston’s batsmen either fell victim to excessive movement or to loose shots as they sought to get runs on the board. Fortunately for Preston tail-ender Casey Hughes (41) managed to find the boundary with some big hitting. His last wicket partnership with Mark Smith was the largest of the innings and lifted Preston from 74 for 9 to 104 all out.
Hughes was immediately back in the action with the ball, and in a vicious ten over spell of 3 for 33 he unsettled the Hemel top order with pace and bounce. One delivery in particular knocked the batsman’s helmet clean off. With Andy Riant and Ashley Catlin chipping in with wickets at the other end, Preston felt they had a chance of victory as Hemel slipped to 69 for 6. Unfortunately by this stage much of the life had gone from the wicket. Hemel’s 7th wicket pair then batted with patience and common sense to slowly chip away at the target, eventually seeing their side to victory by 4 wickets in the 38th over.
Preston 3rds v Redbourn 3rds, SHCL Div 10B
Preston 3rds fell to another defeat, this time at home to Redbourn. Batting first, Preston were all out for 155 in 45.2 overs, and felt that this total was probably a little short. And so it proved, as Redbourn got home by 3 wickets in the 47th over of their innings.
Preston 4ths v Datchworth 4ths (Friendly)
Preston 4ths travelled to Datchworth on Saturday for a friendly as Knebworth Park had conceded the league match. Preston took first knock on a stodgy wicket and found runs difficult to come. Tom Carr made a solid 22 and Peter Robbins a well made 45 but only 146 was accumulated. Datchworth found the going tough also but just got home by 1 wicket, Chris Newell taking 3 wickets and the more junior Robbie Parry 2.