Weekend match reports for Aug 2/3rd 2014
Preston firsts continued on their winning way with yet another convincing victory in SHCL Division 2 on Saturday, this time over Old Owens.
On winning the toss for once Preston elected to bat first on an excellent surface full of pace and bounce, and this proved a wise decision with rain forecast in the local area. Preston made good early progress reaching 94 for 3 by the 25th over, with twin brothers James and Jack Stevens (61 & 47 respectively) yet again showing their class although somewhat disappointingly neither went on to make a significant score. Preston nearly lost their way after several batsmen were dismissed attacking a little too much, and they fell to a precarious 127 for 5 by the 40th over. However, their strength in depth showed and allowed them to post 205 all out from 53 overs, thanks to vital contributions from Gallimore, Cole, Anderson and Murrell, with sensible shot selection and hard running between the wickets.
A 10 minute heavy rain shower at the start of the host’s reply saw 2 overs lost from their chase, but Preston made the perfect start reducing them to 32 for 3 by the 10th over. With Mark Waters having an off day with the ball it was left to young seamers Henry Morecroft (3 for 34 from 9 overs) and James Stevens (2 for 21) to put Preston in the driving seat, and Old Owens were staring at defeat at 68 for 5 by the 20th over. Left arm spinner Max Anderson wrapped up another important victory for Preston with the stunning figures of 5 for 9 in just 6 overs.
Preston 2nds put in an excellent team performance at home to beat Chipperfield Clarendon 2nds in Division 5. The visitors elected to bat first, but tight bowling from seamers Finlay Connah (4 for 40) and Ollie Gallimore (2 for 60), together with some imaginative field placing from skipper Ashly Catlin, prevented Chipperfield’s batsmen from posting a decent score. Leg spinner Louis Harrington-Smith wrapped up the innings with 3 for 9 and Preston were left to chase 139 for victory. Opening batsmen Barry Turner (31) and Iain Williamson (57) continued their superb form, but the bizarre dismissal of Adam Shelley (15), caught by the keeper after first slip had dropped the ball onto his boot, led to a mini-collapse to 118 for 5. Ashly Catlin and Matt Burleigh had to then call on all their experience to drag Preston over the line and a 5 wicket win.
Saturday saw Preston 3’s entertain their Northwood counterparts at Hitchin Boys School. Following the sad events of the previous weekend, Preston were looking to give their promotion hopes a lift with a victory over lowly Northwood. The visitors duly won the toss and elected to bat first on another warm afternoon. Preston’s opening attack was somewhat blunted by some determined defence and it was not until the introduction of the vastly experienced Bob Churn that Preston made a breakthrough. Churn removed both openers in quick succession, raising the home sides expectations of further success. However, Northwoods number 3 & 4, Cucumber & Rajah, duly took all the Preston attack could throw at them and dispatched it all around the park in a stand of 156. When Rajah finally departed for 67, Cucumber went on to complete a very competent hundred, finishing undefeated on 112 n.o. in a final total of 239 for 3.
Preston’s reply started brightly with Gabbarge striking a flurry of early boundaries before being bowled for 18. Fellow opener, Tom Hillman-Imp batted on until the 40th over before finally being dismissed for 37. Preston’s middle order all succumbed to soft dismissals with the only other significant contribution came from Pete Bobbins with a well made 20. All Preston could do was to hang on for a draw which they managed to do finishing on a sobering 126 for 7. Unfortunately, with this poor performance, Preston’s promotion hopes now seem to have faded away.
Preston 4ths took first knock at Potters Bar on Saturday and with 10 men struggled to 129/7 off 47 overs. Skipper Dave Saunders was bowled for a golden duck, leaving veteran Chris Newell to do the ground work. He carried his bat for 47, that equalled extras as top score. Potters Bar crawled home by 4 wkts off 39 overs, with man of the match Newell and Terry Neale taking 2 wickets each. Preston at least secured 10 points for their efforts.