Knebworth Park slumped to a second consecutive defeat on Saturday, being well beaten at home by Reed. Far from bouncing back from defeat to West Herts, Knebworth failed to learn the lessons of the prior week and again came up short when chasing.
Following a heavy downpour shortly before the start of the match, Knebworth won the toss and decided to put the opposition in to bat. Knebworth’s first chance to get on the board came in the fifth over when James Leather found the edge of the opening batsman but the catch was put down in the slips.
Skipper Charlie Randall, returning to new ball duties, soon picked up the opening wicket, finding the top edge of the batsman on the way through to keeper Benji Cowell.
Randall then picked up his second wicket, trapping the No.3 batsman on the back pad in front of the stumps, leaving Reed around 40-2.
Shaun Robinson then joined in on the act, extracting some sharp bounce from a good length. Robinson found the shoulder of the bat and the ball lobbed to gully, where Richard Leather took that catch.
After Randall had picked up a third wicket, it was the Robinson-Leather combination that struck again, via a deflection off Benji Cowell.
At this point Knebworth were in the driving seat and wanted to keep their foot on the accelerator.
Parth Patel was introduced into the attack at the end of Randall’s long spell and he immediately got among the wickets.
Patel had men caught at mid-off, mid-on and, following a brief counter attack from the Reed lower order, another man went caught at cover.
Patel’s variation of his pace and flight was impressive, as he drew the Reed batsmen into false shots. Knebworth had Reed well and truly on the back foot and were looking to wrap up the last two wickets quickly.
Leg-spinner Jason Timm picked up one of them after a small partnership, having the No.9 caught at long-on.
However, Knebworth failed to take the last wicket and the Reed captain, restricted to batting at No.10 by injury, led the last-ditch fight back.
After patiently accumulating for a number of overs, Heslem took advantage of some poor bowling and fielding in the last five overs.
Having been dropped at long-off, he hit a string of boundaries to reach his half-century off the last ball of the innings, taking Reed’s score up to 191.
Knebworth were understandably frustrated and their mood did not improve when they lost openers Phil Simpson and Richard Leather in quick succession.
Simpson was guilty of hanging his bat at a back of the length delivery, chopping the ball onto the stumps, whilst Leather will consider himself slightly unlucky as the ball shot through from a similar length and he was struck in front mid-pull shot.
The Park soon found themselves in deeper trouble as Roseberry and Randall fell in consecutive deliveries to the impressive Reed opener Tidey.
Parth Patel at the other end was batting patiently, putting away the bad ball and leaving as much as he could on a pitch that was offering the bowlers enough to keep them interested.
However, Patel was running out of partners as Cowell fell for three and, then after a brief partnership, Robinson was trapped LBW for 15.
Luke Chapman also offered some resistance, taking advantage of some attacking fielding positions to make a quick 20, before being bowled.
Patel’s fight was eventually ended when he was strangled down the leg-side for 44. Jason Timm followed soon after and Knebworth’s innings was brought to an end for a disappointing 103.
After suffering two emphatic defeats in a row, Knebworth will have to pick themselves up for the visit of Langlebury next week. The Park were guilty once again of not finishing the job with the ball and then losing wickets in clusters when chasing.