Knebworth Park’s defeat away to Hitchin on Saturday means that with one game to go they now have to win their final match and hope other results go their way to avoid relegation.
Hitchin, who are already relegated, batted first and their innings was held together by a resilient 56 from Simon Bayston in the face of accurate Park bowling. Graham Fisher took 3 for 43 despite being still troubled by an injury which has kept him out of recent matches.
Steve Flint (52 not out) and Dave Moore (24) then took the home side towards 223 for 6 as they capitalised on a number of dropped catches which could well have kept the score down.
The Park were soon in trouble as they slipped to 24 for 3. Tom Liversidge grafted for 17 before Dave Steadman (45) and Rana Arslan (37) provided hope and, with the black clouds threatening, kept them in touch with the Duckworth-Lewis run rate in the case of the game being abandoned.
Arslan who was scoring at a rapid rate was then caught off a full toss which he would normally have dispatched. But the rain didn’t arrive and once Steadman was out, they were soon all out for 155, too many falling to ambitious or poor shot selection.
The Seconds avoided relegation by taking enough points from their match at home to bottom of the table Wheathampstead but dropped a string of simple chances to ruin their chances of victory.
Gareth Jones (4-54) and a mean 1-30 from Robert Crowe were the pick of the bowlers but the visitors were able to rack up a healthy 287 for 6 as all their main scorers were missed early on.
Skipper Mark Winchester (29) and 32 apiece from Ian Pickering and Nick English took the Park on to 104 for 3, but once English was out the tail slid to defeat with 145 all out, Tom Harper (5-45) removing most of the early batsmen and Chris Martin with 4-7 demolishing the tail.
The Thirds were well beaten by high-riding Northwood II who rattled up 251 for 6, despite under-13 Dylan van der Westhuizen taking an impressive 2 for 33.
In reply they were bowled out for 119, but only after Ben Skinner hit a quickfire 35 that included three sixes.