Knebworth Park 168 all out, Ickleford 170-2
Knebworth Park suffered a comprehensive defeat at the hands of Ickleford to slip into the relegation zone for the first time this season in the Saracens Herts League Division One. It was the first time they’d lost to them in their four meetings over the last two seasons.
Their batting never gained the upper hand, with all but two of the first ten batsmen getting good starts and reaching double figures without progressing to get the big score that was needed to set a challenging total in the face of a controlled and disciplined bowling performance from Ickleford.
The result was that their total of 168 all out wasn’t enough to pressure the home team.
After the early loss of Mo Asif for 0, Adam Sergeant (24) and Ryan Skeggs (24) were both going well before they fell in successive overs just when both looked poised to press on to a big score.
Tariq Umair (10) and Wasim Khalid (13) were rebuilding before both of them and Charlie Randall all went in rapid succession leaving the innings in tatters at 76 for 6.
It was credit to the lower order which fought back through a patient 20 from Mason Tewkesbury and aggressive hitting from Matt Hutchinson (22), Guy Warman (19) and Lewis Hutchinson (19).
The Park needed an early breakthrough to apply any pressure but Ickleford sedately built a match-winning foundation in spite of fiery 0 for 10 in five overs from Randall.
While Ally Munn grafted for an excellent 48, the hard-hitting Dillon Smit (24) fell to Wasim Khalid’s first over, to mark a promising debut with 1 for 28 his eight overs.
But they were the only wickets to fall as Eswar Krishnamurthy (42 not out) and Matt Baxter (36 not out) led them home to victory with 170 for 2.
KPCC II 268 all out, Hatfield Hyde 269-6
The Seconds wasted a commanding position against one of the weakest bowling outfits they will face all season as they lost to Hatfield Hyde in a thrilling encounter at the Park.
Jono Evetts’ men were looking at a score of 300-plus as they cruised to 224-4 with 12 overs still to go before a late-order slump saw them finish tamely on 268 all out with more than three overs left.
Then, some profligate bowling in the first 12 overs allowed the visitors to get away to a rollicking eight runs an over start.
Finally, the Park slow bowlers gained some control to make sure Hatfield had to work much harder for their runs.
But the Park’s disappointing day was summed up when the winning run came in the 49th over from a gentle mishit which two Park fielders left to each other and the ball landed tamely between them.
Earlier, Evetts won the toss and decided to make first use of a flat pitch on a baking hot day.
The Park innings began with a bizarre run out of opener Hayden Bartlett-Tasker and but skipper Jono Evetts was in fine form in going on to make a fluent 70 before lamely chipping the ball to long on and wasting the chance of another big score.
At the other end, Ian Pickering held the innings together helped by a bright cameo from Rob Morley, who made 25, and Archie Stephens’ 22.
The Hatfield attack was, to say the least, tepid, as their slow bowlers sent down half-tracker after half-tracker, which became strangely effective as the ball sat down and proved wearyingly difficult to get away.
Another short, low one accounted for Pickering who hoicked to square leg for 76 with the score on 224.
From there, the rest of the batsmen failed to get going and the chance of a huge total went begging.
In reply, the Park seamers were either too full or wayward and it was not until the 12th over that the first wicket fell thanks to a fine diving catch at mid-off from Ollie O’Brien.
Park slow bowlers Graham Fisher, Bartlett-Tasker and Pickering brought the scoring rate under control and with ten overs left Hatfield still needed the best part of five an over.
Pickering pulled off a smart run out, flicking a ball smashed back at him on to the stumps, to keep up the pressure.
But the Hatfield batsmen kept their heads, running well and striking the odd boundary to stay on top of the rate.
Another 20 runs would have made all the difference but it was not to be, with Hatfield scampering the winning run as the game ending in farcical
KPCC III 218 all out, Weston 219-4
The Thirds resigned themselves to relegation as, despite an improved performance with the bat, they failed to beat Weston to leave them nearly 100 points from safety with only 120 points left to play for.
After winning the toss and electing to bat, it was a familiar story for Park as despite several batsman getting starts, they quickly fell to 87-7.
One batsman who had managed to put up some resistance though was Matt Inman and, when Richard Jones joined him at the crease, they combined to put on 88 for the eighth wicket before Jones fell for 29 having helped take the score up to 175.
Inman was already well past 50 and continued to accumulate runs but, unfortunately, the remaining batsman were unable to support him as he was left stranded on 95 not out when the Park were dismissed for 218 in the 45th over.
Despite the competitive score, an excellent batting wicket meant Park were unable to make any significant inroads into the Weston top order as they cruised to their target in the 41st over for the loss of just four wickets. Karl Padalia (2-39), Kunal Sharma (1-36) and Danny Digweed (1-21) the only men to strike.
Little Missenden 175-8, Knebworth Park IV 142 all out
With Cheshunt conceding the league fixture, the Park’s Fourths travelled to Little Missenden to play a friendly against Northwood IVs and contested well throughout before going down by 33 runs.
On a pitch with slightly variable bounce, the opening pair of James Roos (1-38) and Bella Hopcraft (3-37), kept things under control, aided by a good catch by John Inman.
Their efforts were followed up with David Mantle miserly spell of 0 for 16.
The Northwood middle order played well enough to build a decent partnership but slow bowlers Catherine Cirkel (2 for 32), assisted by a terrific catch from Richard Wheeler, and Inman (0 for 15) made them struggle to time the ball and they closed on 175-8 off their 40 overs.
In reply, Knebworth made a good fist of the chase. After a healthy start by Phil Wheeler (14) and skipper Jonathan Cirkel (21), John Inman with a resolute 42 kept The Park in the game and was well supported by Amelia Kemp 1(8 )who batted sensibly with a good straight bat in partnership of 60 that gave a glimmer of victory before Inman’s excellent innings came to an end.
Mantle and Catherine Cirkel struck a few lusty blows at the end but they were finally all out for 142.