On what would have been the 4s first league game of the season having had the first 3 washed out, unfortunately our opponents Wheathampstead could not raise a side so a friendly against North Mymms 3s (a division up from us) was instead the fixture played on a beautiful afternoon at The Park.
Skipper Jonathan won the toss (for about the first time in 2 seasons) and despite the damp and green wicket decided to bat, giving KPCC the chance to build a score rather than the unsuccessful chases we’ve generally had.
Phil Wheeler and Richard Jones opened the innings and with extravegent amounts of movement from the seamers, it looked like choosing to bat might not have been the best idea. However, Phil and Richard made steady progress and created a firm start to the innings with the pair getting to a 45 run partnership before Phil was caught off a skyed top edge for 22 in the 15th over. John Inman joined Richard at the crease but Richard was bowled next ball. However, despite 2 quick wickets, Jonathan and John steadied the ship with both players despatching and poorer deliveries despite some excellent bowling by Mymms’ young left-arm spinner who managed to turn the ball massively and even throwing in a ball turning the other way.
It was a ‘wrong-un’ that eventually defeated John (15) as he stepped out of his crease and was stumped having been beaten by the turn. Jonathan continued to hit the bad ball while partned by Richard Wheeler who made a good 10 before being bowled by a ‘peach’ of a delivery by another of Mymms’ young bowlers – this time a seamer.
Nick (1) had a short stay with Jonathan before also being bowled by the same seamer. This brought Catherine to join her dad at the crease and she built a tidy innings hitting the ball cleanly and hard including a beautifully timed six. When Jonathan fell when trying to accelerate the innings in the 30th over just after he had reached his half-century (53), Catherine continued to bat well with her county team-mate Charlotte Banks. Charlotte (3) was very well caught, Catherine caught for a well made 27 in the 33rd over and with Ian Murrill falling shortly afterwards in the 34th over it looked like The Park might not use up their 40 overs.
However, Drew Myles and David Mantle had other ideas. Drew batted sensible with some good defence and then attack in the last couple of overs to see the Park through to the end of the 40th over when David was well caught & bowled on the last ball. Drew finishing with 11* and David 17 and Knebworth with a very respectable 218.
The North Mymms innings started with some assured batting by the young opener and the captain Dev. However, they were having to face some excellent tidy seam bowling from Charlotte (6-1-19-0) down the hill and some excellent spin from Drew up the hill. Drew beat the bat on several occasions and was very unlucky not to take a couple of wickets with edges finding gaps between slip and gulley. However, he was rewarded for his very tidy spell in his 4 over when John took a catch at extra cover.
Ian Murrill (6-0-26-1) replaced Charlotte and bowled a tidy spell including the first of Phil’s stumpings of the innings. NM had managed to get to 54 in the 17th over before this 2nd wicket fell. Drew (6-1-11-1) completed his excellent spell and was replaced by David Mantle. It was great having David back after his absence last season and the conditions were ideal for his bowling but he went wicketless despite a tidy spell (8-0-37-0)
It was John Inman though whose day it was as a bowler. The North Mymm’s young left hand no.3 batted with maturity and played some excellent shots in gradually building a good innings. John got his first innings when he bowled the Mymms no. 4 but a dangerous partnership was then built by the no.3 and no.5 pushing the score to 126 before the no.5 was very well caught on the boundary at cow-corner by Jonathan to give John his second wicket. The no. 6 and no.3 continued to push the North Mymms innings along and the no.6 hit some powerful and frequent boundaries and the no.3 survived what were a couple of run-out decisions which on review (if available) might have had a different outcome (the first when he was on 52).
Fortunately, when the no.3 eventually fell for a well made 72 it was a turning point in the innings as the next three wickets fell quickly with John getting all three, the first LBW and then bowling the next 2 in consecutive balls. This was obviously a key turning point in the 33rd over with Mymms still needing 70 from the last 7 overs. With Phil claiming another stumping and the no.11 being runout by him on the last ball of the innings, the Mymms innings closed at 194. The Park winning by 25 runs
It was a good friendly game and after 3 weeks without a game, a much needed one for everyone. It was obviously John Inman who was awarded the virtual player of the match for his superb figures of 8-0-43-6.