After all the positives last week with their win against Flitwick, the 4s travelled to Hitchin 5s with a level of optimism especially after several close games between the sides over the past few years. Unfortunately, things didn’t go to plan.
After JC one the toss and elected to bowl first on what was, understandably a damp wicket, the opening bowlers of Ethan and Richard W kept the openers at bay well with only the odd loose ball being put away. However, with a good size boundary and a very slow outfield, when the opening pair found gaps they ran very well and ran many 3s.
The pair only kept the board ticking over with the score only reaching 46 in the 13th over before Moss at last fell to a good delivery from Charlotte bowling him. This seemed to be the best way to get him out after 3 catches were put down (after last-week’s excellent catching by the KPCC team) within a few balls from Richard (8-1-32-0). The first by Phil at keeper, then low by JC at slip and then low to David at Gulley. Two more edges for 4 were fortunately the only real cost to the side though before Charlotte (5-0-21-1) dismissed him. From not bowling a lot in previous seasons, Richard is proving to be a useful seamer and creating chances when he bowls
Stuart Gadsen, the Hitchin opener who often has scored well for the club did so again with him hitting the ball well, playing to his strength (particuarly taking the ball to leg) and running well. The no.3, Tom Russell and Stuart batted very well with Tom particuarly playing some text book shots. The pair continued to build the hosts total steadily and some tidy bowling from the Park. Despite a couple of expensive overs from David, he tightened up to return decent enough figures of 8-0-38-0 and with Catherine bowling consistently the other end, the board continued ticking over with 1s and 2s. Albeit Catherine’s tidy bowling (8-0-46-1) with only 1 boundary being hit in her 8 overs, it shows the importance of pushing singles into gaps with the batters rotating the strike with ease. Catherine eventually dismissed Gadsen for 92 in her 7th over with a well taken catch off her own bowling.
With the score already at 159-2 in the 33rd over, Tom could start to bat with even more freedom and he hit some lusty blows inparticuar a six from the returning Ethan (7-0-45-0). A mix up with his partner game Ethan a chance to run out the Hitchin no.4 which he did. The poor catching of the Park on the day continued with 2 much harder chances put down, the first by David high on his own bowling and the 2nd by Richard from Catherine’s. 5 missed catches by 5 different players is something we can’t do again.
Despite no more wickets to fall, it was good having Bella back from university and in the side and she bowled 4-0-27-0 which was a decent enough return with the batters playing with freedom to close out the Hitchin innings for an imposing total of 222-3.
With a run-rate of 5.5 an over from the start, the KPCC chase was always going to be a challenge. Knowing that the Hitchin innings started relatively slowely, it was not critical that big shots were played early on. Phil and Millie got the innings of to a decent steady start with Phil hitting the ball well with some early boundaries and Millie defending well and playing and running sensibly for her runs. Millie (5) was discmissed with the score on 24 in the 10th over LBW (or actually ribs before wicket) while sweeping and Phil (19) followed 2 overs later to a good catch by a forward diving square-leg. JC (0) then had his first failure of the season driving rashly to his 3rd ball to be caught behind leaving the Park’s innings in trouble at 27-3.
Lizzie and Ian kept the Hitchin bowlers toiling for another 7 overs with Lizzie, despite surviving a dropped regulation catch, playing some good looking shots but often finding the Hitchin fielders – something several of the KPCC batters managed to do compared with the Hitchin batters who found spaces well. Ian (1) fell in the 19th over (34-4) when pushing a ball to short extra bringing Charlotte to the crease to join Lizzie. The two managed to put on 10 before Lizzie (7) was well caught by the bowler Beaton to give him his 4th wicket in a very tidy and economical spell of 8-2-9-4. At this point, the game was well beyond the Park with the score on just 42 from 24 overs.
The aim really was therefore just to see through the 40 overs and the remaining batters to play some shots and have time at the crease. Charlotte was joined by Catherine and Catherine started well with her being the first of the batters really to start to find some gaps in the field and she and Charlotte running well. Unfortunately, Charlotte (4) was out to a superb low one-handed catch by the Hitchin 3rd slip to the 16 year old pacey opening bowler Adams returning for a second spell
Richard W (0) departed soon after with a speedy full toss by Adams on leg stump being left and bowling him and this brought Ethan to the crease. Ethan took the attack to Adams but the partnership with Catherine wasn’t long when the pair pushed for a 2nd run and Catherine (12) was run-out. Ethan (6) was very well caught by a with a running catch from the lad from short fine-leg sprinting round to mid-wicket, Bella (1*) survived several balls before David Mantle (0) was caught by the same player at short-fine leg giving Adams a well-deserved 4 wickets for 31.
The innings completed in the 32 over for a very disappointing 66 all out.
Although a below-par batting performance by The Park, credit must go to the Hitchin team who bowled superbly and held on to some excellent catches. As has been the case over the past few years, the game was still fun to play in with great cricketing spirit between the sides.