Three out of four wins make it a great finish
Charlie’s gritty innings sets up 10th win
The 1sts ended their season in much the same vein as the rest, by winning.Their 52-run defeat of Potters Bar 2nds was the tenth of the season which confirmed third place in Saracens Herts League 2B.
Losing only three all season in most other divisions would have secured promotion, but rain robbed them of three matches against the top two and one against the bottom team.
Taking a leaf out of Ben Stokes book skipper Matt Hutchinson, saying, ‘We want to make a game of it’, bravely chose to bat first on a wicket still a tad moist after Friday morning’s rain and was sure to favour bowlers early on. And how that was the case, making life tough for his early batters.
Josh Roseberry fell in the first over for 0 and Louis Champion, looking in good form, got one that popped to fall for 9.Charlie Randall 63 led a recovery with Haydon Bartlett Tasker 26, withstanding a testing period to form the basis for a big score. As the surface settled to be good for batting, Archie Stephens 66 and Kobie Richmond 43 piled on a 92-run stand. Hutchinson then whacked 32 off only 13 balls including a volley of sixes to end 275 all out.
Potters Bar made a good fist of the run chase and while Dan Millard 81 was at the crease were in the hunt, and at 213 for 4 they were right there until Amelia Kemp 3 for 36 had him caught. Kobie Richmond produced his best of the season with 2 for 34 and his dad Alex 2 for 30 dented as they restricted the visitors run chase and were eventually dismissed for 223.
Indeed skipper Hutchinson had made it into an entertaining game for the watching spectators and to finish a successful season.
Phew! 2s clinch vital thriller
The seconds clinched a thrilling one wicket win at Old Finchelians. It was a vital success as it meant they finished one off the bottom of Division 6B to avoid being relegated two divisions.
After bowling out the home side for 149, they were cruising to a seemingly easy win at 108 for 1 for only then to suffer a procession of wickets as they slumped to 139 for 9.County Under 14 all rounder George Nevill then proved the saviour with 12 not out to get them over the line while last man skipper Graham Fisher at the other end held firm with 1 not out.
Knebworth entered the game with a much stronger team thanks to good availability which hadn’t been the case for much of the season. Park won the toss and asked Old Finchleians to bat. An aggressive remarkable opening spell by Neils Hart of 2 for 7 in 10 overs, backed up by Nevill (1-17), Jack Randall (2-34) and Graham Fisher (2-17) restricted Finchs to around two an over for 25 overs. Adam Sergeant (2-34) then helped to make runs hard to get and at 40 overs were 100 for 7. They recovered in the last 10 overs with the last wicket falling off of the last ball for 149.
Park’s innings started strongly with an opening partnership of 74 between Adam Sergeant and Danny Digweed before an exhausted Danny was stumped on 39. Adam and Mark Woods 13 continued to score runs before Woods fell at 108 for 1. Wickets then fell at a rapid rate including Sergeant for a fine innings for 51 and when the eighth wicket went Park had only reached 123.Neils Hart and Nevill got it up to 139 leaving 11 runs required at a run an over before the drama of the last wicket success to claim their first win since 10 June and with Hertford beating Letchworth moved off bottom place.
3s make it three in a row
The thirds made it three wins in succession to finish in mid table after beating Hertford 4ths by 20 runs.
Park struggled early on at 10-2 after 10 overs. Father and Son combination of Ian (23) and Trent Hildebrandt (21) lifted them to 48- 4 to provide a platform, both falling just before drinks.After the break Rob Slack led the recovery with Jonathan Cirkel (14), Ryan Ellis (22) and Nick Pain (36 not out), before he was eventually bowled for a priceless 48 for a total of 179 for 7.
Hertford started well as the first wicket put on 56 effortlessly. On a day dependent on results elsewhere Park could finish anything from middle table to possible relegation things were getting a bit interesting.Just before drinks ‘cometh the hour cometh the man’ and on came player of the season Richard Wheeler to remove two of the top three in a great spell of 3 for 32.
Iain Hildebrand’s tight spell along with Louis Hobbs’s second spell pushed them behind the run rate. Trent Hildebrandt, 2 for 7, replaced his father only to take two wickets in two balls and leave Hertford languishing further on 155-9 at the close. The bowlers were backed by two catches and a stumping by keeper Pain as the bowlers applied pressure on the Hertford batsmen.
It was a perfect finish when Drew Myles bowled the final over of the day to ensure a 24 run win, having bowled the first over of the opening game of the season back in May.
4s so close to clinching clean sweep
The fourths narrowly failed to make it a clean sweep of wins as they lost by two wickets away to Potton 2nds.
On a damp surface Kezia Hassell (31) and Ryan Loonan (28) held the innings together and a quickfire 20 from Jack Matthews at the end took the Park to 147.
Potton’s openers began aggressively before experienced pair Ian Murrill (1-38) and Dave Mantle (2-22) tightened things up, and an excellent bit of glovework from David Lightning for a leg side stumping helped to wrestle back a little bit of control. Spinners Finn Hobbs (3-19) and Kezia Hassell (2-30) produced a flurry of wickets leaving just two more to win, but Potton’s opener Sam Wurthington carried his bat for an unbeaten 87 and ticked off the final runs to secured a win.
A shame not to end on a win but a competitive game against a team which had only two losses all season highlights the promise for next season.