Aussie piles on the runs in tame draw

AUSSIE Anthony Pratt struck an unbeaten century as Knebworth Park dominated their HCPL Division Two East rain-affected match at Hoddesdon. The constant showers did not allow any action in the morning and play started just before 2pm, with Hoddesdon winnin

AUSSIE Anthony Pratt struck an unbeaten century as Knebworth Park dominated their HCPL Division Two East rain-affected match at Hoddesdon.

The constant showers did not allow any action in the morning and play started just before 2pm, with Hoddesdon winning the toss and asking Park to bat.

With a wet outfield, damp wicket and overcast conditions, a new opening partnership of Adrian Holmes and Steve Gregory survived for 40 minutes before Gregory fell.

Holmes was joined by captain Ryan Skeggs (24) and a 50-run partnership was added in the next 35 minutes.

With the score on 72-2 and half their allotted 43 overs gone, Tom Jenkins wanted to carry on from the previous week's 67 but fell second ball for nought.

Pratt took charge and his fifty came off 37 deliveries and ended the innings 100no off 69 balls.

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In between that, Holmes (44) and under-16 Phil Simpson's 37 off 32 deliveries gave great support as Park ended their 43 overs with 241-6.

The playing regulations allotted 35 overs to Hoddesdon in reply and the opening partnership of Rhys Wynne and Jamie Curtis was broken in the first over by Chris Brook.

Curtis was caught in the slips by Pratt for nought but that was possibly the only scare Hoddesdon had as the pitch continued to play well and they seemed content to bat for the draw.

Knebworth tried six different bowlers, none of whom really threatened.

Wynne (16) fell to Pratt, while Matt Harris (29) knocked a terrible shot back to the same bowler and Rory Coutts, top scoring with 56, was caught on the boundary by Tony Skeggs off the penultimate ball of the match, again off Pratt (3-43 off 14 overs).

Jamie Balkham offered support to Coutts, finishing 39no, as Hoddesdon achieved the draw with 154-4 and remain just above the relegation zone with Knebworth propping up the table.

* Adam Sergeant took an amazing 5-8 to destroy Old Finchleians and keep alive the second team's outside chances of promotion from Saracens Herts League Division Two.

The start was delayed by hour and Old Finchleians won the toss and surprisingly decided to bat on a wet wicket.

Paul Slade made early inroads by taking three of the first four wickets, while Nick Simpson took the other.

Sergeant started with a wicket in his first over and bowled brilliantly in his 10-over spell.

Tom Hemingway picked up the other wicket as the away side were bowled out for 75 in 31 overs.

Hemingway (28no) and Rob Murphy put on 69 for the first wicket before Murphy was run out for 36 as Park got home by nine wickets.

* The thirds continued their winning ways with victory over Old Millhillians 2nds in a close game.

Mark Turner top scored with 41 on an unusually lively track as Park reached 164-8 from their 53 overs.

Millhillians were 80-5 at one stage with Steve Holmes (3-30) and Bill Martin (4-26) finishing the job to bowl out the home side for 150.

* The fourth team lost a crunch match against fellow promotion-chasers Rickmansworth 2nds.

Graham Martin (28), Bret Painter (53) and under-15 James Leather took the Park to 154 all out. But in spite of Nathan Rose's 3-37, the home side edged home by five wickets as the Park struggled to bowl with the wet ball in the difficult conditions.

* A blend of youth and experience saw the fifths lose narrowly to Baldock 2nds.

Opener Mark Woods made a quick 54 and stand-in captain Mark Folwell 117 - his maiden league century and highest ever score - and they were well supported by youngsters Jas Chana, Conor Alderman and club coach Graham Rose in getting to 236 all out in 38 overs.

Alderman (2-81 from 23 overs) bowled well with no luck, while Chana (1-17 in eight overs) and Folwell (2-33) could not stop Baldock winning by two wickets with four overs to spare.

* The sixths continued their astonishing climb out of what looked an impossible position at the foot of Division 12.

Their seemingly hopeless cause has seen them win five out of the last six games with their latest victory coming at Wormley 3rds.

An indifferent batting display saw them finish on 110 all out, Alex Axon - the youngest ever Park player to play league cricket - reaching double figures and Andy Page (28no) and Eddie Large adding 35 for the last wicket.

Man of the match Page bagged 4-18, including a crucial caught and bowled, to dismiss the home side for only 64.

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