Cousins is a cool customer for Ickleford

A superb unbeaten 90 from Ian Cousins was one of the highlights of Ickleford s first victory of the year in the Saracens Herts League Division Three. After winning the toss, Ickleford, with a strong batting side, asked Broxbourne to bat on a placid pitch

A superb unbeaten 90 from Ian Cousins was one of the highlights of Ickleford's first victory of the year in the Saracens Herts League Division Three.

After winning the toss, Ickleford, with a strong batting side, asked Broxbourne to bat on a placid pitch - opting to restrict the opposition and chase.

The decision looked a good one when with the score on just five, Kevin Francis took on a suicidal run to mid on and was comfortably run out by Steve Munnery.

After a brief recovery, Broxbourne found themselves on the ropes after skipper Duncan Jenner introduced himself into the bowling attack.


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Jenner struck three times in quick succession to remove the rest of the top four for just 46, and vice-captain Tom Reilly was soon in on the act, to leave Broxbourne reeling on 55-5.

The middle and lower order offered far more resistance, with Ben Rosser leading the recovery.

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Reilly popped up to break the partnership followed by a wicket from James Robinson to leave the visitors 121-7 and two more wickets from Reilly - on his way to excellent figures of 4-46 from 21 miserly overs - left Broxbourne 148-9.

A resilient 10th wicket partnership, the best of the innings, put on 52 to leave Broxbourne on exactly 200.

Ickleford's response started brightly, with Jenner and Cousins taking the score to 42 before Jenner nibbled to slip.

After Ben Mason departed with the score on 76, a short wobble in the innings gave Broxbourne some encouragement, with Robinson, Mark Schumann and Reilly all departing for single figure scores and causing some nervousness in the home dressing room at 93-5.

Keeper Richard Brown followed up his three catches with a typically belligerent counter attack, clubbing 23 runs off as many balls, while at the other end, Cousins was quietly accumulating, with typical strength through extra cover.

When Brown departed at 132-6, nearly 70 runs were still needed at a rate of six an over.

Aussie Heath Wheatley joined Cousins at the crease and played a superbly judged innings, releasing the pressure from Cousins.

With the strike rotating well, aided by some welcome occasional boundaries, the pair gradually brought the required rate down.

They were able to find the four runs needed from the final over with Cousins unbeaten on 90 and Wheatley 34no.

Ickleford are celebrating a 90-point weekend as the second and third teams also both won.

The seconds played on a slow Parkfield wicket and the hosts were indebted to late resistance to post 132.

Rob Horner was the pick of the bowlers with 5-27 from 11 overs, while Nick Webb (3-23) and Scott Crouch (2-22) offered good support.

A second wicket stand of 52 between Kevin Shinner (36) and Dave Pursey put Ickleford in control. Pursey's unbeaten 51 continued his rich vein of form as Ickleford won by seven wickets.

The thirds beat Bentley Heath seconds by 75 runs. Ickleford recovered from 10-2 to post 173 primarily due to Dan Eldrett (44), Joe Wellstead (41) and Tom Walker (30).

Roy Izzard (3-26) took three quick wickets to reduce Bentley Heath to 22-4. Other good spells from John Ross (3-25) and Walker (2-24) saw Bentley Heath dismissed for 98.

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