Stevens shines as Preston record vital victory in relegation dogfight
- Credit: GEORGE CONSTANTINIDI
A magnificent innings from James Stevens guided Preston to what could yet be a hugely significant win over Langleybury.
He went from strength to strength on his way to 93, and with Casey Walker chipping in with 3-25, Preston won by 68 runs and moved above their hosts and out of the bottom two in the Herts Cricket League Championship.
There were other valuable contributions too. With a point to prove, Preston's middle order responded with important cameos from Ben Hill (20), Callum Henderson (19) and Jack Morecroft (29) and Stevens' brother Jack also added 29.
And after Walker's vital early wickets, Peter Murrell (3-38) and Max Anderson (3-44) helped Preston to the win with only 15 minutes left of the timed contest.
Letchworth though remain bottom after a 69-run loss at home to Shenley Village.
David Sprittles and Sarbjit Chahal both scored 51 but they ran out of wickets before the time limit expired.
Preston seconds maintained their 71-point lead at the top of Division Six A with their 10th win of the season, this one by six wickets over Hemel Hempstead.
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Ashley Catlin (3-17) and David Fleckney (3-15) did the damage early on before youngsters Tom Chambers (29) and Olly Catlin (23) guided them home in the 16th over.
The thirds also won, beating Great Gaddesden by 66 runs with 43 from Pushan Chakroborty, 45 for James Skirrow and Joe Clark's 3-30.
Hitchin's lead at the top of Division One has been cut from 39 points to 19 after their derby game at home to Ickleford was cancelled, two of their players contracting COVID-19 and others needing to isolate.
Hitchin’s other Saturday teams though all won with the highlight being a 10-wicket win for the fourths against Tewin.
They bowled them out for 78 with Martin Stout bowling maidens in five of his eight overs on his way to 2-6.
Ickleford's fourth team also had to cancel because of COVID-19 protocols but the second and third teams both produced excellent victories.
The twos thumped Division Five A leaders Old Camdenians by nine wickets thanks to a stunning opening spell from 14-year-old Leo Mason.
He took five wickets, including a hat trick, as Camden got to 94, a huge recovery from 11-7.
But that was never going to be enough and Charlie Jupp's unbeaten 39, supported by Eswar Krishnamurthy and Tom Reilly, saw Ickleford home.
The third team's win over Hertingfordbury came off the final ball of the game.
Ickleford had restricted them to 153-9, James Kench the pick of the bowlers with 4-16 while Nick Webb and Archie Macintosh took two wickets each.
And Macintosh was the main reason for the successful chase, batting with maturity beyond his years as he made 49.
David Baker also made 43 but it was Archie’s father, Charlie, who finished things off, hitting a four on that final delivery to finish on 24 not out and give Ickleford the victory.