Frustrating season draws to a close for Herts cricketers
A rain-affected draw illuminated by a performance of rare brilliance was a peculiarly fitting way for Hertfordshire to bring a season which promised much but which was ultimately deeply frustrating to a close. Another nearly season, is how the captain,
A rain-affected draw illuminated by a performance of rare brilliance was a peculiarly fitting way for Hertfordshire to bring a season which promised much but which was ultimately deeply frustrating to a close.
"Another nearly season," is how the captain, Andy Lewis of North Mymms, described it.
A summer with the Four Counties Twenty20 victory, one one-day win and none in the Championship season has been exactly that.
"We have played some great sessions but sessions alone don't win games," continued Lewis.
"We need to be more consistent across whole days in order to show off the real talent that is now in the squad.
"We have often been the better side, but that has not been shown in our poor results.
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"They could have been so different as we got into winning positions in at least four games but failed to follow through for victories."
That was never really the case in Herts' last game, a three-day Championship match against Cumberland in Keswick.
The first two days were lost to rain and there was much debate before day three got under way, with the captains unable to agree whether the outfield and surrounds were fit for play.
In the end they settled on a one-innings game, with Herts batting.
Steve Cordingley, the Hertford opening bat, unveiled an innings that will go down as one of the highlights of the season, a career best 155.
"It really was a delight to watch," said skipper Lewis.
Cordingley brought up his fifty with 11 fours and one six and played exceptionally well. With wickets falling at the other end, this was a good thing.
Debutant Gary Brown, the teenage Stevenage batsman, batting at five, played sensibly, mixing attack with caution, and the returning Harpenden batsman Gregg Cooper also did well.
But the experienced players in the middle order were not so successful.
Simon White of Welwyn GC and Tom Jenkins of Knebworth Park put on an eighth wicket stand of 44 before Lewis declared on 298-8 with an hour and 20 minutes and 17 overs left.
Spinners Steve Coleman of Hoddesdon, who extracted turn and bounce and took two wickets, and Ben Frazer of Welwyn GC, bowled in tandem before the game was declared a draw at 6pm with Cumberland on 81-3.
Which left Lewis looking towards next season already.
"We have built a more professional outfit, and this has been due to the introduction of Aaron Laraman as coach, who has showed what a bit of hard work and practice can do to a team.
"Individual game plans and talking about our own games can really help us improve.
"There's a lot of experience in the squad and I urge everyone to talk more, ask more questions and listen to those who have played the game longer.
"The positives for me, not really wishing to name names, have been the batting of Steve Cordingley, who has been consistent in the Championship, the bowling of Ben Frazer, who took 21 wickets and Nick Lamb scoring his maiden century.
"In the one-day arena I must mention Stephen Lowe, who scored three fifties out of the four games he played."
And his winter mission? "We must reflect on where we went wrong and think hard on how we improve individually so that as a team we can be better and stronger.
"We need to find a winning formula for next season.