Hitchin win nailbiting match, Knebworth Park hold out for a draw

Hitchin won another nailbiter at Lucas Lane, squeezing home by one wicket with an over to spare against Totteridge Millhillians. On a warm afternoon, the visitors won the toss and elected to bat first. At 62-0 things looked menacing but this soon became 7

Hitchin won another nailbiter at Lucas Lane, squeezing home by one wicket with an over to spare against Totteridge Millhillians.

On a warm afternoon, the visitors won the toss and elected to bat first.

At 62-0 things looked menacing but this soon became 79-3 thanks to Dave Moore who was bowling superbly from the Barleycorn End. Then a run out from Steven Flint made it 105-4 and the innings was in the balance.

Hitchin slowed the run rate right down and put them under real pressure and Moore kept taking wickets which slowed them down even more. They were eventually all out in the 51st over for 193 giving Hitchin a crucial extra two overs to bat, Moore finishing with excellent figures of 7-67.


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In reply, Atul Ranade struck four quick boundaries and after five overs they were 32-0.

But then Ranade (21) and Craig Millwood (14) both fell leg before and Jimmy Lewis (34) was caught and bowled and the run rate slowed.

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At the drinks break, 25 overs had been bowled and the score was on 104-4. Disaster soon as two quick wickets fell with the home side now in trouble but they had plenty of overs left so the required run rate was achieveable.

A brilliant partnership of 59 between Will Pugh and Devon Woolley got Hitchin back in the game. With 21 needed for victory, Woolley was bowled for 16 and with 13 needed, Pugh was caught on the deep square leg boundary for an excellent 62.

Simon Bayston and Flint took the score to 187 before Flint was dismissed leg before, so with six runs needed for victory and only one wicket remaining it was left to Bayston and Moore to see it home.

Their nervous team-mates looked on from the pavilion having been in this situation for their previous two home matches.

A couple of singles meant four was needed off seven balls and with the last ball of the penultimate over, Moore swung and missed and so did the wicketkeeper and the four byes won the game and 30 points for Hitchin.

Knebworth Park had to settle for a draw with the last pair at the wicket after making a bold run chase away to Berkhamsted.

With captain Tony Skeggs absent through injury, it was up to coach Jarrod Turner to direct events. After winning the toss and asking Berkhamsted to bat, Chris Brook was soon among the wickets. In his second over, he produced the chance for wicketkeeper and first team debutant Louis Champion to take a straightforward catch, sending Nick Seagrave back for a duck.

Brook's 12-over spell had Berkhamsted 54-3 by the 20th over before Gareth Parker-Jones and Mark Herring had different, but equally effective approaches to steady and build an innings for the home team.

Left-handed Herring blasted his way to 50 off only 39 deliveries, including two sixes and eight fours, before attempting another big hit and being caught close to the boundary by Phil Simpson off the bowling of Charlie Randall.

Parker-Jones in contrast batted steadily for his 50, taking 77 deliveries, but still falling to Randall for 64.

With the score on 157-5, Doug Foster's 37no pushed the score way past the 200 mark. The innings finished on a very competitive 235-8. Brook (3-37) was the pick of the bowling, with great support from Randall (2-33).

The opening partnership of stand-in skipper Turner and Steve Gregory set another season best with a stand of 80. Turner passed his 50 from only 36 deliveries, but it was Gregory (25) who was the first to fall, bowled by Foster.

Foster continued his good day, when he had Turner (66) caught on the boundary, and then Ryan Skeggs trapped leg before with consecutive balls, Park 95-3.

The Knebworth middle order tried to push along for the victory, but none of them really got going, Phil Simpson (20) and Sam McCrow (19), working around Adrian Holmes, anchoring the innings with his first 50 of the season.

When Holmes and then Randall fell to consecutive balls from Darren Gerrard, in the 45th over, it gave Berkhamsted a sight of the 30 points. Then when Brook found himself on the receiving end of a spectacular catch by Dave Smith off Darren James' bowling, Park were 203-9, with Berkhamsted all gathered around the bat for the final over and hopefully, victory.

However, Champion never looked in trouble and showed his batting credentials as well to see Knebworth through to a draw.

* Knebworth Park seconds lost by only two wickets in a thrilling last-over finish where either side could have won.

Opponents Welwyn Garden City secured victory off the final ball of the match with a four hit to wide long-on.

Park were struggling at 138-7 with 13 overs remaining despite Alex Richmond's 43.

Under-16 Matt Hutchinson, recently promoted from the third team, reached 50no in the last over and with support from Ed Wright (26no), a total of 215-7 was posted. An explosive start from Welwyn GC saw them hit 67 off the first eight overs, but progress soon slowed as Shaun Robinson (4-57), Sandy Reynolds and Graham Fisher pegged the away team back.

The fourths picked up their second win of the season against Elstree.

Park were 76-6 before Jack Thorn (69) helped post a total of 178 off 42 overs. Elstree put on 47 before Stuart Dempsey got the first of his eight wickets. Dempsey finished with figures of 8-14 off 9.2 overs to dismiss Elstree for just 79 - all 10 wickets falling for only 32 runs.

Dave Murphy took amazing figures of 9-27 in 15 overs to win a close-fought match against near neighbours Codicote.

Codicote opener Luke Richards scored 40 before Murphy was denied all 10 wickets when under-15 Tom Elliott snatched the last wicket.

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