Jenkins hits half century
HERTS showed all the battling qualities they have been concentrating on developing this season but just missed out on victory in a tense finish to their last game in the Minor Counties One Day Trophy against Buckinghamshire at North Mymms on Sunday. The d
HERTS showed all the battling qualities they have been concentrating on developing this season but just missed out on victory in a tense finish to their last game in the Minor Counties One Day Trophy against Buckinghamshire at North Mymms on Sunday.
The defeat meant they finished the group stage with one win and three losses, but also the clear and frustrating feeling that they could and should have won every match.
Herts captain Andy Lewis, leading the team on his home ground. It was the first time the county had ever played at the picturesque venue, and he was awarded his county cap by chairman Alistair Buchanan between innings, when Herts knew they had a real fight on their hands having made 219-8 in their 50 overs.
Lewis won the toss and decided to bat on a slow pitch which looked likely to offer help to the spinners as the game went on.
However, with West Herts skipper Matt Smith ruled out with a knee injury, Herts were weaker than normal in that department.
With the mainstay of the batting line-up, David Ward, not available the game presented a golden opportunity for others.
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Hertford's Steve Cordingley and Spencer Fan of West Herts opened, but Fan fell to a neat catch in the gully with the score on 23 in the eighth over. Steve Lowe, of Radlett, who has been in wonderful form in this competition with half centuries in each of the games, again looked imperious. He and Cordingley started to lift the rate until Bucks brought on former Herts all-rounder Owen Dawkins, who took all the pace off the ball to use the slow pitch to its best effect.
Cordingley, who had made a fine 44, tried one sweep shot too many and top-edged to short fine leg. Seven balls later, Lowe fell when he miscued a drive and found only deep mid-off to leave Herts on 82-3 after 21 overs. That meant Herts had to retrench just when they wanted to accelerate.
Tom Jenkins, Knebworth Park's 21-year-old wicket keeper-batsman and Ben Frazer, the Welwyn Garden City all-rounder, worked extremely hard to keep Herts on course for a competitive total, picking out the gaps in the field, chipping, chasing and running hard before Frazer went to a thin edge behind with the score on 137.
With Jenkins playing the pivotal role, Herts tried to up the rate towards the end of the innings. Jenkins made a richly deserved half-century, before perishing trying for a boundary in the closing overs.
Aaron Laraman and Simon White, both of Welwyn Garden City, struck hard and ran well, with White ending on 29 not out, as Herts eventually made 219-8.
Bucks, with former England all-rounder Keith Medlycott opening the batting, got off to a smooth start against Laraman and David Moore of Hitchin, as Herts, with just Ben Frazer as a front-line spinner, tried to keep their best weapon for when he would matter most.
Bucks were on 88 after 21 overs when White was brought into the attack, and he struck immediately, having Medlycott leg before. Tony Skeggs, of Knebworth Park struck in the next over and then White removed Bucks' other opener in his next over to make the score 94-3. Herts then tightened the screw dramatically, so that after 30 overs the score was just 128-3.
Frazer then came on and claimed the fourth wicket to raise Herts' hopes dramatically. He was joined by the occasional leg-spin of Lowe, but Paul Atkins, the Bucks skipper and former Surrey player, and Dawkins kept the target just about in sight.
Lowe had a massive appeal for leg-before against Atkins turned down and then Potters Bar captain Lenny Cooper bowled Dawkins to bring an exciting finish in sight with Bucks on 196-5 and four overs left.
The target eventually became 12 runs off two overs and five off the last, which was bowled by White.
Herts thought they had struck a crucial blow by running out Atkins with a direct hit from Frazer off the first ball of the 50th over, but he survived to hit the winning runs through midwicket off the penultimate ball.