Preston and Knebworth Park through to regional final of National Village Cup
- Credit: GEORGE CONSTANTINIDI
Preston and Knebworth Park will battle it out to see who is the sole survivor from the Beds & Herts group of the National Village Cup.
The pair each won their regional semi-final on Sunday to set-up the June 6 clash, the last before the national rounds.
Park won through with a 16-run success at home to Northchurch.
The hosts had to work hard to reach 138 all out in a game that was reduced to 29 overs per side.
Openers Kobie Richmond and skipper Adam Sergeant fell cheaply before Charlie Randall's 35 and 26 from Archie Stephens lifted them to 60-2 in a vital stand of 47.
Wickets continued to fall regularly, but Ben Parkash held the lower order together with a bold innings of 26 not out on his first team debut.
He also took a valuable 1-18 with his off-spin as Knebworth restricted the visitors to 122-8.
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Northchurch though were looking good at 79-2 with eight overs remaining but three quick wickets fell for just two runs and three wickets from Alex Richmond was enough to wrestle the win away.
Another standout feature of the victory was Park's fielding, Matt Inman's electric pace in particular saved countless runs.
Preston meanwhile overcame Sawbridgeworth by seven wickets.
Preston won the toss on a grey and murky day and decided to make the most of the conditions by bowling first.
It proved pivotal as 2-17 from Casey Walker removed Owen Groves and Jack Timms in his first two overs.
Things then got even better as Oliver Gallimore got in on the act with 2-24, leaving Sawbridgeworth 12-4 before the heavens opened.
That reduced the game to 31 overs each and Sawbridgeworth rebuilt to get to 127-8. Tim Collins though finished with Preston's best bowling figures with 3-34.
The reply though was wrapped up quickly after Preston started with real intent.
The winning runs came in the 24th overs as openers Phil Simpson (35) and Peter Murrell (28) posted 62 in 10 overs before George Biggs (24*) and Daniel Plumb (17) finished things off.
Neither side's first team was able to get a positive result on Saturday in the Herts Cricket League, both matches being cancelled because of rain but Preston's seconds did play, beating Bushey to continue their perfect start to the Division Six B.
The eight-wicket success came with three wickets for Ashley Catlin and two each for Mark Waters and David Fleckney, Bushey all out for 97.
William Gallimore (39*) and the returning Jack Stevens (25*) looked in sublime form as Preston eased to the win.
Baldock meanwhile made it two wins on the bounce by beating Luton Town & Indians at Avenue Park.
The put the visitors in first and two wickets each in the seamer's paradise for James Rist, Alistair Jones and Adam Hewitt gave them an excellent start before the returning Tim Dean took 4-3 in four overs to leave Luton all out for 44.
The chase took just 15 overs with Baldock having six wickets in hand.
The fourths meanwhile played a friendly against Hitchin and although the rain brought a premature end, Mark Hollis was able to take his first wicket for the club.