Preston off to flying start

Preston got off to a fine start in the Saracens Herts League Division Two thanks to a comfortable six-wicket over Old Albanian. After losing the toss and being asked to bowl first, Preston made excellent progress by restricting the visitors to 38-3 by the

Preston got off to a fine start in the Saracens Herts League Division Two thanks to a comfortable six-wicket over Old Albanian.

After losing the toss and being asked to bowl first, Preston made excellent progress by restricting the visitors to 38-3 by the 20th over.

With a below strength bowling line up, Preston were indebted to the efforts of both Indika Samaraweera (4-57 from 25.4 overs) and the evergreen Dave Allen (4-36 from 18 overs).

A combination of sensible bowling backed up by some excellent ground fielding helped Preston dismiss the old boys for 133.

The foundations for victory were laid by opener Warren Hearne and Chris Cole (23) who put on 49 for the second wicket.

The additional pace of Old A's West Indian overseas player Roy allowed Preston to score at more than four runs per over.

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A matchwinning 69-run fourth wicket partnership between Hearne (65no) and Iain Williamson (41) saw Preston coast home to victory in the 34th over.

* Ickleford secured a draw with Wheathampstead in the first league outing of the 2008 season.

After losing the toss and being asked to field, Ickleford enjoyed a tight opening period with just 50 runs coming from the first 20 overs, new ball bowlers Mark Schumann and Tom Walker leading the way.

However, after the initial pressure, the visitors were able to increase the run rate, putting on 100 runs for the second wicket.

Several sizeable partnerships soon gained the upper hand, despite a tidy and unlucky spell from Rob Horner and Steve Maylin returning 3-37, and Wheathampstead were in the driving seat.

It came as a great surprise that the visitors opted to keep batting past 250, eventually completing their entire 53-over allocation in amassing 273-7 and effectively ending the game as a contest.

The Ickleford response was measured, with Tom Reilly compiling a typically solid 51, aided by Peter Watson (22).

An aggressive innings from Richard Brown almost took Ickleford back into the run chase, but after falling for 38 from 17 balls, the home team focused on the 200-run target for maximum batting points.

Helped home by a composed 41no from Ian Cousins, this was comfortably achieved, finishing on 220-6 from 47 overs.

Ickleford seconds got off to the best possible start with a comprehensive win against Bayford and Hertford.

On a good batting surface, Bayford made 176-6 in their 53 overs. Dan Watson was the pick of the bowlers with an economical spell of 2-22 in 11 overs, while Scott Crouch and Joe Lockyer also took two wickets.

In reply a partnership of 115 between Dave Pursey (56) and Kevin Shinner (74no) for the second wicket laid the base for a comfortable six-wicket win. Both showed their experience and looked in good form.

* Datchworth lost a low-scoring match in Division Five.

Northwood seconds batted first and accurate bowling from Steve Stroomer (2-68), Matt Budd (1-17) and Steve Nash (4-28) saw the visitors struggle to 135 all out from 51.5 overs.

The villagers started their chase badly with new captain John Wells falling for just six in the second over.

Datchworth were 56-4 but Budd dug in and ground out 42 before being bowled.

Wickets continued to fall and although Rob Nash (15no) provided some late resistance, slow left-armer Steve Nash was adjudged leg before with two overs remaining and Datchworth just 13 runs short.

A depleted second string went down by three wickets at North Mymms thirds.

They posted 176-3 as Stuart Warrington led the charge with a fine 69 in an opening stand of 118 with Gary Hyams, who carried his bat for 60.

Dave Gibbs (4-60) saw Mymms struggling at 123-7 but a cavalier innings of 33no from captain Goodliffe saw them home with an over to spare.

Datchworth won by 75 runs in The Broadview Windows North Herts League against Codicote.

Impressive innings from Steve Stroomer and Tom Bennett (54 apiece) with a late surge from Sam Brunton (29no) saw them post 199-3 in their 40 overs.

Despite Carl Richards' dogged 72, Codicote struggled and plodded to 124-6.

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