Randall holds his nerve for Park

Knebworth Park fought back from a disastrous start to nearly win in a thrilling finish to their drawn match at Hoddesdon in the Saracens Herts League Division One. After being 9-3, Jarrod Turner and Tony Skeggs led the fightback to reach 208-8 – a below-p

Knebworth Park fought back from a disastrous start to nearly win in a thrilling finish to their drawn match at Hoddesdon in the Saracens Herts League Division One.

After being 9-3, Jarrod Turner and Tony Skeggs led the fightback to reach 208-8 - a below-par score on Hoddesdon's small ground and rapid outfield.

Hoddesdon replied with a similar start and recovery. In the end they fell seven runs short with two wickets remaining, needing nine off the last over bowled by under-16 Charlie Randall, but they could only muster two singles.

After losing the toss again and being asked to bat, Knebworth were soon in trouble and facing the prospect of a heavy defeat. By the fifth over Park had lost three wickets all caught behind.

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Captain Skeggs joined Turner and between them, they steadied the innings and provided a solid base. Their partnership of 56 was broken when Skeggs (20) was caught trying to hit out.

The next partnership between Turner and Adam Sergeant also produced 56 runs before Turner finally fell for 69 (Knebworth 121-5) to give the keeper his fourth catch.

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Contributions from all the lower order, including a quickfire 41 from Paul Slade including three sixes, helped the Park to post a competitive 208-8 from all 53 overs.

Hoddesdon's reply started in the same fashion as the Park innings, Slade dismissing both openers with only 10 runs on the board.

But again the innings mirrored each other with Rory Coutts and captain Martin Brown laying a base with a 40-run partnership, before Brown was caught acrobatically by Sam McCrow off Turner for 28.

Coutts and Jamie Curtis added another 68 before the bowling of Tony Skeggs sent Coutts (46) back to the pavilion, leg before.

When Skeggs also dismissed Craig Handy in the same over, caught by Park keeper Harry McCue, Hoddesdon were 120-5.

Curtis went on to make 51 and there was another quickfire innings for the day from Matt Byrne, 44no in 45 deliveries.

At the start of the final over, Hoddesdon had two wickets in hand and needed nine runs for the victory.

Randall restricted the pair of Byrne and Wes Hunt to just two singles, and the match was drawn. Paul Slade with 3-51 and Skeggs 2-33 were the pick of the Knebworth attack.

On Sunday, in The Evening Standard Trophy, the Park travelled to face high-riding Essex Premier League side Saffron Walden.

They were faced with a sodden wicket that was a disgrace for this calibre of competition. Ryan Skeggs top scored in an all out score of 77 which the home side passed for the loss of two wickets.

* A promising batting display by the seconds was completely overshadowed by a dazzling, unbroken partnership of nearly 200 by their opponents Old Finchleians.

Phil Simpson (51) and skipper Shaun Robinson (60) helped Park post 200-9 off 53 overs.

Michael Fisher grabbed an early wicket thanks to a fine diving catch by Robinson, but that was as good as it got!

The pairing of Wynne-Jones and Derala then set about the bowling attack with relish. Skipper Robinson uncharacteristically tried seven different bowlers in search of a breakthrough.

Derala made a deserved maiden century to finish on 105no and Wynne-Jones 87no as Old Finchleians won by nine wickets with nine overs to spare.

The thirds continued their impressive recent form with a convincing win over weak opposition Northchurch seconds.

Park were reeling on 25-3 before skipper Steve Holmes repaired the damage with Ian Pickering (58). A cameo of 33 from the returning Chris Scott saw them end up with a competitive score of 196 all out.

Northchurch were soon 0-2 and then Tom Eaton picked up his first five-wicket haul with 5-19 as the innings was wrapped up for just 99.

Hayden Bartlett-Tasker's impressive 67 without any support was the highlight of the fourth team's disappointing defeat against Totteridge Millhillians.

Park were 93-3 only for the last seven wickets to fall for a further 34 runs as they were bowled out for 127. An excellent spell from Painter (2-12) and two wickets for Ed Emsley were not enough to prevent a win for the visitors by five wickets.

The fifths also faced London opposition and were convincingly beaten after a determined batting display. John Inman top scored with 45 to reach 182 all out, but they were then hammered to all corners by an Old Camdenians side who had all played first-class cricket in Pakistan.

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