Colney slip up at Rickmansworth

SHL Division Three

LONDON Colney missed out on the opportunity to take a big stride towards safety following a catastrophic batting collapse against Rickmansworth. On a wet and drizzly day, stand-in Colney skipper Matt Bristow lost the toss, but was not too disappointed to be in the field and for once, the Colney opening attack of Connor Dow and Simon Fretter utilised the helpful conditions and made life extremely difficult for the Rickmansworth top order.

Simon Fretter, joined in the attack by his brother Tim, made regular inroads into the Rickmansworth order, with Tim taking two wickets and Simon three in his first spell as Rickmansworth’s run rate struggled to nudge above 3 runs an over.

For the visitors, Pete Brannen looked the most composed of the top order, scoring a well organised 41 from number 5, but once he had holed out off the bowling of skipper Bristow, the remainder of the Rickmansworth batting order struggled against the off-spin of Bristow and the returning Simon Fretter. Fretter added a further wicket in his second spell to finish with a well deserved four and Bristow finished with 3-11 from his 10 overs as Rickmansworth were dismissed for 166 in the 48th over.

A rain showed extended the tea break and deprived Colney of four of the overs they had earned by dismissing the visitors early, but openers Nick Hurst and Matt Bristow seemed to be making light work of the total as the opening stand added just shy of fifty in the first ten overs before Bristow was caught at mid-off.

Hurst was joined by Fisher and the pair made further inroads into the total before Fisher was caught behind. Fisher’s dismissal summed up the spirit the entire match was played in, walking following a nick to the keeper, so fine that few had detected it, an act of sportsmanship well appreciated by the visitors.

Depsite losing Tim Fretter and Nick Hurst, the latter for a well played 48, Colney seemed in total control at 144-4 with nearly 20 overs left to bat, but the frailties which had seen defeat snatched from the jaws of victory against both Hatfield and Ickleford resurfaced as Rickmansworth opening bowlers Tom Gardener and Marc Robinson returned to decimate the Colney lower order, taking four wickets each. Vanarkadi and Dow both played shots that the situation didn’t warrant and were caught while Goff and Seymour were both clean bowled by Gardener. Watching the carnage unfold at the other end, Tony Holloway also fell, superbly caught by the keeper having edged a rearing delivery.

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When number 10 Paul Hadley was clean bowled, Colney were all out for 154 and had lost their last six wickets for just 10 runs and with them the match. As luck would have it, the 12 points the home side earned, were enough to move them out of the relegation zone, but the further 18 they threw away would have made the last two league games a lot less tense.