Colney win eases relegation fears
SHL Division Three
SHL Division Three
London Colney won by 53 runs
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London Colney took a huge stride towards Division 3 survival with a thoroughly deserved victory over title chasing Chipperfield Clarendon. With a slender 1 point lead over fellow strugglers St Albans II, Colney had to secure a good haul of points in their final two games to have a chance of avoiding the drop and with that in mind, skipper Hadley had no hesitation in batting once he had won the toss.
Heavy rain in the days preceding the match had produced a pitch which offered some assistance to the bowlers and a slightly sluggish outfield and befitting that, Colney’s early progress was measured and slow, much to the derision of the Chipperfield Clarendon fielders. When skipper Hadley fell to a spectacular catch at mid-on for 6, Colney had stuttered to 37-3 from 15 overs.
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The third wicket brought Tony Holloway to the crease to join Ady Fisher and the pair set about rebuilding Colney’s innings, adding 43 for the 4th wicket before Fisher fell for 24. Holloway, joined at the crease by Tim Fretter combined stout defence with forceful attack, striking seven 4s and a 6 on his way to 60 in a partnership of 58 with Fretter.
Fretter and Holloway fell in quick succession to the home side’s spinners and after much good work, it looked like Colney would set a below par total. Fortunately for the visitors, teenagers Connor Dow (31) and Rick Zeiderman (22) were in assured form, adding 53 for 7th wicket in under 10 overs before a clatter of late wickets saw Colney’s innings close on 200 – 9 with 10 batting bonus points secured. Gary Wise was pick of the home attack, returning figures of 4-30 from his ten overs.
Colney knew a good start with the ball was vital and it was provided by all-rounder Tim Fretter, who nipped a full delivery down the slope to trap opener Moore LBW offering no shot, before claiming the prize scalp of Gary Wise, who edged behind to the safe gloves of Zeiderman for 4. Chipperfield Clarendon’s success in run chases this season has often been built on large contributions by Wise and his early demise was keenly felt by the home side.
Mitch Bertwhisle struck some lusty blows before a miscued pull shot off Fretter was superbly held by Sheron Vanarkadi running round to his left at midwicket, quickly followed by Hudson who cut the newly introduced Matt Bristow straight to backward point for 14.
Bowling in tandem, Fretter and Bristow continued to make inroads into the home side’s batting, including the removal of opener McNicol (31) who sportingly walked after a thin edge to Zeiderman, an edge that neither bowler Bristow or the umpire had heard. Fretter then removed Evans and Paddon, both excellently held by Holloway in the slips, to complete his five wicket haul before a caught and bowled gave him his sixth. Bristow at the other end was not at his best, but continued to chip away at the lower order and when Dow held onto a catch at deep midwicket to dismiss Swart for 11, Chipperfield Clarendon had slumped to 112 for 9.
Colney’s charge to victory was held up by the last wicket pair of Oliver (31) and Fitzgerald (10) who added 35, while chances came and went for the visitors. But Colney would not be denied and Tim Fretter completed a superb day with a tumbling catch at mid-off to give Bristow his fourth wicket and Colney the win.
Fretter finished with 6-74 from 20 overs, his best ever return in league cricket, while Bristow chipped in with 4-46. The relieve was palpable among the visitors, especially when the same deluge which had cruelly denied St Albans victory, arrived shortly after the final wicket had fallen. Colney now need to avoid complacency in the final match against Hertingfordbury and secure a good haul of bonus points to ensure they are playing in Division Three next season.
There was to be no ‘Great Escape’ for London Colney IIs as a severly weakened team were soundly beaten by St Albans III, although the home side fought hard and did give the visitors a bit of a scare. Decimated by the start of the football season, Colney could only field 9 men, however they quickly had St Albans in trouble thanks to the accurate bowling of Trevor Ray and Ady Bristow.
Ray eventually finished with six wickets and Bristow two as St Albans III were shot out for a below par 158. Unfortunately for the home side, any hopes they had of an unlikely victory were quickly dashed as their batting line up completely imploded, falling to 35 all out in just 16.3 overs – minutes before heavy rain came which would have meant no further play would have been possible.
Colney will now be contemplating life in Division Eight, but will hope to bow out with one last win in their final fixture against Hemel Hempstead.