Downpour hampers Hertford and Redbourn take control
Division Four Hertford II 173-9 (42) Redbourn 175-2 (32.4) Redbourn struck a crucial blow in the title race, securing their tenth win of the season against promotion hopefuls Hertford II. Skipper Dan Roe won the toss and asked the opposition to bat first
Hertford II 173-9 (42) Redbourn 175-2 (32.4)
Redbourn struck a crucial blow in the title race, securing their tenth win of the season against promotion hopefuls Hertford II.
Skipper Dan Roe won the toss and asked the opposition to bat first on a green-tinged wicket that he hoped would offer some assistance to his bowlers.
The decision appeared to have backfired as Hertford latched onto any width provided by the opening attack and, with a quick outfield, the boundary was found on a regular basis. Although the odd ball would seam around, the batsmen were enjoying the pace and consistent bounce. Roe turned to the off spin of Faisal Khan and this brought immediate success, as Khan found the outside edge of Benford's bat, with Gary Sandford pouching the catch behind. Khan and the left-arm pace of Geoff Tookey dragged Redbourn back into the game with some much needed accuracy but, as Tookey tired, Roe brought Jon Fleming back into the attack. It was Fleming that was to take Redbourn's second wicket when the ball nipped off the seam to bowl Gilbert through the gate. However, at 98 for 2, Hertford still had eyes on a large imposing total.
At this point, Redbourn got a lucky break, as a torrential downpour held up proceedings for over an hour, losing each side 11 overs of their innings. Whilst this left Hertford only 18 overs to bat, Redbourn were fully expecting to be chasing a total in excess of 200, with just 36 overs on offer to chase down the target.
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However, if the first passage of play had belonged to Hertford, the next was to belong to Redbourn, as they were to take seven wickets for just 75, as Hertford went after the bowling. Jon Fleming's exemplary line and length was to bring him excellent figures of 6 for 56 off 16 overs and Faisal Khan also bowled impressively, taking 3 for 59 off 15 overs.
Hertford ended on 173-9 in their 42 overs and Redbourn set about the chase in determined fashion. Openers Simon Osman and Chris Yorath hit 22 off the first two overs, although Osman was soon to be undone by a superb ball that clipped the top of his off stump. After a fine run of form in the seconds, it was Toby Ascroft that joined Yorath at the crease. The pair added 104 for the second wicket in good time, before Yorath was caught behind. Despite his dismissal, Yorath's 74 off 70 balls including 15 fours had put Redbourn in a great position. Geoff Tookey's run a ball unbeaten 15 and Ascroft's superb unbeaten 64 including 12 boundaries saw Redbourn home with just over three overs remaining.
Skipper Roe was delighted with the win: "At one point the match was getting away from us but we didn't give up and dragged it back well. Jon and Faisal's spells after the rain break were crucial. It was nice to see our batsmen enjoying the good batting conditions and playing with confidence. With other results going our way, we are now 31 points ahead of second place and in a good position with five matches to play.