Dropped catches cost Colney

New skipper Seymour tastes defeat in opening game

SHL Division 3

London Colney 246-9

Letchworth II 247-4

THE oldest of cricketing adages states that, ‘Catches win matches’ and it is unlikely that this has seldom been more clearly demonstrated than during London Colney’s opening day defeat at the hands of Letchworth II’s, as no fewer than 10 chances went to ground as the home side reached their victory target with one ball and six wickets to spare.

Having lost the toss in his first game in charge, Colney skipper Graham Seymour saw his side inserted and they got off to a brisk start with Buckmaster (35) and Zeiderman (24) adding 50 for the first wicket. Though both fell in quick succession, followed soon after by McCartney after a brisk cameo, former skipper Scott Hadley steadied the ship with an attacking 51 before he fell to a brilliant return catch by off-spinner Chatfield. A catch which came at no small cost to the bowler, who left the field destined for the Lister Hospital.

Colney’s momentum was maintained by Tim Fretter who made a rapid 21 and Holloway who was beginning to attack the spinners with confidence. After Fretter was bowled by Bates, Holloway dominated a partnership of nearly 50 with Bristow before the latter fell to Simmons who finished with 3-40. Holloway’s fluent innings was brought to a close by Bates who finished with 3-82 and Colney’s tail were able to scamper some late runs to post a competitive score of 246-9 from their 53 overs.

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Colney would have felt they had posted a defendable score but any hopes Colney had of maintaining their momentum were dashed by the new ball spell which saw 51 come from the first six overs. Left handed opening batsman Will Aitkenhead was particularly savage through the off-side, cutting through point and driving through the covers as he raced towards 50.

The introduction of off-spinner Bristow as early as the seventh over brought skipper Seymour some much needed control and the key wicket of Aitkenhead for 49, who was beaten by one which drifted in with the arm through his attempted cut shot.

That wicket brought Letchworth skipper Richard Walsh to the crease and he was almost on his way straight back to the pavilion as Bristow found the shoulder of his bat with a drifting off-break, only for the ball the catch the webbing of keeper Zeiderman’s glove, deflecting it away from the waiting Holloway at first slip. It was a tough chance, but one which would prove to be the first of eight reprieves the visitors would afford the home skipper.

While Bristow wheeled away at one end, runs continued to flow at the other, allowing the Letchworth batsman to play Colney’s off-spinner with a measure of circumspection, and only 14 runs came from the first 11 overs of spin. Despite the high economy rates of Colney’s other bowlers chances continued to come and go. Goff saw two chances go down from firm Walsh drives, while Bristow was the culprit twice, once off the bowling of Fretter and once at long-on off Fisher. Colney thought for all the world that the run of missed chances would end when Walsh miscued Bristow to deep mid-wicket, only for the ever-reliable Buckmaster to slip and loose his footing as the ball was heading straight for him.

The resulting boundary brought Walsh 50 but did not signal the end of Colney’s generosity. Further chances came and went as Walsh, in partnership with Bates (39) continued to keep the required run rate in check. The run out of Bates gave Colney a glimmer of hope, which was quickly extinguished as Walsh, who had completed his century, was dropped again off Fretter. Fretter, who had earlier claimed the wicket of Mebourne, did not go unrewarded as he bowled Bridge with two balls remaining and the scores tied. Rather aptly the penultimate delivery was edged straight to gulley where it was dropped and Letchworth scampered the winning run.