Fretter stars in Colney victory

Tim Fretter

SHL Division Three

London Colney 238-7

Bishop’s Stortford II 73–10

London Colney won by 165 runs

AFTER heavy rain washed out the previous week’s match against Northampton Exiles without a ball of the second innings being bowled, Colney made use of the improved weather the crush Bishop’s Stortford II and claim their third win of the season.

Despite weather which got better as the day progressed, heavy overnight rain saw a surface, which although firm thanks to ample covering, was tinged with a good covering of green grass. On a track usually full of runs, Stortford’s skipper bet that the pitch would offer most assistance at the start of the game and would only get better for batting and upon winning the toss, duly inserted the visitors.

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Colney’s makeshift opening pair of Ady Fisher (18) and David Goff (33) battled hard against the early swing and seam movement extracted by the Stortford attack and made the most of their luck and some generous fielding by the home side to add 42 for the first wicket before Fisher edged an away swinger from Mir and was caught at the wicket. Adam Buckmaster came and went quickly, caught at mid-off trying to go over the top before Waley removed McCartney and Goff in quick succession. McCartney will be rueing the vagaries of cricket having made a superb unbeaten century the previous week, only to be bowled offering no shot for a duck to a ball which jagged back dramatically.

At 77-4 after 25 overs, Colney had made a solid, if not dramatic start on a pitch offering some assistance. As the pitch flattened out, the ball softened and the outfield quickened, Scott Hadley and Tim Fretter were able to build the game’s decisive partnership. Mixing judicious batting, with good running and savage punishment of anything loose, the pair put on 116 in just 20 overs as the lack of depth and a slow bowling option in the home team’s ranks was cruelly exposed. As temperatures rose and both players tired, Hadley perished, chipping loosely down the ground to long-off and falling 12 runs short of a century. With Hadley gone, Tim Fretter continued to take the attack to Stortford and aided by brief cameos from Zaman and Seymour, guided Colney to a more than competitive 238-7, finishing on 55*.

Colney knew that there would be assistance with the new ball and would have held out hope that the cracking pitch would deteriorate as the second innings progressed. They were proved right on both counts, but could not have predicted what was to occur in the first 45 minutes of the Stortford innings.

Missing his regular opening bowler, Andy Cole, skipper Seymour threw the ball to the Fretter brothers, Simon and Tim. In the first over, Simon found appreciable movement with the new ball and sensing early breakthroughs, Seymour set an attacking field. This aggression was rewarded in the second over when Smith drove loosely at a length ball from Tim Fretter and was brilliantly pouched at second slip by Matt Bristow, diving full length to his right to take the ball an inch above the turf. An incredulous Smith stood his ground, though in disbelief rather than in challenge of the catch’s legitimacy, while the Colney players celebrated wildly. It would be the start of an unbelievable passage of cricket.

In his next over, Simon Fretter found bounce and movement from back of a length, catching the shoulder of Parker’s bat and offering a sharp chance to second gulley which Scott Hadley grabbed with the minimum of fuss. A maiden from Tim was followed by further inroads as Simon removed Waley (0) with a near unplayable leg-cutter which the batsmen did well to nick to the ‘keeper and two balls later the combination was repeated as ‘keeper Blackman pouched a simple edge from the blade of Mir (0). 5-4 quickly became 8-5 as Tim found movement off the seam to bowl Stark shouldering arms and then 9-6 as Lindop wafted loosely outside his off-stump and was caught behind second ball.

With the score at 9- 6 with some 39 overs remaining, Colney sensed a quick finish, but met some resistance in the form of Dosha (36).

In partnership with Leaver, he weathered the new ball burst from the Fretter brothers leading Seymour to introduce his off-spinner. With runs no longer an issue, an extremely attacking field was set and it paid immediate dividends, with Bristow finding turn and bounce to have Leaver caught at forward short leg by Hadley.

Dodsha found further support in the form of Williams and the pair added 36 for the eighth wicket before Dodsha was caught at mid-off off the bowling of Goff (1-14). With the resistance broken, Colney quickly wrapped up the win. Bristow took a sharp caught and bowled to remove Williams for 17, finishing with 2-15 from 11 overs before the returning Simon Fretter (4-10) cleaned up H Williams to seal the win.

Colney were outstanding in all departments, though Tim Fretter (3-14 and 55*) was probably the Man of the Match for his all round performance. Stevenage II await Colney next week, who will be hoping that this strong showing will be the launch pad for a promotion push in the second half of the season.

* In a reversal of the first XIs’ fortunes, the IIs were heavily beaten by Cockfosters III.

Having won the toss and elected to bat, skipper Den Hadley saw his side capitulate from a position of strength at 70-2 to 112 all out. In dry conditions on the placid Green Street pitch, 112 was never likely to be defendable and so it proved as Cockfosters romped to victory with nine wickets in hand and 25 overs to spare.