Mixed start for champions Hertfordshire in defence of T20 title

Potters Bar's Steve Gale is no longer part of the Hertfordshire squad ahead of the 2022 season.

Potters Bar's Steve Gale is no longer part of the Hertfordshire squad ahead of the 2022 season. - Credit: DANNY LOO PHOTOGRAPHY

Hertfordshire’s defence of the title they won three years ago got off to a mixed start with a loss and win against Lincolnshire at Grantham.

They were crowned National Counties T20 champions in 2019 but after two years of COVID-19 disruptions, they began their defence with a very different side.

Tom Keast’s 62 was the centrepiece of Lincolnshire’s 135-6 in the opener fixture and Hertfordshire then struggled against Dan Freeman and former Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Surrey left-arm quick Mark Footitt who had combined figures of 6-33 in six overs.

Mason Hildreth took 3-3 in seven balls to slice through the tail, leaving Herts all out for 93 and beaten by 42 runs. 

But the champs bounced back in the second game thanks to the efforts of experienced all-rounder Tanveer Sikandar who followed an unbeaten 43 with 3-17 to set up a 28 runs win. 

Potters Bar's Steve Gale and Ben Frazer are no longer playing National Counties cricket and another former Bar man who was in the squad two years ago, Rishi Patel, has since joined Leicestershire from Essex.

Potters Bar do have representation in Lee Tyrrell and skipper Reece Hussain is excited to see what his new look team can do.

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“It would have been nice had we gone straight back into the competition with the same group of lads that won it," he said.

“There was a good balance of youth and experience whereas this year we have a much younger side.

"It will be a little bit of a new challenge for us because we haven’t all played together as much as that team we had when we won it. 

"We are a few light potentially but the youth is probably what is needed in T20, especially in the field.

"Preparation has been hard to come by but we did get a little game against Essex Twos on a very good wicket at Billericay.

"I got some time in the middle, some of the younger lads showed what they have been working on over the winter so it was a promising start against a good side.

"I always thought they had to change the format of National Counties cricket because availability became an issue in three-day cricket and the standard dropped considerably from the white ball cricket.

"Playing the three competitions in specific blocs also helps."