OAs avoid three straight defeats with Bar draw

Hall and Dobson combine to deny Potters Bar II

SHCL Division 3

Potters Bar II 205 Old Albanian 144-7

Match drawn

ON A windy afternoon at Woollams, with sunny intervals and showers threatening but never materialising, OAs drew with fellow Division 3 strugglers Potters Bar II.

Potters Bar won the toss and chose to make first use of a dry wicket, but an OAs side missing several first-choice players started well when debutant Chris Strivens (1-35) picked up opener Titmuss in his first over, and Perry Hall opened with five consecutive maidens that led to fellow opener Mike Palmer departing for a 35-ball duck.

An enterprising innings of 66 from Chris Palmer, well supported by Waqas with 32, took the game away from OAs. When Palmer was caught driving to extra cover with the score at 97, the middle order crumbled and OAs looked on top at 117-6, but a fluent 46 from Ben Taylor restored the visitors’ momentum and steered Potters Bar to a good total of 205 all out in the final over. The wickets were shared around by OAs, with Perry Hall taking 2-35, Mark Ilott 3-58 and spinner Chris Dobson 4-51.

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In reply, OAs were soon in trouble as Chris Boyce found movement and variable bounce with his leg-cutters, removing skipper Ravi Vijh caught at slip for just 2 from an unplayable ball that left him and lifted, and Richard Parsons soon after to leave the score at 11-2.

Dobson led the fightback with a cultured innings of 58, mixing careful defence with good drives and legside strokes, but OAs were always behind the asking rate, and when Dobson departed to leave the score at 86-4, the main issue was whether the visitors could dismiss the home side in the overs remaining. Solid middle-order batting from Owen Neal (14) and Chris Jukes (16) prevented the necessary breakthrough, and Neal was unlucky to be dismissed caught at short leg from a pull shot that lodged in the fielder’s midriff when he was taking evasive action. Some late blows from Hall (16*) took OAs into the batting points for the first time this season, and the consolation of a well-earned draw after heavy defeats in their two previous matches.

* A dogged performance from an under-strength OAs II side ensured that they drew at Ickleford II, albeit with a return of only six points from an afternoon of hard yakka near Hitchin.

The hosts elected to bat first, and amassed 227-6 from 53 overs, which represented success for OAs after the Ickleford openers raced out of the traps at seven-an-over. The experienced pair of Julian Baines (1-26) and skipper Nick Burman applied the brakes, Burman’s marathon 23-over spell of 5-68 representing a seasonal best by any OA player.

OAs were pegged back from the start of their reply by challenging Ickleford bowling, and the visitors never kept up with the required run rate. Simon Wakeling batted soundly for 26, Burman (28) and Baines (18) added to their bowling feats, before David Hughes and Tim Smith saw OAs safely home for the draw.