Redbourn have title within their grasp

Division Four Watton-at-Stone 125-10 (47) Redbourn 128-3 (33.2) REDBOURN cruised to a 12th victory of the season against promotion hopefuls Watton-at-Stone, and in doing so gave themselves a great chance of securing the Division Four title.

Division Four

Watton-at-Stone 125-10 (47) Redbourn 128-3 (33.2)

REDBOURN cruised to a 12th victory of the season against promotion hopefuls Watton-at-Stone, and in doing so gave themselves a great chance of securing the Division Four title.

Skipper Dan Roe won the toss and asked the visitors to bat first. Watton certainly like to put bat to ball and their tactics appeared to be working, until Jon Fleming nipped one off the seam to take the opener's off stump.

Ahmed Jamal had been bowling without much luck but soon got amongst the wickets, taking 2 for 47. Despite this, Watton had raced to 87-3 but with Darren Bassill entering the attack, the whole complexion of the innings changed.

The runs dried up as Bassill and Fleming bowled tightly and as a result, wickets started to fall regularly. Bassill ended with excellent figures of 4 for 23 off 11 overs and Fleming's marathon spell of 23 overs reaped superb figures of 3 for 46, as Watton were bowled out for just 125.

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In reply, Simon Osman and Chris Yorath added 31 for the first wicket before Osman was dismissed. Toby Ascroft was unfortunately run out and Geoff Tookey suffered one of his rare failures, leaving Redbourn 45-3.

No further wickets would fall, as Yorath (47 not out) and Dan Roe (61 not out) enjoyed an unbeaten stand of 83 to see Redbourn home comfortably on 128-3 off 33.2 overs.

With their nearest challengers also winning, Redbourn remain 47 points clear at the top of the table and still require a further 14 points from their remaining two matches to seal the divisional title. Roe said: "After last week's narrow victory, I asked the side to step up a level and they certainly did that today. The bowlers performed particularly well and to bowl out Watton for 125 was an excellent effort, especially as it didn't go our way initially.

"Our fielding display was also much improved and certainly helped in tying down their batsmen. This win means that we're now guaranteed promotion to Division Three but this side wants to emulate the success of our Thirds this season and win the title. The sides chasing us effectively need to win both their remaining games and we're due to play second placed Clarendon (away) this week. It should be an excellent match."

Redbourn II have done their bit to push for a promotion place in Division Seven but wins for the top four mean going up is now unlikely.

Redbourn batted first at Little Berkhamsted Sahibs and got off to a flier thanks to Matt Cramer who fired 62 off 44 balls, including seven spectacular sixes.

With support from the steady anchor of Dave Smith, they past 100 without loss. Three quick wickets of Cramer, Smith (26) and Spiers left Redbourn on 108-3 but Antony Mauder and Jamie Doherty took the baton and produced a fine display of batting, taking the score over 200. Skipper Mauder (67) declared on 238-3 off just 40 overs with an unbeaten 130 partnership between himself and the impressive Doherty (59).

Dan Thatcher opened the bowling in ferocious style and with Pete Cridland showing cunning from the other end, it was clear that Little Bs would do well to survive 60 overs. LB struggled to 50 for no loss and when Dan Darvell gave them some loose deliveries, the openers could not resist and were both caught in quick succession.

Dave Wright removed number three Hansraj for a duck but then Little Bs dug in again. Mauder turned to the tempting medium pace of Nick Sinfield who snared four victims (4 for 29) and Cridland (3 for 28) returned to mop up the tail. Little Bs were all out for 136 with 18 overs remaining.

Champions Redbourn III suffered their first defeat of the season playing Parkfield and Headstone III in Division 13.

Redbourn were put into bat and skipper John Pritchard suffered a severe dent in his immaculate batting average when he was dismissed for one. Fellow opener Jack Dyer fell for a duck but Andy Green played a sensible innings to score 28. A middle order collapse saw Redbourn reduced to 58-7 but an embarrassing score was avoided by Ray Smyth (39), supported with a test match innings from James Colenutt. Jim Lee added a quick 19 at the death to reach a respectable 129-9 off 47 overs.

In reply early wickets for Robin Mauder and Colenutt gave Redbourn hope but 45 from Mayers put Parkfield firmly in the driving seat. Wickets for George Naismith (3 for 15) and Jim Lee (2 for 55) made for an exciting finish but it was too little, too late as Parkfield reached their target for seven wickets with 15 balls to spare.

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