Welwyn’s Benyon takes game away from Redbourn

Visiting batsman hits unbeaten 71 to secure four wicket win

SHL Division Two

Redbourn 142

Welwyn Garden City II 144-6

Welwyn won by four wickets

REDBOURN slipped to another disappointing defeat on Saturday, this time at the hands of Welwyn Garden City II at home.

Batting first, Redbourn were soon in early trouble and at 34-4 another early finish looked a possibility with last week’s collapse to 63 all out still fresh in the memory.

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Captain Dan Roe was still at the crease though and along with brother Ben put on a partnership of 46 to bring Redbourn back in the game before Ben was dismissed lbw for 11.

This brought Nigel Wellsbury to the crease who combined with Roe to take the score to 120 before a mix up resulted in Wellsbury being run out for 19 just as he was beginning to look well set.

With Roe still in and going well, a score of near 200 looked possible, but unfortunately he was unable to find anyone else to stay with him as none of the last four batsman were able to score a run. Roe did manage to hit a few late boundaries and was eventually last man out for an excellent 84. Without his contribution Redbourn would have been in deep trouble but with 142 on the board they at least felt that they were still in the game if they were able to bowl well and take some early wickets.

Redbourn did get off to a good start in the field, with Jon Fleming removing the Welwyn opener with just 12 runs on the board thanks to a diving catch from Wellsbury.

With Fleming (3-44) picking up two further wickets, Welwyn were soon struggling at 43-3. However, despite the early wickets Redbourn were unable to put any real pressure on the batsman as Welwyn were still able to score at around five runs an over as the bowlers paid the price for too many loose deliveries as they strived for the wickets that they needed.

A wicket each for Chris Godfrey and Alistair Jones left the match very evenly poised, but Welwyn’s number three, Beynon, stood firm and took the game away from Redbourn with an excellent 71*. Ahmed Faiz returned to the attack to take the sixth wicket but it was too little too late as Welwyn were able to ease home with four wickets to spare.

n Redbourn II returned to the top off Division Seven with a win at Bentley Heath. Heath elected to bat and opening bowlers Dan Thatcher and Darren Bassill put them under immediate pressure.

Bassill took the first wicket in the fourth over with an excellent in-swinger to the left handed S Mohammed.

Number three S Janjua decided not to bother playing himself in with a top edged four over backward point first ball. Janjua continued his Twenty20-esque batting with more boundaries with opener M Hubbard also looking in a hurry.

With Thatcher and Bassill sticking to their line the inevitable happened as they took a wicket each to leave Heath on 59-3 off 10 overs.

R Francis came in and batted in a more orthodox fashion until he left an in-swinger from spinner Dan Darvell that clipped his off stump.

A third wicket for Bassill as O Hubbard edged to Chris Yorath at first slip and Heath were in real trouble at 88-5.

Z Tirmizi smashed a big six by coming down the wicket to Darvell (3-34) but when he tried it again and didn’t connect Geoff Bartlett had him stumped. Skipper M Dunnett was looking comfortable and began to push Heath up to a defendable total but a change of bowling paid off as Martin Benfield had him caught in the deep for 34. Bartlett brought Thatcher (3-33) back on who took two wickets in two overs, with help from Matt Cramers third catch of the day. Heath ended all out for 146 off 43.5 overs.

Heath’s opening bowlers started well making the first few overs tricky for Redbourn’s opening batsmen Chris Yorath and Barry Fleming.

Despite this pressure Heath changed both bowlers after 10 overs allowing Yorath (23) to start scoring until he guided one to first slip.

Matt Cramer smashed a couple of boundaries and despite being caught at his favourite long on for 9 the impetus had been changed and Fleming started playing his shots. Fleming passed 50 and went on to finish 75* off 88 balls. Antony Mauder (15*) scored the winning run with an ugly top edge that miraculously avoided four fielders all standing within a metre of its landing site as Redbourn finished on 147-2 off 36 overs to win by eight wickets.

n Redbourn III won the toss and decided to bowl first on a soft, green wicket at Hitchin Boys School in their game with Preston III.

Redbourn’s bowlers started well and at 24-2 Preston were struggling, but a good partnership took them to 90 before Ray Smyth bowled the Preston skipper.

More good batting by Preston and no luck for Redbourn allowed Preston to move to 163-4 and it looked like Redbourn were going to be chasing over 200. However, the Redbourn bowler Jim Lee (5-35) had other ideas and Preston were skittled out for 168.

With 45 overs to chase the total and a strong batting line up Redbourn were confident of chasing down this total and at 94-2 with plenty of overs in hand Redbourn were well on top. But then a typical batting collapse reduced Redbourn to 105 for 6. Although Redbourn battled on they were struggling and finally succumbed 22 runs short. Ben Farrar top scored with 33 and Rakesh Bajpai was unbeaten on 19.

This was a game Redbourn should have won.