Ex-skipper Gale scores brilliant century as Potters Bar defeat Hertford 1s
By Will Ray
Hertford faced Potters Bar in a must win match as they sought to avoid being consigned to the post season relegation play off match against the runners up of the Championship.
Hoping to take advantage of frailties exposed in Potters Bar's previous week loss to bottom side Luton, Hertford were not too disappointed with being asked to bowl first, knowing that early wickets could be the key to the game.
Things started well as in the fourth over of the day, skipper Richard Leather removed Potters Bar opener Charlie Scott for just 1. With former Hertford captain Steve Gale at the crease Hertford were wary of allowing Potters Bar to take advantage of the early fielding restrictions, and tight bowling from Slater in particular kept the scoring under control. The second wicket eventually came as a mid pitch collision between Gale and batting partner Palmer led to Palmer being run out for 15, with the score 61-2. James Scott fell shortly after, bowled as he misread the length of a Scott Ruskin delivery, leaving Potters Bar 69-3.
Potters Bar continued to build at a steady rate, as Gale looked particularly comfortable on familiar territory. However, once again Hertford were kept in the game as a smart bit of fielding from Will Ray saw the end of Drew Hawley, run out by a direct hit. This brought Pat Scott to the crease, and he wasted no time in moving the scoreboard on. Gale and Scott started to take advantage of the large playing fielding, running effectively and putting Hertford's outfielders under increasing pressure. As the scoring rate increased Gale approached and then past his century but until the last 5 overs was outscored by Scott who batted extremely fluently and found the boundary with ease. Gale plundered some further boundaries as the innings drew to a close, ending on 149 not out, with Scott ending cruelly short of an explosive hundred scoring 92 off just 67 deliveries. The final total was 288-4.
Hertford knew that early boundaries were essential to their cause and in that spirit promoted Adam Carlson to take the attack to Potters Bar. Tight bowling meant that this was tough work and Hertford were soon behind the rate. Carlson fell in the final over of the powerplay for an ineffective 13. Once Will Ray fell lbw to James Scott and Steve Cordingley was stumped in bizarre fashion Hertford had a lot of work to do. Ian Harris and Richard Leather attempted to build momentum before Leather was caught for 21 of the bowling of Walallawita. Harris batted effectively for 41 before being caught reverse-sweeping to point. Hertford's innings lacked a big score to take them close with the remaining batsman chipping in with further cameos struggling to score at the now required rate in excess of 10 an over.
The innings subsided for 215, with both Pat Scott and Thilan Walallawita taking 3 wickets. This result confirmed Hertford's place in the end of season play-off match. They will hope to use the remaining matches to find some form ahead of this season defining game.