2nd XI Kneb-Worthy Winners
Hertford win by 91 runs in a thoroughly pleasing and professional display
Back to the comforts of Balls Park and Hertford were presented with everything they didn’t get last week; sunshine, a flat-belter and a post-Brexit opposition. Skipper Riddle described the toss as ‘a tricky one’, someone with a brain told him to bat, and so he did.
George Pavey and Jamie Riddle strode out to open the innings after giving it the big-one in the team huddle about serious run-making. Luckily for them after a handful of overs the Knebworth openers appeared to have no answers for some sensible and callous stroke making. Heart bowled a few solid overs restricting the batting pair back to 5 runs-per-over but first change seamer Heron took some heavy punishment from Riddle who was becoming increasingly belligerent.
Skipper Jamie backed his chat by hitting a fluent half century, Knebworth realised that pace off the ball was the way to go and with the introduction of Taylor and Pickering they managed to create some temporary pressure, but Riddle and Pavey soon became quickly accustomed and went through the gears. Pavey brought up his own classy half-century of his own, also in good time, and by drinks the pair has put 140 on the board for no loss.
After drinks it was normal service resumed, with the scoring rate creeping ever upwards. Riddle was concerned that Pavey had begun to catch him up and went on the offensive, he brought up a brilliant century, and what the 2ndXI will hope is the first of many. Great job skipper! By now the score was 183 for no loss and you could hear the excited whispers from spectators, making comparisons with the greats; “Langer and Hayden”, “Greenidge and Haynes”, “Carter and Cavener”. Inevitably this all got a little too sentimental for Riddle and he chipped one in the air to depart for 101, Pavey clearly couldn’t live without the other and bottled a palpable century, departing soon after for a fine 85.
By now Hertford wanted to do some considerable damage, and after a brief interlude, Richard Linney and Ian Harris (off-the-peg-county-batsman) really stepped it up, both scored brisk and essential 40’s before mutually perishing in the addictive-pursuit of boundary hitting. This left Hertford in the happy position of 289-6 after their 50 overs.
Skipper Riddle noted the effect slower, post-war bowlers could have and opted to open with two of his own. Chris Thompson and Tony Rhodes essentially killed the game, Liversidge departed after a slog and the next two batsmen could only block. The surviving opener; Danny Digweed (I refuse to believe there is a better name in Division 3a) could barely put bat to ball was the skill of Rhodes but intermittently played some fine shots for someone with a throbbing bottom hand. After Digweed departed, run-out by Max Lawrance, the game entered a rather languid phase. Thompson and Rhodes were both replaced after fine, economical spells by Hugh Cavener and Lawrance - Hertford’s virgin spin-sisters carried on the good work.
The sisters bowled with excellent control and after some extended pressure the wickets came and Knebworth’s middle order departed. Lawrance again provided metronomic-accuracy while Cavener searched for wickets and they finished with combined figures of 20-3-69-3. By now the game was gone for Knebworth but they valiantly continued a desperate search for batting points, Riddle turned to his unused seam bowlers to end the game with a flourish but Knebworth battled on despite losing wickets. Eventually Riddle turned to the unknown bowling of Harris, as it turned out he impersonated a somewhat pedestrian-Jimmy Anderson and promptly took the final 2 wickets.
Hertford won by 91 runs in what was a thoroughly pleasing and professional display. It started with an excellent opening partnership and middle order runs; solid bowling from Thompson, Rhodes, the spin-sisters as well as Linney with the old ball and most importantly Hertford took all their catches! The two’s will hope to continue and improve upon this weekend’s display when they travel to Old Depala’s on Saturday.