Hertford 2s lose to Letchworth at Balls Park
By Will Ray
Following three games into a run of nine of traditional cricket (53:47 overs) Hertford seconds were sitting comfortably in mid table as they approached the midpoint of the season with a home game against lowly Letchworth.
If they had taken an additional wicket in two of the three previous ‘league’ games they would have been sitting comfortably in second place. Were they that good? There had been positives signs the previous week against North Enfield with runs from Pavey, Linney and Stevenson in the absence of the run machine Riddle, Lawrance maturing as a top order bat and Cavener Junior starting to look like a class left arm spinner – optimism beckoned!
Letchworth won the toss and to the joy of stand in captain Pavey gave Hertford the opportunity to bat first which suited him splendidly as he and Lawrence promoted to open marched out to the middle. There followed a period of little drama as they both played the new ball comfortably and matched each other run for run comfortably compiling a century stand. As Lawrence was approaching his maiden fifty for the seconds he decided he would wait for at least another week falling caught of the bowling of the bouncy leg spin of Bishton. Linney joined and as his way looked to increase the run rate and after a quick fire 15 yorked himself coming down to the bowling of spinner Albon. No drama 135-2 with 18 overs to go and Pavey well set and Hertford were looking for 225 minimum. 20 runs later Pavey fell caught for a well compiled 77 but was cursing himself for not completing the job. He was right because then the wheels came off literally. Cavener Senior hit a couple of hefty blows in a quick 20 but otherwise no one could deal with the bounce of leg spinner Bishton who finished with the creditable figures of 6-47 well supported by Albon with 4-48 and Hertford finished on 188 all out not even maximum batting points. The lags on the boundary seats were tutting…. not in my day.
Hertford still felt confident knowing that if they got the prolific Albon (Premiership player in disguise) the game was still within their grasp. Rhodes opened up with new recruit Knight and squeezed the life out of Letchworth with his first 5 overs going for one run however both Knight and Carter dropped one ball an over short and the unorthodox Wase put the ball away for 4 and the score climbed quickly to 50.The introduction of Cavener brought the first wicket and then Rhodes took two and game on 72-3. This brought together Albon and Bridge and their partnership took the game away from Hertford. A stand of 90 in quick time seemed to indicate an early finish but Cavener produced a Jaffa to get Bridge for a well compiled 49 and then Lawrence deceived Albon (well caught by Cavener) and then suddenly Letchworth did not know how to bat. They stumbled over the line seven down in the 43rd over but in truth deserved the win..
So… halfway through the season where do we stand?
There are plenty of positives the team always works hard for each other, fields well (sometimes brilliantly), the opening batsman are consistently within the best in our league (certainly the hardest running), the seam bowling holds its own without being the fastest (it is one of the most skilful) and the youngest (all the under 19’s) are getting good exposure to a decent standard off cricket and standing up to be counted – the sign of a good captain and vice-captain.
Our weaknesses; we need more from our middle order in terms of runs if we want to have an outside chance of promotion. How do we do that? Match Practice – The Bola machine should be used constantly to improve weaknesses in our batting game rather than slogging at non-bowlers in the nets on a Thursday night. Bowlers who turn up for nets on a Thursday should only be bowling 60-90 balls max and setting targets for themselves. Practice fielding as if your life depended on it at the end of the session. The extra 10% will be the difference between mid-table mediocrity and potential promotion run in – what do you want?
by Tony Rhodes
Scorecard - http://hertford.play-cricket.com/website/results/3081790