2nd XI Bounce Back from Consecutive Defeats with Convincing Win
By Will Ray
After a week of biblical rain, the Seconds hosted bottom of the league Potton Town.
The pitch was brown-green, the skies in the near-distance grey and Pavey’s face, pale. This was a good toss to win.
Pavey did win the toss, and asked Potton Town to bat. Both sides were looking to regain form, something that the visitors had been searching for even longer than their hosts, arriving as they were on the back of 5 consecutive defeats.
The pitch was tacky and slow but had even bounce, the new ball often doing too much to draw the edge. Ben Orchard made his first start of the season, very much taking it one ball at a time. As the Potton Town batsmen sought to break the shackles imposed upon them by the opening bowlers, Hertford began to pick up wickets, Dan Orchard making the first breakthrough with a slower ball that induced a mistimed drive.
The experienced Chris Thompson replaced the young seamer. Channeling his fury over now having to fork out for a TV-license, Thompson made a further breakthrough by taking the edge, much to the vanquished batsman’s displeasure. Brad Dawson was then entered into the attack, taking a wicket with his very first ball, Pavey pouching the catch low behind the stumps. Thompson’s second wicket was thanks to a fine reflex catch from Gus Joyce at cover, who casually parried a full blooded drive up above his head before calmly grasping the rebound.
Therein the game entered a lull. False shots found wide open spaces, half-chances (and some nine-tenth chances) were missed by the fielders, but the score ticked on only slowly. Potton’s number 5, a left-handed chancer with a good eye but a technique more adept to chopping wood, sought to accelerate the total. Having been dispatched into the gardens on Mangrove Road, Hertford’s Mr Tickle took time out from looking like a one-man wind farm and removed the No. 5 courtesy of a good low catch by Gus Joyce at slip. Noah Osborne also claimed a wicket, but was disappointed to find that they did not come two-by-two. Noah’s final over saw him fail to make the batsmen hit through the Ark (I’m sorry), and the ensuing flood of runs forced a bowling change.
Potton were eventually all out for 164. On reflection, Hertford would probably concede that this was 30 runs or so more than they ought to have got, owing mostly to dropped catches.
Gus Joyce and George Pavey began solidly in response, Joyce timing the ball as well as anyone had to that point. But soon both were out lbw to some brisk off-spin that was getting real purchase. After a short innings, Ben Gethin-Golder was removed playing his favourite shot, and Hugh Cavener was adjudged caught behind shortly after.
Ollie Ray and Brad Dawson began the rebuilding job in a positive fashion, Ray whipping a number of leg side deliveries into the road. With over 20 overs to go, Hertford needed to keep wickets in hand and victory would be assured. Naturally, Brad Dawson was then caught off a ball that didn’t quite reach him as he expected.
Tom Orchard then took his six steps from the pavilion to the crease to join Ray, who had moved into the 30s. This was to be the crucial partnership. Back-to-back threes were run through backward point, Orchard struggling to generate the torque required to power his endless limbs forward. Sixes were traded, Ray’s over forward mid wicket (cow) and Orchard’s over forward square leg. A full toss then undeservedly accounted for Ray’s wicket, as he found the fielder in the deep who took a good catch on the run. Orchard and Ray (48) had taken Hertford to within 30 runs of their target.
Tom was then joined by his brother/mentor/idol Ben. With four wickets in hand, Tom sensibly rotated the strike, until Potton gambled in bringing a leg spinner into the attack. After two wides and a three, Ben received two full tosses like long lost friends, and duly clothed them both to the boundary with all the authority of a newly qualified music teacher at an all-boys school. The reintroduction of Potton’s opening seamer was not enough, as Tom (40*) punched him for two fours through extra cover and then mid off to complete the win.