Hertford 4th XI Suffer 8 Wicket Defeat to Letchworth
By Will Ray
The 4’s travelled to Letchworth, buoyant after a comprehensive opening day win where everything went right.
Arriving at the ground on the site of an old mental hospital, several of the adult players felt very much at home. Hertford’s record at this ground in the centre of Fairfield Hall is not good – no-one that has ever played there can recall a win, or even a competitive game…
Skipper Horton called incorrectly and was inserted on a damp wicket. The contrasting styles of openers Finn Morgan and Captain Horton were evident but both seemed to be seeing the ball well and making progress (despite Morgan being dropped three times and missed being stumped twice!). They progressed to 27 before Horton missed a straight one, bringing veteran Dave Spring to the wicket. A few balls later Dave missed one down the leg side and seemingly oblivious to the fact there is a wicketkeeper who might catch the ball, set off for a single. He was stumped. With basic errors like this Dave might find value in spending some time on Sunday morning with Alex Prentice getting some Kwik cricket practice.
All was not lost though. The captain had referred to his middle order of Pickering, Eaton and Kildare before the game as ‘the engine room’ of the innings. Unfortunately, the entire ‘engine room’ malfunctioned and contributed 1 run between them which led to panic setting in among the lower order as they scrambled to get their pads on like rabbits running at the sound of a farmers shotgun.
Finn finally picked out a fielder that could catch, as did Matt Ahl, however some lower order strokeplay (slogging) from Dave Benham, George Rideout and Isaac Medcalf managed to allow the side to avoid the embarrassment of a double figure score – just (104).
An excellent tea followed whilst the captain plotted how he would defend such a low score. Eaton’s insistence that he would ‘do some damage’ if he opened up from the pavilion end sadly fell on deaf ears – a decision the captain would likely live to regret. As the Hertford team took to the field they did notice something different about their new wicketkeeper George Rideout – he informed them that he doesn’t wear pads (or a box) when keeping wicket. To be fair he kept wicket well but it could be a long season of bruised shins and blackened balls for him given the uneven surfaces we sometimes play on.
Matt Ahl and Finn Morgan opened the bowling and were exceptional. Matt picked up 2 wickets and Finn unlucky not to get any – he had used all his luck up whilst batting! Sadly, Matt’s two wickets were all that Hertford picked up. The lack of further success was primarily down to poor fielding from Hertford. 5 catches went down.
Hertford left with their tails between their legs on a day when most things went wrong. Next week the batsmen will need to learn how to cope with a ball bowled at the stumps, the fielders must learn that if the ball is in the air it needs to be caught and the captain must learn to listen when Richard Eaton is offering to bowl.
Author – Richard Eaton