Hertford 4th XI in Thrilling Tie With Langleybury
By Will Ray
After a crushing defeat last week the 4’s welcomed Langleybury to a home fixture this week.
Skipper Horton lost the toss and was surprised (and pleased) to be inserted on what looked like a flat wicket. Upon hearing the news, previous skipper Dave Benham commented that ‘its probably because they have no batting and are worried we will skittle them for nothing’ The comment was duly noted and indeed this match report will return to it later.
Horton opened with himself and Matt Bartlam. Both made good progress and the score was on 63 when Matt was caught for 19. Springy joined Nick at the wicket and progressed the score steadily to 124 before Nick also was caught for an excellent 64. Ugen Gounder came to the wicket at number four in his first innings for the club and started well before upon taking a quick run seemed to take a sniper bullet to his hamstring and went down like a sack of spuds.
It was obvious he wasn’t going to be able to bat on even with a runner so limped off bringing Richard Eaton to the wicket. With around 15 (of our 45) overs left it was obvious someone needed to push the scoring rate significantly on a batting friendly wicket. Eaton didn’t disappoint and immediately set about the Langleybury bowling with a mix of his trademark ‘lofted on drives’ and “cross bat straight drives” (ed: all attempts from 4s technical director to describe them as “slogs” are refuted by the author), square cuts and inside edges past the keeper. Springy also was awoken from his slumber (either by Eaton’s aggressive approach or maybe a VERY close stumping appeal). Together the pair put on over 100, Eaton out in the penultimate over and Springy carrying his bat (It was noted at tea that he did mention to the skipper playing for his average on the last ball). Hertford closed on an imposing 259-3 from their 45 overs. Whilst it was a flat track and fast outfield Hertford felt confident of defending the total.
At tea with Ugen unable to field Hertford were grateful to Andre Rideout who borrowed some whites and agreed to field for us. He did insist on wearing the straw hat that he had come to watch the game in. Many felt he looked more like the ‘man from Del Monte’ however it’s fair to say some of his stops in the field were exceptional - stopping tracer bullet like shots cleanly with a single diving hand!
Hertford’s opening youthful pair of Matt Ahl and Flynn Ruskin bowled well and they were rewarded with an early wicket of the Langleybury opener. That said Langleybury continued to score at a good rate to keep in the game. It seemed that the introduction of Alex Bartlam would make the difference as Alex took 4-39 from his 9 overs. Despite regular wickets checking their progress Langleybury continued to regularly hit boundaries. Skipper Horton chased one of these boundaries and was the second Hertford player of the day to be shot by a sniper in the hamstring. With no more sub fielders around and the game still in the balance, a lame Nick decided to soldier on. It was Nick himself though who again turned the game with a spectacular stop and run out of the powerful number 3 batsman.
This left Langleybury still needing over 100 runs, 6 wickets down and needing somewhere around 8 per over. The number 6 and number 8 for Langleybury though got to grips quickly with the wicket and started to hit some powerful shots and things were starting to look tight. Hertford still looked in the ascendency though with Langleybury needing well over 30 from the last 3 overs. Some great shots and one top edge into the trees though changed all of this and going into the final over at 251-6 Langleybury looked favourites. Angus Kildare bowled an incredibly tight over and it came down to the last ball, 3 to win, 2 to tie. The ball was drilled to Dave Spring out on the boundary. Dave juggled, collected and returned the ball in a manner that one of the world’s best ten pin bowlers would have been proud of however it wasn’t enough to stop the batsmen getting back for 2 runs matching Hertford score of 259 – a tie!
Credit must go to Langleybury’s batting which just kept coming, all of the Hertford team who all contributed as well as the groundsman for preparing an excellent wicket. Dave Benham was reminded after the game of his pre match comments ‘its probably because they have no batting and are worried we will skittle them for nothing’. Overall the Hertford team left a little disappointed after being on top for much of the game however it was a great game and one that probably neither team deserved to lose.
Author: Richard Eaton
Editor and censorship: Nick Horton
Technical contributions: Dave Spring
4XI production ©2019