Hertford 4th XI Lose to Aldenham
By Will Ray
We arrived for the first time at Aldenham to a beautiful glass pavilion complete with beer garden and hanging baskets. Perfect, except the real pavilion was round the corner, less ornate but with far greater hospitality (more on that later).
Nick lost the toss, turned out in a strange way to be a good toss to loose (in another desperate attempt to keep you reading on – more on that later too). Aldenham decided to bat on a hard but slightly uneven surface.
Their skipper averaged over 180 in league cricket this season, and it soon became apparent why. He is clearly the most talented batsmen we have come across in Div. 9A. Ugen did get him out for 123 (great catch by bionic Steve) in the 21st over and took solace we had reduced his average somewhat! A combination of a small ground and a few too many full tosses allowed the game to get away from us in the first 15 overs, the score was over 130 for 0. With the other opening batsman (named “ebay”?!) registering only 20 runs in that partnership.
We brought the fielders back in “normal” fielding positions and Ugen and returning Dave provided control over the game. For the rest of the innings the cricket was normalised and we did well to restrict a strong batting line up in a small ground to 330. Matt Ahl had a difficult opening spell, understandable given the pressure he was under, but much to his credit returned for 2 great death overs and got his deserved rewards for his bravery. Other positives from their innings : Angus Kildare rediscovered his leg-spin, and George Rideout dropped the gloves to bowl some sharp away swing and took his first wicket “since 8th grade”; and Matt Day bowled with good control until he started to tire at the end of his spell.
A lot of leather chasing took its toll on the more seasoned members of the side. Nick limped off with his knee resembling a grapefruit after trying to relive his youth with a sliding stop on a lumpy hard outfield and was offered, with less than a normal amount of sympathy, a sherry glass with two ice cubes by that “charming” village pub as a remedy. The fatigue showed in Hertford’s reply as we were reduced to 22 for 4 in reply by a combination of some uneven bounce with the new ball and some tired looking shots.
It would have been easy to “give up” on a hopeless task at this point but as in the first innings we did not. Rich and Springy rebuilt to innings, Rich top scoring with 38 and then all-rounders, Dave, Angus and Ugen went out and showed the batsmen how it should be done with contributions right down the order. The innings came down to last man Matt Ahl going out with one over remaining having been given strict instructions not to loose his wicket. Task completed, Hertford went home having used up our 45 overs, not been bowled out, 5 batting points for getting to 170 and 13 points in total. Good toss to lose, we may not have got 13 points batting first, not too bad considering the one-sided nature of the game.