Hertfordshire saw off Bedfordshire in the Unicorns one-day Trophy on Sunday in a wonderful game of cricket which could have gone either way until the final delivery.
On an absolute belter of a pitch, Bedfordshire – having been put in – hammered 325-5 from their 50 overs.
It looked to be a winning total, but the Herts batsmen matched them blow for blow with the last pair getting them home in the final over.
Bedfordshire welcomed back talented youngsters James Kettleborough and Rob Keogh, who were released for the game by Northamptonshire, and it was they who laid the foundation for a big total with a second wicket partnership of 130.
Keogh fell for 64 off 62 balls but Kettleborough went on to hammer 114 and when he was out, skipper Andy Reynoldson took charge, smashing 12 fours and a six as he raced to 81 not out off just 53 balls.
In reply, Herts were given a great start by Jeyaratnam, who went on to make 91, and Ballard (50) with an opening partnership of 112.
Beds stuck to their task with George Bacon grabbing three wickets and Reynoldson two, and when the sixth Herts wicket went down at 210, the home side were favourites.
But Southgate and Latham then put on 72 before Latham was caught on the boundary for 34. Southgate remained firm as Herts went past 300, but White was out with eight runs needed and Lamb run out with the score on 323.
The Beds fielders closed in, but last man Greenall squeezed the ball between them for the winning runs.
> Hemel Town
A closely fought game in the Herts League Premier Division was finally decided when Hemel Town I’s Brett Penny bowled Potters Bar batsman Jamie Icke with two balls to go of the 50 overs.
Batting first, Hemel made 242-8 with 65 from newcomer Adam Winchester.
Having been 172-5 after 40 overs, 70 in the last 10 saw Hemel to a defendable total.
Potters Bar’s reply was largely built around the 91 from Harry Palmer. Hemel had to keep chipping away at the other batsmen, almost gave it away a couple of times, but once Gareth James had taken Palmer the job was almost done.
Icke kept Potters’ hopes going but he was finally snared with two balls to go.
Smart thinking from skipper for the day Graham Clark gave Hemel Town II the upper hand which enabled them to seize victory away at Redbourn.
Put in, Hemel hit 209-6, with 88 from Matt Potton and 44 n/o from Matt Dale.
Clark then declared giving Hemel more overs to bowl Redbourn out. And the extra overs were needed as the last pair lasted 10 overs before Bryan Davies took his sixth wicket to end up with 6-42 and seal victory for Hemel.
Hemel Town III managed to sneak a one-wicket win away to Bentley Heath which was a very tight run thing.
Putting Bentley in and bowling them out for 118, Hemel must have felt quite chuffed. 4-29 for Rory Fraser, 2-9 for Ed Langley and 2-36 from Scott Radcliffe shared the wickets around.
Then Hemel’s batting struggled and they were largely dependent and very grateful for 35 from Andy Turbutt batting at number 6.
A knock of 15 from Scott Radcliffe and 10 from Ed Langley saw them closer until last pair Billy May (16 n/o) and Rory Fraser (2 n/o) saw them home.
Hemel Town IV thought they were in after Richard Morton (6-33) and Rahul Wickramsinghe (3-27) saw off Reed III for just 140.
Unfortunately Hemel’s batting was not up to it and Reed bowled them out for just 99.
Andy Burgess top scored with 33, but 13 from Dave Jenkins and 11 from Jim Langley and Ben Dumpleton were not enough to save Hemel from a 41-run defeat.
Stout rearguard action from Trevor Radcliffe (30 n/o) and Dan Turbutt (4 n/o) for five overs saved the day for Hemel Town V as they held on for a draw on the first game on the new nursery ground at Hemel’s Heath Park.
Batting first, Bushey III had been in trouble at 59-4 after 20 overs but 56 from their skipper Khurram Nawaz and 45 from Muhammad Ahsan saw them through to over 200.
Figures of 2-44 for Rahul Kedia and 2-50 for Chris Pearson were the best Hemel bowling figures.
Hemel managed to make it up to 100-4 after 30 overs but then fell away until saved by Radcliffe and Turbutt.
Mike Samuels (41), Jim Birnie (21) and Chris Wright (13) at the top of the order had seen them there until it fell away.
> Abbots Langley
On Saturday in the Saracens League, Abbots Langley I fell to a four-wicket defeat against Radlett II.
Batting first, steady contributions from Dave Carlisle (34), Jimmy Davies (24), Steve Wallis (23) and Jack Read (22), saw Abbots stumble to a disappointing 132 all out.
Although Abbots took six wickets in reply, with Wallis bagging three, Radlett cantered home in 42 overs.
Abbots Langley II suffered their second defeat of the season, this time by 10 runs, in a low scoring game against Letchworth GC III.
Fielding first, Abbots openers Dan Roche and Neel Patel bowled tightly, with Patel finishing his six overs with 3-20 to leave Letchworth struggling at 53-4.
They rallied to 90-4, before spinner Andrew Rueth brought Abbots back into the game by taking 4-30 as Letchworth slumped to 128 all out.
Jack Bishop (17), and Will Graves (31) saw Abbots to 60-1 and then Roche added a quick 21.
At 78-3, Abbots looked comfortably placed, but no-one else stayed for long in the middle order as Abbots fell disappointingly short.
Abbots Langley III opened their league season with a defeat against Pirton.
Batting first, Pirton looked like they were on their way to 200 when they reached 80-2 in 20 overs.
However, the evergreen pair of Bob Russell (4-10) and Parish Solanki (2-18) stopped the run scoring, and it was left to young James Allan (2-10) to bowl Pirton out for 155.
Abbots didn’t find things any easier in reply as they slumped to 25-4, but Clive Winder (22), and Lee Rossitter (29) gave them a glimmer of hope. Unfortunately it wasn’t enough as they were bowled out for 112.
Abbots Langley IV won their first league game by 42 runs against Boxmoor IV in a very low scoring match on a minefield of a wicket.
Abbots were bowled out for a lowly 103 with only Andy Woodard with a patient 39 and Cameron Khan (13), reaching double figures.
Boxmoor found the wicket even more difficult as they were bowled out for 61. Jerry Graves (4-11) and Khan (3-1) took Abbots to victory.
Abbots Langley Sunday I won a friendly against Gaieities by 39 runs.
Jack Read hammered a fine 118 and another good knock of 60 not out by Will Graves saw Abbots reach 250-3 declared.
All of the Abbots bowlers chipped in with wickets and the opposition were bowled out for 211.
Batting first on a beautiful sunny day, Berkhamsted I were looking for their first victory of the campaign against Cheshunt but quickly found the going tough against a disciplined attack.
Wickets fell regularly, leaving Berkhamsted 4 down for 50, but Luke Frey (43) and Riaz Richards (69) rebuilt the innings with a mixture of defence and attack, closing on a reasonable score of 185-6
In reply, Josh Roberts took an early Cheshunt wicket to put the pressure of the away side, however the next pair batted well, and took the score to 100.
Although Berko chipped away throughout, the Cheshunt captain’s knock of 77 took the game away and the visitors hit the winning runs in the penultimate over to win by four wickets. Richards took 4-58.
Elsewhere, in a low scoring match at Hatfield Hyde, Berkhamsted II lost by nine runs despite bowling the opposition out for just 100.
Bowling first, Ian Merrett (3-23), Ian Campbell (3-25) and Mark Lewarne (3-32) snared three wickets apiece to keep Hatfield’s total down.
However, in reply Berko always gave Hatfield the belief that they were in the game as no pair were able to stay in long enough, and the hosts bagged the win.
The following day, Berkhamsted Sunday I did well to restrict Old Berkeley to 186 on a good batting track, especially as after 20 overs the opposition were 110-2.
Fielding was disciplined and all the bowlers chipped in with wickets.
In reply, Berkhamsted lost two quick wickets before debutante Darren Gower-Jackson joined Luke Frey at the crease, and quickly the pair took the game away from Old Berkeley.
After putting on a century stand, Frey was caught for a well crafted 41, but this did not prevent Gower-Jackson (88 n/o) from kicking on.
With good support from Ian Putnam (25 n/o), Berkhamsted coasted to victory by seven wickets.
> Leverstock Green
It was three wins out of four for Leverstock Green across the Herts League divisions, with Dave Tyson’s first XI making Ickleford regret inserting them at Bedmond Road in Division Two.
A majestic 95 from Kyle Claxton was backed up by an unbeaten 50 from Marc Simonds and 37 from opener Lewis Koch as Green amassed 200-4 declared.
Ickleford’s middle-order proved tough to remove, but Simonds’ leg-spin removed the visitor’s lynchpin Matt Bowyer before three-wicket Brad Klosterman wrapped up a 52-run victory with a direct-hit run-out and a brilliant one-handed catch.
Leverstock Green II lost just one wicket chasing 135 for victory at Hoddesdon II.
Opener Ben Parkes hit 81 and partner David Coulshed remained unbeaten on 53 as Levy reached their target with nine wickets in hand.
Earlier, both Imran Iqbal and captain Dayle Littlejohn took three Hodd wickets apiece.
Leverstock Green III scored 97 for the second consecutive weekend – but this time it proved enough for victory at Harpenden Dolphins, who were skittled for 85 thanks in the main to 4-18 from ‘Shotgun’ Steve May.
Dropped catches proved costly for Leverstock Green IV, who posted 113 at home to Watford Town IV with Ash Ali’s 38 and 24 from Chris Bauldreay the batting highlights.
Tight bowling from Ali, Dom Clarke and Dave Cardy helped make a fight of things but Town reached their target with five wickets in hand.
> Kings Langley
Kings Langley I slipped to a three-wicket defeat at the hands of Dunstable in Herts League Division One.
Batting first, Kings could only manage 118 all out in the 45th over, with Ricky Mohamed top scoring with 48 and Simon Walker (13) the only other batsman to hit double figures.
In reply, Dunstable reached their target in the 39th over with Christian James taking 5-24 and Mark Brazier taking 2-47.
In Herts League Division Six, Kings Langley II recorded their first win of the season as they beat Codicote by two wickets.
Codicote batted first and were bowled out for 177 with Richard Whitlock taking 4-53, Ben Joyce 3-28, Tony Morton 2-37 and Duane Smith 1-24.
Kings scored steadily in reply and, thanks to Andrew Colquhoun (45), Rich Davies (37 n/o), Tim Piper (29), Ben Joyce (19), Kevin Rolfe (18) and Tony Morton (16), they reached their target in the 47th over.
Elsewhere, Kings Langley III were held to a frustrating draw by Knebworth Park IV in Division Nine as the home side finished on 189-9 after Kings had posted a commanding total of 244-4.
Tom Templeton scored 63 not out and debutante Martin Hendy added 53 not out.
Josh Oldham then took five wickets for Kings, with Templeton taking two and David Burnell snaring one, but they couldn’t take the last wicket.