DIVISION TWO: Rickmansworth 230-8 (30pts) beat Northwood Town 229 (18pts) by two wickets
A PULSATING match ended in defeat for Northwood Town as 10-man Rick-mansworth sneaked home at Old Merchant Taylors ground.
The ground had an unmarked and very short boundary on one side so runs were almost guaranteed and while 459 were scored, Town were left to rue not scoring another 20, as well as dropping some crucial catches.
Rohan Lee scored an excellent century and Johanes Van EE produced another fine display with five for 67 but Town came up one wicket short of defeating short-handed opponents.
Skipper Raj Ahluwalia said: "We battled well if you consider all the elements and we had little to no luck. However, the top and middle order need to step up and support Rohan more and there is no doubt if we had taken our chances we would have won with ease so we only have ourselves to blame."
Town lost Dean Barker with just three on the board after electing to bat and Ahluwalia (24) was next to go as Zawar Hussain bowled a lot of short and fiery deliveries. Tim Piper (33) was looking good with Lee until he ran himself out trying to take a needless second run, leaving Town at 110 for four.
Lee continued his fine form as he anchored the innings and tried to force the pace, but the middle order offered little and at 152 for five Town were vulnerable. Dave Bushnell held firm and with Lee he got the score to 187 for six with plenty of overs in hand, before Lee was finally dismissed for a tremendous 111.
The visitors needed to up the pace and while they reached a decent total of 229, a disciplined performance in the field would be needed to claim all 30 points.
Rickmansworth lost an early wicket to an excellent run out by Van EE but they used the short boundary well, with Bushnell taking some stick as the hosts raced to 92 from 13 overs. Chris Lyons hit 86 yet, as was the story of the afternoon, a sitter was put down when he was on 15.
Van EE immediately found success on his introduction and the hosts slumped to 143 for six before Ahmed turned the game around with a match winning 58.
However, he was involved in another pivotal moment when he was clearly run out and indeed starting walking, before the umpire baffled everyone by declaring a dead ball. Van EE (5-67) also had some very close LBW calls turned down and despite battling to the bitter end
Town spilled a number of further chances as Rickmansworth crept home in the last over with just one wicket left. [25a0] The second XI made hard work of beating Hexton in a game they should have won with ease.
Hexton had only eight players yet after deciding to bat they still scored a competitive 196 all out, which could have been a lot more had they been slightly more patient. With Adam Hills out injured, Dave Harding and Neal Furmenger opened the bowling with Harding claiming two key wickets in a disciplined spell, before stand-in skip-per Mike Lister spread the ball around in search of wickets, knowing only seven were required.
Frustratingly, boundaries were too easy to come by for the Hexton batsmen on a good pitch with a fast out-field and they went for broke, punish
ing the bowling which was too short and wide. Town were generally happy to restrict them to 196 with Ben Rawson-Jones claiming three wickets before becoming Lister's fifth different opening partner in as many games.
They raced to 40 without loss but Lister, Cotton and Peacock soon fell playing loose shots and at 73 for three Town players watched on nervously.
Rawson-Jones then started to fire and he exploited the gaps, hitting sublime boundaries with a couple of lovely late cuts and several fours with his trademark sweep. Hexton still picked up middle order wickets and it was left to Rawson-Jones to bring home the win playing sensible cricket on his way to a superb 115 not out, taking Town home with Sean O'Neill (17 not out) as Town ended a losing run that dated back to May 17.