Wheathampstead II v St Albans Cricket Club 3XI on Sat 11 Aug 2018 at 1pm
St Albans Cricket Club Won by 2 runs

Match report On this second Saturday in August, the 3s travelled to Wheathampstead for a crucial fixture as they continued their fight to avoid relegation, a battle in which their opponents were similarly stuck.

Rain, a recently forgotten element of the English summer, had left the Nomansland outfield and wicket a little wet. Upon winning the the toss, the host’s skipper had little hesitation in bowling first.

This quickly looked like the right decision, with the ball pinging off the wicket - but ever so slowly. Ferguson was unable to resist a short offering outside off stump, but steered the ball to point. Knilll-Jones too fell foul of the slowness in the wicket, pushing forward to be caught at short cover. Khan, however, had started well, punishing the poor balls when they came. Parkinson, too, settled in, and the pair added 59, before Khan departed for a fine 36.

Typically, the St Albans wobble followed, 4 wickets falling for 13. A crucial partnership followed, with Parkinson building momentum and Hancock striking the ball firmly to progress the score to 140. The tail added a few more runs, supporting Parkinson who finished on 62, a second successive half century, compiled over nearly 40 overs of watchful batting. Saints finished on 179, but fell short of batting out their 50 overs. Would that be a fateful flaw?

With a variety of bowling resources to call on, and a pitch that was not easy to bat on, Saints took some confidence onto the field, having rediscovered the winning feeling over the previous two matches.

The returning Andy Milnes struck the first blow, Hancock leaping high at short cover to take a catch in his fingertips, the first in a sequence of terrific catches. A second wicket fell to Milnes, who was working into a good rhythm, before Li and Maskell got Wheathampstead moving. But a couple of fine catches - Walker, stumbling back at mid-off to take one over his head, and Parkinson remarkably taking one over his shoulder running down the slope - saw the back of this pair. Wheathampstead were 50/4, putting Saints on top. Milnes completed a fine spell, ten overs straight for 4/31.

Wheathampstead needed something now, and got it, with Ishaq and Zaman, pushing the score along at a good rate, threatening to take the game away from Saints. Ashton and Islam bowled good spells, and the former nabbed the crucial breakthrough, West taking another stunning catch at deep mid off, diving forward to take the ball inches from the ground. Milnes, impressed again, noted that the 3s must have been doing intensive catching drills in his absence, given the quality on show - not quite Andy, but a little practice before fielding always helps.

There was a still a game to be won, though, Wheathampstead needing 61, and Saints 5 more wickets. It became a battle of attrition, wickets falling to West and Islam but runs accruing. Ashton, always forcing the batsman to do the work, then picked up the vital wicket of Ishaq and added another in the same over, leaving Wheato at 156/9.

A few cracks had appeared in the fielding now, a number of chances going down with the pressure on. McEwen, batting at 9, far lower than his capability deserved, kept threatening to smash the hosts home, as the target crept closer. But, not trusting his partner, he kept turning down the singles early in the over. For a few brief seconds, Saints felt the game was theirs, as the ball flew comfortably to Islam at mid off, only to see it fumble from his fingers. The Wicked Lady, across the road, was threatening to have her way.

A crucial intervention from the scorer followed. The skipper had failed to note that Ashton had completed his 10 overs (3/31), which forced a change for the 49th over, bringing Islam back to the attack. His third delivery was slashed to gully, a near impossible chance put down by Parkinson, and a single scored. Just three runs required now. Islam then produced a bit of magic to atone for his earlier drop, getting one through McEwen’s defences, to bring jubilation across the field.

Almost simultaneously, the rain took a turn for the worse - Wheathampstead would have won on run rate had this arrived a touch earlier, but instead they were left dispirited by defeat.

Another tremendous victory for the IIIs, the third in a row, and a second nail-biter of those three. This result has put a little distance between Saints and their rivals, but with the 8A division ladder so tight, there is still work to do. Well played, everyone, let’s keep up the momentum.

St Albans Cricket Club 3XI Batting
Player Name RunsMB4s6sSRCtStRo
1nb 10w 21b  
for 10 wickets
Harry Knill-Jones ct Li b Wellington 1 1
Steve Ferguson ct - b Wellington 4 1
Najib Khan ct - b Bashir 36 6
Charlie Parkinson ct - b Maskell 62 8 1
Zach West ct - b Babar 0 1
Nick Ralfe ct - b McEwen 1
Moksudul Islam ct - b Babar 6 1
David Hancock ct - b Bashir 23 2 1
Andrew Walker b Bashir 6 1
Andy Milnes Not Out  7 1
David Ashton lbw b Maskell 0 1

Wheathampstead II Bowling

Player nameOversMaidensRunsWicketsAverageEconomy

Wheathampstead II Batting
Player name RMB4s6sSR
3nb 7w 2b 1lb 
for 10 wickets
177 (48.4 overs)
Maskell ct Parkinson b Milnes 28 39 4 71.79
Danbury-Nolan ct Hancock b Milnes 4 11 1 36.36
Abeysekera lbw b Milnes 4 8 1 50.0
Li ct Walker b Milnes 10 30 1 33.33
Ishaq b Ashton 35 72 3 48.61
Zaman ct West b Ashton 45 41 7 109.76
Balser lbw b Islam 6 16 1 37.50
Porter ct Knill-Jones b West 2 7 28.57
McEwen b Islam 25 52 3 48.08
Wellington ct & b Ashton 0 5 0
Khan Not Out  5 19 1 26.32

St Albans Cricket Club 3XI Bowling

Player NameOversMaidensRunsWicketsAverageEconomy
Zach West10.0139139.003.90
Andy Milnes10.023147.753.10
Andrew Walker8.003100.003.87
Nick Ralfe1.00900.009.00
David Ashton10.0031310.333.10
Moksudul Islam9.4033216.503.41
Photos and video of Wheathampstead II v St Albans Cricket Club 3XI on Sat 11 Aug 2018 at 1pm

11/08/2018, Wheathampstead II vs St Albans III - Wheathampstead innings

11/08/2018, Wheathampstead II vs St Albans III - St Albans innings