St Albans Cricket Club 4XI v St Margaretsbury 3XI on Sat 07 May 2022 at 13:00
St Albans Cricket Club Lost by 3 wickets

Match report The first league match of the season and hopes for a positive start were, as always, high. Unusually good availability for this time of year saw a strong 4XI arrive at a drizzly Sandpit Lane where skipper Saunders, as in now customary, lost the toss and Saints were put into bat by an impressively youthful opposition.

It was a bad toss to lose. The rain of the last 24 hours and overhead gloom had slickened the hard surface after months of low rainfall and from the off the wicket was spicy, not uneven but with steepling bounce that was put to good use by youthful opening bowler Elkington.

Openers Mani Nisar & Andy Rudlin dug in in the difficult conditions, but the usually dependable run machine Mani got a sharp one early that caught his glove and he exited on 3.

There then followed a batting capitulation of epic proportions around Andy Rudlin who was the only batsman who looked assured and ended his innings on a very creditable 53. Apart from his half century the other scores were – 3, 0, 0, 7, 4, 6, 0, 6, 0, 0*. Extras second top scored with 22.

So, thank the Lord for Rudders without whom this would have been an extremely early finish, but even though this was shockingly bad performance with the bat it was felt there was still a game to chase and with a decent bowling line-up all was not lost.

The Saints opened their attack with Saud Fattah, running in off two steps after a serious knee injury last season, but still generating surprising pace and movement and Prath ‘PD’ Deshpande whose wobbling in-duckers were perfect for the conditions. Both kept things tight and after 10 overs the opposition batsmen were somewhat stuck in their creases.

PD snared the first victim with a beautiful ball and with that breakthrough hopes were high for more wickets.

At drinks St Margaretsbury were 20 runs behind where Saints were at the same stage and progressing slowly but still with 9 wickets in hand. Veterans Andy Saunders and Nadeem Arif came into the attack as a left arm/right arm combination with Arif bowling his usual tight lines and Saunders picking up 2 quick wickets with pace off the ball.

Youngster Lucas Berry was then thrown the ball by the skipper and made an instant impact. The timid youth of last year had enjoyed something of a spurt in both growth and confidence since he last appeared in adult cricket and pinged the ball down with eyebrow raising pace. He smashed through the middle order in no time at all and was on a hattrick at one point, taking 3 wickets in his impressive 6 over spell.

But it was never going to be enough – some untidy fielding, 20 unnecessary extras and ultimately too few runs on the board meant that in reality this was always going to be a comfortable chase and even though they were 7 wickets down St Margaretsbury secured the victory with 5 overs to spare.

There is no need to panic – it’s a long season with plenty of opportunities to mount a promotion challenge. With decent availability though, selection will be a challenge moving forward and those who do want to play league cricket regularly are strongly advised to spend some time in the nets working on their individual skills.

St Albans Cricket Club 4XI Batting
Player Name RunsMB4s6sSRCtStRo
7nb 7w 6b 2lb 
for 10 wickets
Nauman Nisar ct Elkington 3
Andy Rudlin ct Jocelyn 53
Najib Khan b Elkington 0
Prathamesh Deshpande b Levecett 0
Lucas Berry b Jocelyn 7
Alfie Button ct Anstead 4
Saud Fattah Run out  6
John Webber b Jocelyn 0
Nadeem Arif b Watmore 6
Prath Khatavkar b Anstead 0
Andy Saunders Not Out  0

St Margaretsbury 3XI Bowling

Player nameOversMaidensRunsWicketsAverageEconomy
J. Elkington6.5323211.503.37
C. Watmore6.3215115.002.31
M. Leverett5.0214114.002.80
G. Hicks3.00900.003.00
R. Jocelyn6.031133.671.83
M. Anstead4.1021210.505.04

St Margaretsbury 3XI Batting
Player name RMB4s6sSR
3nb 11w 4b 2lb 
for 7 wickets
103 (35.4 overs)
R.Jocelyn ct Khavaktar 42
D. Browne b Deshpande 11
N .Anstead b Saunders 0
G. Bentley lbw Saunders 10
B. Southall ct Berry 6
N. Hartley b Berry 0
D. McMahon lbw Berry 5
C .Watmore Not Out  4
G. Hicks Not Out  4
M. Leverett  
J. Elkington  

St Albans Cricket Club 4XI Bowling

Player NameOversMaidensRunsWicketsAverageEconomy
Saud Fattah5.031100.002.20
Prathamesh Deshpande8.0412112.001.50
Nadeem Arif7.001800.002.57
Andy Saunders8.0024212.003.00
Lucas Berry6.002638.674.33
Prath Khatavkar2.01515.002.50