St Albans Cricket Club 4XI v Hoddesdon 3XI on Sat 19 Aug 2023 at 13:00
St Albans Cricket Club Won by 156 runs

Match report As we move into the final weeks of the season a return to Sandpit Lane beckoned for the 4s, as they looked to secure a top half of the table finish in their inaugural year in Div 9A.

It was doom and gloom that greeted the team though on Saturday morning, with skipper Saunders calling for stiff brooms, mops and a leaf blower (borrowed from nearby tree surgeons) to ensure the game went ahead. The pitch at Sandpit Lane had been protected by a cover sheet overnight , which unfortunately had a large hole in it , with one end of the pitch soaked and an emergency clean-up job required.

After half an hour of frantic blotting, blowing and mopping the pitch showed some semblance of being playable, and with that the captains strode to the middle to perform the toss. The Hoddesdon captain called correctly and invited the mighty 4s to bat, little did they know this would be their only victory of the afternoon.

Trusted to open proceedings were the ever-reliable Nisar and Curtis, who looked to build a strong opening partnership through rotating the strike and punishing the bad balls. The Hoddesdon openers were decent bowlers, with one beating the bat a couple of times and striking JD on the gloves on occasion as he used the Lane’s variable bounce to his advantage. At the other end of the pitch the other opener struggled with his footing as a result of the damp pitch (with the skipper despatched after several overs to a local pet supply store to purloin a bag of sawdust). This combination presented enough chances for Curtis and Nisar to score, with some lusty blows driving a run rate of over 5 in the first 10 overs.

Reader, there are over 650 muscles in the human body, and in this week’s game Curtis proceeded to pull his 649th muscle of the season, a tight hamstring led to the opener declaring it was a “Hit out or get out” policy from here on out, and shortly after he obliged, a belligerent 44 ended by a steepling catch on the boundary , a great platform built by the opener.

At three came A. Dean Sr, looking to build on his recent strong run of form. What we didn’t know about Ash is that he’s great at BBQing and shortly after arriving at the crease he demonstrated this ability by calling for a run that Usain Bolt would have struggled to make in his prime. Nisar run out on 20, a good innings that looked very fluent from the batsman and could have been more. Dean Sr was then joined by Dean Jr, which is one of the real highlights of village cricket, seeing two generations of a family playing together.

Unfortunately, this week wasn’t the week for Dean Jr, and after a couple of attractive shots that didn’t pierce the field, he was caught on 0. Replacing him was Mistry, who had declared earlier that he was remarkably short of game time but has a mate who captains the Sunday 1s so he gets picked anyway. The lack of game time didn’t stop the batsman, who struck a huge six and multiple 4s as the pair accelerated the run rate after drinks. Throughout this time Dean Sr had been accruing runs in a chanceless fashion, striking multiple balls to the boundary and rotating the strike well. Mistry would unfortunately be bowled on 30, going for one final hoorah, an unfortunate end to a good innings.

Rayden marched to the crease and with Dean Sr set about getting the St Albans score as close to 200 as possible. He played some remarkable shots in the next 10 overs, including multiple ramps, lap sweeps and proper cricket shots which lead to a barrage of boundaries. A not out 42 for the young man, who looked every bit as accomplished with the bat as he always does, we all just wish he played more cricket for SACC. At the other end Dean continued his innings in impervious form, reaching his 50 with a couple of overs left of the innings, a seriously good season for that man. 221 was the total set by the 4s, a big score on not the easiest of wickets.

After a short tea interval, the team returned to the field with the instructions of bowling out the opposition and not letting the game go the whole 40 overs. Davey and Winfield would be trusted to take the new ball, with the former marking out his run up at the top end without even asking his partner (Disrespectful from Davey if you ask me). The first few overs went without real impact from either side, with multiple plays and misses a few bad balls but very few runs.

It wasn’t until the 5th over that the stand would be broken, Winfield with a trademark LBW dismissal that left the batsman bewildered as to what had happened. It must be noted that Winfield had him plumb LBW the over before, only to be given two different reasons for the wicket not to be given. At the other end Davey finally found some consistency, bowling the other opener with a classic away swinger that saw the off stump cartwheel out of the ground (It didn’t really, Davey hasn’t ever had that pace).

This started somewhat of a miniature collapse for Hoddesdon, with the lack of runs meaning the game was effectively already out of sight after the first 10 overs. Davey would pick up his second and third in successive overs, bowling both in the same fashion as the first wicket, flicking the top of off stump with away swing beating the bat. At the same time Winfield had seriously found his groove and picked up his second wicket, this man is seriously consistent and is always reliable for the 4s, a modern-day Jimmy Anderson. The openers finished with figures of 8-1-5-3 for Davey and 7-2-11-2 for Winfield, restricting the first 15 overs to less than 20 runs. Seriously tight stuff.

To replace Winfield was Awonuga, who settled into his rhythm almost immediately, bowling his trademark left arm spin. At the other end Saunders replaced Davey and similarly found his mark almost immediately. At this point one Hoddesdon batter decided to dig in and would bat for the next 20 overs for very few runs, but St Albans struggled to get him out. However, they were able to pick up wickets at the other end, Awonuga bowling some really impressive overs that both built pressure and challenged the inside and outside edge of the Hoddesdon players. He would pick up his first wicket about halfway through his spell, and soon after wickets two and three followed. One a smart stumping from Rayden and the other two bowling the batsman as Awonuga found turn and variable bounce. The young man’s best figures for SACC, 8-3-13-3, a really impressive display from a player who has bowled really well throughout the season.

Saunders at the other end kept the run rate tight and built pressure for his bowling partner, he was unlucky not to take a wicket but ended with figures of 8-2-13-0, the type of economy a British Government could only dream of. Entrusted with cleaning up the tail were A. Dean Jr and Arif, both of whom immediately looked too good for the batsman. Dean would pick up his first ever adult wicket shortly after starting his bowling spell and soon all the disappointment of the batting was forgotten. It was seriously great to see the excitement and smile caused by a first wicket, and thoroughly deserved.

Hoddesdon would lose their final wicket with the score on 65, a comfortable 160 run win for the 4s, who looked dominant throughout. There was some slight frustration in the bowling innings where the Hoddesdon lower order dug in and showed some resistance, but overall, the 4s never looked like losing this game. Next week a trip to Broxbourne beckons, with the prospect of reigniting the rivalry of last season.

Fineable Moments:

• JD for pulling yet another muscle but declaring he would have got 100 if he hadn’t.

• Dean Sr for running out Manny.

• Saunders for declaring he wouldn’t float it up in case it ruined his figures.

• Mardelli Sporting Moment of the Game:

• The father and son duo’s on show at Sandpit Lane, with Dean’s batting at the same time for the 4s. Nisar Jr bowling while his father batted on the adjacent pitch. And Curtis Jr and Sr both contributing heavily to the results in their games.

St Albans Cricket Club 4XI Batting
Player Name RunsMB4s6sSRCtStRo
14nb 4w 2b  
for 4 wickets
Nauman Nisar Run out  20 1
Iain Curtis Caught  44 6 1
Ashish Dean Not Out  65 6
Ahaan Dean Caught  0 1
Sam Mistry Bowled  30 3 1
Thomas Rayden Not Out  42 3 2
Nadeem Arif  
Sam Davey  
Alexis Awonuga  
Tim Winfield  
Andy Saunders  

Hoddesdon 3XI Bowling

Player nameOversMaidensRunsWicketsAverageEconomy
No records to display.

Hoddesdon 3XI Batting
Player name RMB4s6sSR
5w 1b  
for 10 wickets
65 (35.5 overs)

St Albans Cricket Club 4XI Bowling

Player NameOversMaidensRunsWicketsAverageEconomy
Sam Davey8.01531.670.63
Tim Winfield7.021125.501.57
Alexis Awonuga8.031334.331.62
Andy Saunders8.021300.001.62
Ahaan Dean2.50723.502.47
Nadeem Arif2.00800.004.00