St Albans Cricket Club 3XI v Little Berkhampstead Sahibs on Sat 12 Aug 2023 at 13:00
St Albans Cricket Club Won by 8 wickets

Match report Following last week’s washout, the equation for the 3XI heading into their showdown against Little Berkhamsted Sahibs was that 30 points earned, coupled with any slip up from 2nd placed Hitchin would result in promotion as champions being all but secured for the 3s machine. Little Berko having given the Saints their toughest test of their season thus far in the reverse fixture was a reminder that standards could not be dropped, and coasting to the title was by no means an option – especially as the dynamic duo of Wilton and Murphy, who’s wonderful partnership had secured the victory last time round against this opposition, had been dropped to the 2s for this week.

With raindrops peppering the returning flexi stumps after their 4-week hiatus inside skipper West’s car boot, the start for the day was slightly delayed but no overs were forfeited. To Winfield’s utter disdain, West decided to deploy a different strategy this week and bowl upon winning the toss, denying his VC the much-needed recovery time he has become so accustomed to from 13:00-16:00 this season. Winners and Davey started things off with the ball in hand, with the former striking in his 2nd over – Nick seemingly waiting an age for an edge to float to him in the cordon.

The next opportunity came in the form of a run out chance, with their remaining opener bunting one to the onrushing skipper at mid-off. West and the 3s paid the price for him being on hitting duty in the warmup and not actually practicing his own throws, as it was just a tad too wayward for JD to have any chance behind the stumps to remove the non-striker without facing. However, he’d have to depart the field of play anyway, that quick single just too much too soon for his hamstring it seemed.

The opposition now effectively 2 down, some looser bowling towards the end of both their spells saw Winners and Davey make way for the equally capable West and Tooley. Zach’s first over going for 13 with him getting extremely unlucky as the ball continuously rolled past the motionless Richard in the field. On the other hand, Tooley’s first set was a wicket maiden, which inspired West to follow his lead as he returned the same result in his 2nd – removing the dangerous and feared Jaggers with a calculated full toss which Murray pouched expertly.

From 66-1 (12), the 3XI had clawed Little Berko back to 88-4 at drinks thanks to the tight bowling of the evergreen O’Toole – who unbeknownst to the rest of his team was celebrating his 72nd birthday (many happy returns, Richard). The birthday boy continued after drinks finishing with figures of 8-2-16-2, meanwhile Speller had picked up the duties at the other end and after some looseners got into a good rhythm and struck in his 4th to remove the last of their top 6. 2 overs later he would have 2 more, both bowled. Saints well on their way to skittling Little Berko for under 120.

Nick finished off proceedings after replacing Tooley, spurned on by his skipper forever threatening to remove him from the attack – a ploy he has used many times to great effect this year, clearly knowing how to make the off-spinner Ralfe tick. With the opposition closing on 121 all out, this was a solid recovery from the early lull in the field.

With JD’s keeping exploits being too much for his body to handle, he made way for 3XI debutant Ahaan Dean to partner stalwart Stu in the middle and commence our chase. The pair started well working their way to 36-0 after 6 overs, with Stu finding the rope early and staying busy, with Ahaan striking nicely off the back foot through the covers, and cleanly over mid-on for a boundary. Unfortunately, he would then depart to a great catch from the diving Jaggers as he mistimed one high into the air which looked to be dropping safe. West joined Stu, and it seems the departure of young Ahaan lead to the floodgates of pent up chat pouring out from the opposition. West mainly the victim as his comparison to Harry Kane was as confusing as it was distracting for the skipper, as the sad truth of the impending demise of his beloved Spurs filled his thoughts for the next few balls.

Stu depositing the verbal Tracey for 6 went some way to stemming the flow of goading remarks, but soon afterwards the field would be buzzing as the coasting Murray showcased an astounding display of ‘lacks a daisy’ regard for one’s own wicket, with a direct hit from square leg sending him packing as he ambled back to safety with a run never on the cards. JD, now fully recovered, joined West with the score at 54-2.

The skipper assumed the role of the aggressor, and duly copped some friendly remarks from bowler Tracey and his sidekick Jaggers as he followed up a lofted drive with 2 false shots. After seeing off his spell, West began to tuck into the spin bowling on offer looking to bring an end to proceedings sooner rather than later, with umpire Tooley sensing rain. With the result all but secured as the 20 over mark was reached, West and JD didn’t take long to knock off the remaining 10 runs. West gubbing an agricultural single to long on brought up his first league half-century of the season, with JD locking up the 30 points soon after.

Another dominant display from the 3XI sees the win streak extend to 11 in a row. The news of Hitchin faltering in their game vs Bentley Heath means that the Saints now only require 13 points from their next 3 games to be confirmed as champions of 8A. The champagne is very much on ice for next week as they travel to Datchworth to hopefully secure glory at the first time of asking.

Little Berkhampstead Sahibs Batting
Player name RunsMB4s6sSR
1nb 1w 4b  
for 10 wickets
121 (34.5 overs)
R Tait ct  N Ralfe b J Winfield 13
R Cheema ct  R O'Toole b R O'Toole 21
K Shahzad Not Out  0
R Jaggers ct  S Murray b Z West 28
A Marso b  R O'Toole 0
M Marley ct  J Winfield b J Speller 22
A Khan ct  N Ralfe b N Ralfe 17
J Syed b  J Speller 2
M Saif b  J Speller 0
J Tracey ct  N Ralfe b N Ralfe 7
B Ahmed run out  (Unsure) 0

St Albans Cricket Club 3XI Bowling

Player NameOversMaidensRunsWicketsAverageEconomy
Jacob Winfield6.0124124.004.00
Sam Davey5.002900.005.80
Zach West5.0126126.005.20
Richard O'Toole8.021628.002.00
Jamie Speller7.011936.332.71
Nick Ralfe3.51623.001.57

St Albans Cricket Club 3XI Batting
Player Name RMB4s6sSRCatchesStumpingsRun outs
3nb 8w  
for 2 wickets
Stuart Murray run out  (Unsure) 34 34 4 1 100 1
Ahaan Dean ct  Unsure b J Tracey 11 20 1 55.00
Zach West Not Out  50 47 7 106.38
Iain Curtis Not Out  16 32 3 50.0
Nick Ralfe   3
Ben Hicks  
B Glazier  
Richard O'Toole   1
Jacob Winfield   1
Sam Davey  
Jamie Speller  

Little Berkhampstead Sahibs Bowling

Player nameOversMaidensRunsWicketsAverageEconomy
A Khan0.40700.0010.50

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