IT was a mixed week for Redbourn Cricket Club, with the first XI narrowly missing out on their first win of the season.
Elsewhere, disappointing defeats for the second and third teams were offset by a tense victory for the fourth XI, who remain top of their league. The firsts thought they had done enough to secure a win against Bishop’s Stortford II, but in the end were made to settle for a draw.
Batting first, Redbourn lost three early wickets, before a 50-run partnership between Dean Dass and James Bunce (20) brought them back into the game.
With support from Gary Sandford and Darren Bassill, Dass pushed Redbourn past 150 before falling for 76.
Joseph Madyembwa then smashed 27 off just 12 balls, including four sixes as Redbourn ended on 185-8.
After the break, Redbourn’s opening bowlers failed to make any early headway as Stortford reached 74-0 at drinks.
However, with the run rate increasing and some fine bowling from Bassill and Dan Darvell (4-67), the wickets soon started to fall.
This was backed up by some excellent catching in the outfield, particularly from Paul Smith and Geoff Tookey.
When Bassill (5-46) took the ninth wicket with 11 balls remaining, Redbourn sensed victory, but Stortford safely negotiated the remaining deliveries to finish on 163-9.
It was a much improved display from Redbourn, which will give them confidence going into the local derby at Harpenden this weekend.
Elsewhere, Redbourn II suffered a heavy defeat at the hands of Radlett III.
Radlett batted first and amassed a daunting total of 248-5.
Dan Thatcher bowled with pace and aggression and deserved more than his 1-51 off 17 overs, but an overall lack of penetration cost dearly.
In response, youngster Will Hales impressed with 26 and Geoff Bartlett was looking in decent nick before falling for 18.
However, the other batsman never really got going as Redbourn were bowled out for just 118.
Redbourn III, meanwhile, suffered their first defeat of the season against a strong Mill Hill Village II team.
Redbourn started well by winning the toss and inserting Mill Hill, but early dropped catches, bowlers having difficulty in gripping the ball and fielding errors resulted in the batsmen building a score.
Finally, with the outfield drying and the sun on their backs, Redbourn were able to provide bursts of quality – with Conor Spicer bowling particularly well for his five wickets.
Mill Hill, however, came with a very strong bowling line up, and Redbourn got off to the worst possible start by losing two early wickets and falling behind the required run rate.
Dan Lennox batted well until he became one of three run-out victims, and Tom Cridland offered staunch resistance before seeing the last man run out.
The fourth side, meanwhile – the youngest senior team ever put out by the club – travelled to Whitwell to play Ickleford fourths and won a thrilling match with two wickets and less than two overs to spare.
The Redbourn side, which consisted of five U13s and three U14s, were asked to field and all ten wickets to fall were taken by the juniors.
Dean Flynn took the first wicket and debutante Jason Van Der Walt removed the other opener, but at 80-2 Ickleford looked poised to build a match-winning total.
Redbourn captain Jimmy Lee then introduced the spin twins Adam Pritchard (3-36) and Josh Arnold (5-22), who put the brakes on the batting side’s momentum and Ickleford’s innings ended in the 47th over on 138.
Redbourn’s reply started badly as both openers went for ducks, but Ed Hales (29) and Alastair Tyler (46) rebuilt the innings.
Hales went just after drinks before Tyler and Matthew Taylor took Redbourn to within sight of the finishing line, when Tyler was given out for handling the ball.
Two more wickets quickly followed but man of the match Taylor saw the side home and finished unbeaten on 22.