1st XI Reports

2020 1st XI Match Reports

Cockfosters 208-8 beat Bayford and Hertford 182-10 by 26 runs

After a very short season, the last game of the season was upon us already as we set up to host Bayford and Hertford. Whilst we knew that we only needed 7 points to secure the title (200 runs or 7 wickets), the side’s focus was always on trying to get a 7 wins out of 7 record. As per tradition, the pre match football was a belter of a match. The timely return of Will Herbert in goal meant that Stoke had the upper hand over a very understrength Bayern side. Goals from James, Dan and Tom Slevin were enough to see off the Bayern side who had goals from Sam and Adam and a penalty which was saved by Will (Holmes was the taker after diving for it in the first place). The only booking was Mr Barker as T. Hutton’s patience ran short of all the complaining. After the game, Sam went to do the toss and once again, won and batted.

Sam and Dan were opening up for the side on a fantastic track which had been prepared by Steady, and also at the far end of the square so a very short boundary towards the road side. It was a positive start for the opening pair who put away the bad balls and remained around the 5 an over mark for their whole partnership. Sam was batting with his usual fluency whilst Dan also looked more confident than recent weeks, between them posting the team’s first 50 opening partnership of any pair since the opening game of the season. Unfortunately, wickets were like buses and when Dan got a good ball that seamed back in a long way (to the point where the team mates on the sideline thought the bowler was a quick leg spinner) and Sam got carried away after one boundary too many, both had been bowled. From there, the side started to get a bit shaky and wickets were starting to fall at a fairly regular rate. The deck was a fantastic track for batting and with a short boundary to exploit, all the batsmen in the top order will be disappointed to have got starts then give their wicket (to varying extents). Matt Stead (12, guiding one to gully), Chris Holmes (22, hit a full toss to mid wicket) and Adam (21, given out on a tight LBW call) all got off to decent starts but got out without pushing on. Tom Slevin was in for only his second first team game of the season and managed to hit the ball cleanly to fielders almost every ball, so his 3 runs off 22 balls doesn’t really do him much justice. James at the other end chose to play a bit more counter attacking in an attempt to get the side up to a defendable score. He got a bit of fortune surviving a close LBW call (and a keeper reluctant to take off the bails and stump him) but other than them two moments, always looked in control hitting regular boundaries. Tom Slevin was unfortunate and got run out at the non-strikers end after James smashed one straight back at the stumps. Kieran and Will both failed to provide too much support and both departed fairly quickly but Tommy Hutton walked out for his first league innings of the season and hit the run that secured the league title for Cockfosters, playing a terrible sweep shot which he just got something on and ran a single behind square to get the side to 200. James added a few more runs and finished on 62 not out (48 balls) and Tommy on 12 (14 balls). Tommy did a fantastic job at just running singles to get James on strike so he could continue playing in his destructive manner. The score felt a tad low on such a good deck, and with a short boundary. However, the side has every confidence in their ability to bowl teams out.

The new ball was given to Will and Tom Slevin, and gave the side a bit of a scary start as the opening batsmen definitely took a liking to them (despite them both having better days with the ball). Tom got the hook after 2 overs for 28, and Will was slightly less expensive but his 4th over was a bit too short and was dispatched. Sam chose to turn to James and himself to try wrangling back control at 58-0 after 7 overs. James and Sam bowled with fantastic control (which has really become the norm this season) and James managed to dismiss the slower scoring opener (20 off 30) as well as slowing down the scoring of the other opener who was scoring far quicker. 62-1 became 63-2 after Sam bowled a very uncomfortable looking number 3. Then, very poor running allowed Holmesy to run out the number 4. James finally took the key wicket of Billings (49 off 43 balls despite slowing down a lot in the second half of his innings) which was caught by Sam on the straight boundary with a brilliant catch he managed to make look easy. He then kept the ball and bowled the next 3 batsmen which made victory look inevitable at 108-7, particularly after the middle order offered no resistance to our spin attack. However, maybe spurred on by a bit of a heated exchange at the half way mark, Hogg and Collins managed to have a huge partnership and seemed to be in complete control for the whole time they were together. Tommy and Dinesh both failed to dismiss either of them and despite keeping the run rate at a steady rate, the rapid start meant they were in a good position to chase down our slightly low score. With wickets not looking likely with both players seemingly being good players of spin, Sam did something that hasn’t really happened all year and asked Will to come back for a second spell. After his fairly poor first spell, Will came back and bowled superbly. In his 8th over, he finally managed to dismiss Collins which led to wild celebrations from the side after such a long partnership looking like it was taking the game and our unbeaten record away from us. The next over started and Tommy bowled Hogg first ball, and then dismissed the number 11 the next ball which secured the victory and a good night of celebrations. This was probably the tightest game we had had all season (despite it being because we played below our normal standard and allowed them opportunities to get back into the game) so credit to the side for having the right mentality to get over the line. After the game we found out we didn’t need any points for the title as Reed lost to West Herts, but winning all of our games was the main aim we had at the start of the season as we really wanted to let everyone in the division know who we are, and make sure everyone is aware we are the team to beat when promotion/relegation comes back in next season.

After such a hard season last year, barely winning any games and finishing bottom, we had a few additions to the club (Adam and Dinesh) who have been fantastic for us, as well as the returning Stead twins taking us from a decent team, to a real force and with the right ambitions of wanting to return to our old division, and actually competing in it rather than fighting relegation. Big thank you to Shehaan who umpired most of our games this season, as well as to all the people who scored for us this year. Not having to focus on jobs makes it easier to focus on performing on the pitch! The night’s celebrations were great with lots of beers, laughs and memories from the (short) season that has just passed. Highlights of the night include Dinesh and Adam having a boogie with some songs playing out, singalongs and smiles all round as we prepare to do it all again next year.

Man of the match was awarded to James after his fantastic knock of 62* and bowling figures of 9-1-27-2. Player of the season will be an intriguing decision as there is a fair few contenders in this side!



Cockfosters 228-6 beat West Herts 90-10 by 138 runs

After displacing Hemel Hempstead as second in the table last weekend, West Herts were the next challengers for our first team who were still on a 100% record coming into the penultimate weekend of the season. We had a bit of a late arrival at the opposition ground but that didn’t stop us from getting out James’ brightly coloured cones to have a quick game of football. Highlights include Nathan taking on the whole opposition team and scoring on his return to the first team, and Dinesh tricking Holmesy with the fake throw out. Unfortunately, Dinesh was clearly still affected by conceding 6 last week and his side were on the losing side of a 4-0 loss.

With a few of the usual faces in the side not available, there were a few call ups from the second team who had earnt their spots after consistantly performing well in Ben’s side. Kieran and Stokesy were making their first Ones appearances of the season, whereas Nathan was a returning player after a couple of weeks out. Sam was called over for the toss and for the second week in a row was successful and asked to bowl on what looked like a lovely and flat deck. Sam and Dan opened up for the second week running. From the one end there was one of the best seamers we have come up against this season who seemed to enjoy bowling to left handers with good movement away from them, and at the other end there was an Afghan refugee who West Herts had picked up this year who was also getting a bit of movement. The pitch was doing a bit more than anticipated as it was a new pitch that looked like a batting paradise, but the lightning outfield meant runs weren’t hard to come by at all. Dan managed to get a bit bogged down at Wilcox’s end and after being dropped the previous over from a hard diving chance at slip, he did eventually edge one to second slip and was gone for 12. Sam looked more comfortable with him and Holmesy not letting Wilcox settle as much as Dan and he did start to bowl a few looser balls when put under some pressure. Sam and Chris were scoring at a very good rate and took advantage when the first change bowlers came on. After a good 66 partnership with some of the best shots of the day on display (if I had to choose one, Sam’s on drive was glorious), Sam got a very high full toss which he hooked to fine leg on 47. The umpires came together and decided it was below no ball height and he had to go. Matt came in and looked like his normal self and showed why he is a candidate for batsmen of the season this year with some good strokes and very good running. Even when the bowlers managed to put him under pressure he found a way to get off strike. Chris at the other end got himself to 42 with some nice shots but will feel disappointed he couldn’t take advantage of his brilliant form and got out caught and bowled with a very loose shot.

In the middle overs, Stokesy and Matt batted together for a fairly long time and kept the run rate around the 5 an over mark. Some good field placements from West Herts made further acceleration high risk with their spinners bowling a good line to prevent boundaries. Another 50 partnership had developed before Matt, followed shortly after by Stokesy were both dismissed. Harry, playing his last league game for the club before moving away to Loughborough, tried to up the run rate further to set a run a ball target but tried one reverse sweep too many and got stumped for 9. The end of the innings was left to James and Nathan who took advantage of some rather slack fielding (including 6 dropped catches in the last 2 overs) to guide the side to 228-6. Nathan found a good strategy of hitting the ball really high in the air and running two, whilst James mainly focused on getting Nathan on strike. James ending on 9* and Nathan on 23*. It wasn’t a bad score at all, but it was testament to the side’s current mentality that we felt that we could get a few more on the board, and needed to figure out a way to rotate strike better in the middle overs as it often was a case of Matt getting off strike, and not facing again for a long time.

In reply, West Herts couldn’t have sent out an opening pair further apart in style. One was a big unit who hit the ball cleanly, whereas the other was a slow batsmen who was more focused on sticking around. With Ones ever-present Will Herbert missing his first game of the season, Harry White took the first over, and let the umpire know exactly who he was by asking if he could leave his water bottle behind the stumps whilst he bowled. His first over was fairly expensive with Gorasia hitting a couple of boundaries, and Nathan at the other end managed to get hit for one of the biggest straight sixes that had been seen (with one of the home side saying it was the first time their protective net had been cleared). Fortunately, Harry bowled him with a great ball which prevented him from giving West Herts a way into the game. Before another run had been scored, two more wickets had fallen with the other opener (who may have received some friendly banter from the fielders) bowled by Nathan, and another wicket being picked up next ball with a well watched but fairly straight forward catch from Holmesy. The Seam attack ended with combined figures of 11-1-50-3 and allowed Sam to bring himself on and Dinesh in a far better situation than has often been the case. Harry and Nathan bowled really well and kept their heads even when some runs leaked from their bowling (one time to over throws with a direct hit from Holmesy not impressing his skipper as it gave the opposition a free run). Whilst Dinesh didn’t have much luck in his short 4 over spell, Sam was absolutely cleaning up at the other end with no one in the West Herts team able to play him well at all. Sam was taking regular wickets (with back to back wicket maidens) and Tommy took a wicket from a sharp take from Kieran behind the stumps. With the batting side 8 down, Sam took 2 wickets in the last over to secure 30 points from what looked like a tricky fixture on paper. The last wicket being the only real candidate for catch of the season with the ball being hit in the air, seemingly over mid off as Chris Holmes did a full length one handed diving catch and celebrated by punting the ball about 2 yards in front of him.

It was a really good win for the side against the team who started the day in second place. With a dominant display with bat and ball, a good team spirit and also the mentality to improve on our performance even when winning by a giant 138 runs, there is a very bright future ahead for the side who have recovered and strengthened well after being relegated last season. Next week, our last game is at home to Bayford and Hertford, with the side knowing that 7 points is enough to secure the title. Man of the match for this week wasn’t a hard choice with him being the top scorer and taking 6 wickets so well played to Sam for that.


Cockfosters 131-6 beat Hemel Hempstead Town 130-10 by 4 wickets

After weeks of no goals in the pre-match football, the team figured out what the problem was and encouraged Will Herbert to go practice his bowling whilst 9 of the other players played football with Tom Hutton as the refereeing. It was a fairly feisty game with a few bookings being handed out, but most importantly: there were goals. It was a tight affair which ended 7-6. Dan Stead with 5 goals for the losing side and Chris Holmes getting 4 Sam got 1 and Matt Stead got 2. In the closing seconds, Harry scored a tap in to make it 6-6 late on but Chris Holmes ran up the other end to secure victory for his side.

In the mean time, Sam won the toss (with the opposition skipper grimacing as he saw he had lost the toss) and choosing to bowl first on what was a wet, green deck. Will Herbert and the returning Harry White took the new ball. Will bowled like his normal self, keeping it tight from one end but was unfortunately not rewarded with any wickets from his 6 overs, whereas at the other end, Harry was on the right end of a contentious decision to get Cockfosters on the board. Will Herbert managed to get his name in the scorebook too with the run out of their number 3 batsmen. Their other opener was caught by Parker off Dinesh shortly after but from there the Fosters boys started to let the game drift a little in the field with no wickets coming and Hemel being able to add runs at a fairly decent rate. However, after the drinks break, it became a completely different story with a few good stops managing to lift the side into a really solid fielding performance to make the opposition fall from 97-3 to 130 all out. Sam being the pick of the bowlers bowling with a lot of control on a hugely turning wicket taking 3 wickets for 14 runs in his 8 over spell.

Steady had hurt his back during the week and wicket keeping didn’t do him any favours in that respect, so Sam asked Dan to open the batting with him to start off the chase. Dan and Matt Stead both got out bowled within a short space of time off the same bowler (who was an off spinner opening up from the clubhouse end). At 7 overs, the score was 13-3 with Sam following shortly after. A rebuilding job was left for Holmesy and Parker after a disasterous start, and they both did a fine job of just seeing off the new ball (and opening bowlers). As we were chasing such a low total, the run rate slowing down dramatically wasn’t really an important factor it was just about protecting the wickets column. Adam was finally dismissed with the score on 42-4 but the new ball and both opening bowlers had bowled out. Will and James failed to capitalise on this, but Harry came out at number 8 at 67-6 and batted well with some interesting innovation with shot choices, but also some very intelligent running to put pressure back on the fielders. Chris Holmes carried on with what (by his own admission) is probably his best ever knock for the club at a very important time for the team. Both ended on not out with 71 and 26 and delivered an important 30 points to the side.

Man of the match was a bit of a no brainer with Holmesy playing a fantastic innings, and a good win for the side. Despite the fact it is only a “friendly” season with no promotion or relegation, the side still want to set down a marker and finish top of the table. Next up, we have the “new” challengers who overtook Hemel in West Herts.

Cockfosters 123-3 beat Lutonian 122-10 by 7 wickets

The first team turned up to Lutonian’s ground with the colleseum like steps around the ground, and given the surroundings it was unsurprising the football was a real battle. In an attempt to get a result, Dinesh and Will were put on the same team but for the third game in a row, a 0-0 draw ensued between Bolton and the other lot who didn’t name themselves.

The pitch had banks at either end which meant bowler run ups took a bit of adjusting, as well as the pitch being on a slope. It didn’t look like it would be very fun for batting either as the pitch was fairly well used (and both teams had 4 spinners in their side. Sam was hoping to win the toss and bat to get the best the pitch had to offer, but unfortunately lost and was asked to field first. Will and Alfie opened up the bowling on what will be Alfie’s last game for the club for a while as he starts his new job next week.  Will didn’t have his best first two overs whilst getting used to the conditions but tightened up by the end, with Alfie having a similar issue by bowling a few wides at the other end as well but still keeping it fairly tight anyway. Alfie picked up the wicket of their opener caught by Parker which took good concentration as it was skied to point. Will managed to tighten up his bowling with a maiden a very few runs coming off his last 3, but Juckesy unfortunately had an expensive over as their number 3 Khan had a good eye and hit 12 off his over. Sam and Tommy were brought on and there was some real turn for both spinners with the pitch providing a good deal of assistance. Sam struck in his first and second overs, dismissing the other opener for a duck (in the 10th over!) and the number 4 shortly after stumped by Steady for 1. Wickets dried up for a while with Khan continuing to score at a fairly quick rate getting his side to 90-3 with help at the other end from Walayat. A catch that looked fairly costly went down off Sam by James Stead which looked like it could be crucial, but the off spinners came into the attack and the same combination of players resulted in being his downfall with Sam taking an excellent catch at cover to dismiss him for 57. From there, the fielding (which had become a little lax) improved, helped with Chris Holmes making an unbelievable 1 hand diving stop on the boundary to prevent a 4 in front of the clubhouse with their team applauding his efforts also, and wickets became a regularity with Walayat being dismissed by Dinesh. James and Dinesh both finished with 1 wicket and respectable figures as the opposition struggled to score on a track assisting spin greatly. Tommy came back on to clean up the tail bowling very well in his second spell and picking up 4 wickets in the process (including being on a hattrick, unfortunately hattrick ball was dismissed to the mid wicket boundary for 4). Sam took another wicket in his short spell at the end before Tommy took the last leaving Lutonian with a score of 122 all out. Despite it being a low score, seeing how the pitch played out and knowing they had a decent spin attack meant it could end up being a tricky chase.

Sam and Steady opened up the batting and with Sam being bowled in the first over, it did indeed look like this would be a hard chase. Steady and Holmesy managed to steady the ship a little as it was very hard to score early on with huge pressure being put on the batsmen from the fielding side. At 32, Holmesy guided one to gully for 11 which again had alarm bells going at 32-2, but Matt Stead came in and him and brother Chris at the other end put a stop to any doubts about the result. Both batted very fluently and batted Cockfosters back into dominance, with the fielders visibly starting to realise it wouldn’t be their day. Chris managed to pick up his first league 50 of the season but unfortunately did force Adam Parker to walk out to the middle after being bowled on what would turn out to be the penultimate ball of the innings for 58. Parker didn’t waste any time and hit his first ball through cover and ran a quick 3 to get Fosters to 123 and secure the 30 points. Matt finished on 33 not out after a fantastic 88 partnership with Steady which really killed the game off as a contest.

Next up for the first team is Hemel Hempstead at home, which should be a good game as one of the other two teams who has won all of their games played. Someone’s unbeaten run will have to end! (Weather permitting)

Cockfosters against Reed II was cancelled

After some fairly heavy rain on friday which continued into the early hours of saturday, as well as rain being forecast for the saturday as well, there were not many people optimistic of actually getting a game on saturday morning. Groundsman Chris Stead arrived at the ground and it didn’t take a very long look to decide the ground would be unplayable due to puddles on the pitch. It was disappointing (not least to Simon Hutchins who had turned up early wanting a breakfast roll before the game) but all other games in the division were rained off as well so no ground was lost on anyone. Next up is an away trip to Lutonian.

Cockfosters 152-5 beat Southgate Adelaide 148-10 by 5 wickets

With the biggest local derby in our division, we welcomed Southgate Adelaide to the hallowed turf of Chalk Lane. The football again was a bit of a non event with another 0-0 played out in front of the (non-existent) fans.

It was a scorching hot day with blue skies, which made it very disappointing when Sam lost the toss and was asked to bowl first by the opposition skipper. Will Herbert had gotten into a bit of a pattern of giving the opening batsman a off side full toss to get off the mark safely in previous weeks, but this time up he decided to bowl the batsman first ball to give Fosters a great start to what could have been a very difficult innings with the heat. Adelaide’s 2 and 3 Patel and Ferguson both batted watchfully but found scoring opportunities difficult due to some excellent bowling from Will, Sam and James. When they were both dismissed, and another wicket falling shortly after, there was a bit of a danger of a sub 100 score being posted as the spinners were proving very difficult to get away. However a good knock of 37 from Mahmood at 6 with the support of Flint at 7 meant that they were able to get to 148 all out. It was a similar story to previous weeks of our spinners bowling good lines and not giving batsmen the opportunity to get themselves in. Sam being the pick of the bowlers with figures of 9-3-9-3 proving how hard it was to score any runs off him with the ball turning.

Sam decided he wanted to give a few people a chance with the bat in spots they haven’t normally been batting in which meant the order was slightly different. With Sam coming in at 6 this week, the opening roles were filled with Chris Stead and Chris Holmes. Steady got bowled early on with Ben Whiting causing havoc to our top order taking the first 4 wickets of the innings with Fosters left on 46-4 with Steady, Holmesy, Parker and Stropsy all back in the gazebo all feeling unfortunate for different reasons. Holmesy got caught by a guy who was having a full on conversation with the square leg umpire and suddenly stuck out a hand to catch him, Parker got a “shooter” that kept low early on, and Will was given out by Dan Whiting which he felt was the reason it was given, not the fact it would have been 3 reds on review. Sam joined Matt Stead at the crease and guided the team to a much more comfortable position before Sam was eventually dismissed by Patel with the score at 115-5. Nathan joined Matt and provided good support whilst he got to his half century after a good knock from him, weathering the early storm whilst playing some glorious shots (with his trademark Cover Drive being thrown in there). Nathan ended on 15 not out with Matt getting to 52 with the winning runs which secured a victory and another 30 points for the team who are still currently unbeaten. Matt was awarded with Man of the match by Sam after his match winning knock.

Cockfosters 150-3 beat Sandridge 149-8 by 7 wickets

With some momentum behind them, the first team turned up on this FA cup final saturday and started off the day like always with a competitive game of football. Despite one team having 6 players again, it was a classic Mourinho vs Allardyce encounter which ended 0-0 with both goalkeepers being the best players on their respective teams. Well played Herby and Batman, the rest of the players need to work on their creativity and finishing.

With two changes from the previous game, seeing Matt Stead return and young Tom Slevin making his first team debut, there was a bit of experimentation ahead with bowling options which Sam had to think about early after winning the toss and choosing to field first on a pitch that looked like it would offer a lot of assistance to the bowlers. Chris Holmes was chosen to open up alongside Herby and the start wasn’t too ideal with Chris struggling to get settled in his two overs before being replaced by debutant Slevin who managed to pick up a wicket in his second over in controversial fashion as the umpires deemed the ball to be an under waist height full toss. Will didn’t do too badly in his 3 overs (going for 11) but Sam opted to test out spin early on and Tommy Hutton proved it to be a good choice as he kept things tight during his first spell, picking up a wicket and if not for leaking a few runs off his last over would have been going at an economy of 1.4. James, Sam and Dinesh (as well as Tommy’s second spell) really made it hard for Sandridge to make any progress towards posting a solid score as a combination of good bowling and very strong fielding from the side made acceleration a difficult task. As the later overs approached and the batsman started to take a few risks, wickets started to fall in fairly regular intervals, as well as the run rate actually slowing down in the last 10 overs which really proves how well the team played, even with a bit of a bobbly outfield to contend with. As has been a bit of a pattern, there was no clear stand out bowler in terms of wickets, but the two left arm spinners did manage to stem the runs the most efficiently with Same only going for 14 off his 9 overs (2 wickets) and Tommy going for 23 off his 9 (2 wickets). James picked up 2 as well for a slightly more expensive 37 with Dinesh taking the other wicket.

In response, Sandridge struck early with Dan Stead feeling hard done by to be given out caught behind for 3. This would be the only wicket for some time as Sam continued his golden form batting with even more fluency than at Harpenden playing some glorious shots in the process. Holmesy was at the other end also batting with real control with both batsman rotating the strike well which really killed the game off as a contest. A partnership of 105 meant that when there was the unfortunate dismissal of Chris for LBW (despite claiming an edge onto his pad) then Sam following shortly after losing concentration and giving a simple catch to short fine leg (35 and 70 respectively), there was only 17 runs left which Matt Stead and Adam Parker managed to negotiate without any issues. Matt used the small amount of time he had to display his wonderful trademark cover drive, whereas Adam got his first runs for the club as they guided us home for 30 well earned points. Chris and Sam batted extremely well and made 149 look very below par, and the fielding performance was superb despite a few early blemishes in the first 5 overs. After the game, the skipper provided some beverages for the team with Tom Slevin receiving a well earned capri-sun.

Man of the match went to Sam after a fine all round display. Next up, we have Southgate Adelaide at home on what looks like it will be a nice hot day.


Cockfosters played Wheathampstead 162-9 (Match Abandoned)

After such a long wait to play cricket, cricketers across the county were probably disappointed to see that in order to get a result this saturday, it would probably involve being done by 3pm. Despite this, the first team turned up in good spirits, finally able to have a football warm up with the opposition spectating trying to get some info on what to expect in the field. The result of the game was 4-2 to the team with 6 players.

Cockfosters were to bowl first as Sam did the toss whilst his team scored the winning goal without him. Like the previous week, Harry White and Will Herbert opened up. After the first ball of the game (Will bowling a full toss outside off which was pumped for 4) it felt like it could be a long innings, but Will and Harry both tightened up their lines and dried up runs which was the theme of an innings that never really got going for Wheathampstead who admittedly were lacking a few players due to Luton being in lockdown. After a slow scoring but wicketless first eight overs, Sam turned to his spin options starting with Tommy and James. James had success at his end taking 2 wickets bowling through his nine overs in one spell, whilst Tommy kept it tight at the other end conceding just over 3 runs per over in his first six over spell. Sam replaced Tommy at the end of his spell and took a wicket first ball which would be his only wicket of the innings despite having a lot of close calls. He also made one of the opposition batsman question the quality of the wicket due to the amount of turn and bounce he was getting (much to the annoyance of the groundsman who he was unknowingly complaining to behind the stumps). Sam bowled through his nine overs straight keeping pressure on throughout and not allowing Wheathampstead to score freely. Dinesh replaced James at the other end and managed to hit a bump and clean bowl the batsman who was used to playing at Lords, as well as taking 2 more wickets after being the pick of the bowlers with 3-25 at the end of his spell. Tommy returned for a second spell and was rewarded with 2 wickets, one of which being that of Ledger for 68 who batted very well throughout from opening the batting but without any real support from the rest of the order. One seamer was required to finish the innings off and Will was rewarded with a wicket for doing so, despite the batsman claiming his shot was safe whilst hitting it towards Dan Stead in the deep.

162 seemed very under par for what looked like an excellent track to bat on, particularly with our strong batting line up this season. Unfortunately, as the guys walked off the pitch, the heavens opened, the cover was on and didn’t get removed for the rest of the day. Very disappointing in a game the side thought they were in control of, but looking forward to (hopefully) getting back to winning ways next week away at Sandridge.

Cockfosters 260-6 beat Harpenden III 210-10 by 50 runs

After our extended winter, we were finally given permission to kick off our league season as we geared up for what would be a “half” season. Despite the pandemic, we had a good off season in a sense of picking up new players for all 3 teams, those included our first team debutant for the day Dinesh (aka, Batman). 

We were off on our travels for our first game of the season, playing Harpdenden at the picturesque St George’s school. Upon arrival, Sam kicked off the season on the right foot by winning the toss and having a bat on what looked like a good deck on a warm day. With the extended break, some rust was to be expected from both teams, but Sam and Dan both started off positively. With the aid of extras, they were steaming along at 8 an over. Dan finally succumbed to a top edged pull shot and departed for 32, but with the score on 80 after 10 overs it wasn’t a disaster. Chris Holmes came out to bat next and carried on building our total, although the bowling started to get a bit tighter and runs became harder to come by. Sam continued accumulating despite having his fair slice of luck with a dropped catch or five, and a couple of being caught off a no ball. Holmesy went for 28 which brought Chris Stead to the crease, who unfortunately got a good nut first up and got his “first duck in ten years” (A fact that was questioned by Jane but not proven either way). This brought Matt Stead to the crease and despite not playing for the club often since he moved away, it looked like he never left and was playing fluently and was attempting to accelerate the run rate with some lovely cover drives in particular. Him and our immovable object at the other end built a solid partnership before Matt departed for 37 which confused the Oppo as it brought another Matt to the crease, in the form of James Stead who had also returned. James unfortunately didn’t get the chance to pick up where his brother left off as he was removed early as well as Harry White after him. Alfie was forced to go out there (something that looked a long way off at one point) in order to finish off the innings. Sam, despite his fortune, batted fantastically throughout and ended on 116* carrying his bat. 

With teas outlawed by the ECB, we had our packed lunches and went out to field knowing we had a few runs to play with (which was a huge positive based on our lack of scores over 200 in the previous season) and It was Will Herbert and Harry who shared the new ball. As with the first innings, a bit of bowler rust but also the outfield being lightning helped Harpenden get off to a good start. Harry who was “struggling to get down to fine leg” was taken off early in order to bring on one of our four spinners in order to try seizing some authority on the innings. Will managed to pick up a wicket before making way for Sam at the other end. Sam couldn’t achieve his usual level of threat and they scored quite freely off him which meant it was Tom and James who carried on trying to tie down the batsman. Wickets came for both (including a first club catch for Dinesh) before Harry White decided to enter his hat into the ring for D*** of the day by misfielding on the boundary due to a “huge bobble”. Unfortunately for him, a cat crept onto the pitch a bit later on. Play was stopped as it wasn’t fair we had 12 fielders which is fair enough. The cat had a little cuddle with Juckesy before going over to Will “the Cat Whisperer” Herbert who was tasked with picking the cat up and taking it off the pitch. However, he misunderstood the instructions and picked up the cat and tried to drop kick it off instead. Fortunately, the opposing skipper came on to “save his blushes”. Dinesh got his first two wickets for the club as well as Alfie coming on to clean up the tail as the 8th change bowler.

Despite some resistance from the tail, the victory always seemed likely for Cockfosters after a fantastic innings from the skipper who awarded himself Man of the Match (and rightly so). After a good start, we’ll be hoping to build on that next week at home to Wheathampstead

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