Knebworth Park 1st XI went down by one wicket to Chorleywood on Saturday in a tight encounter, to suffer their first league defeat of the season.
Skipper Adam Sergeant
won his fourth successive toss and chose to bat on a spongy wicket that would offer assistance to the bowlers throughout the day. It was clear early on that every run would be very valuable as Park lost regular wickets. Only Phil Simpson
(66) looked at home, mixing tight defence with more elaborate shots as he looked to capitalise on the occasional loose delivery.
Chorleywood bowled adeptly on a wicket that was obviously familiar to them, and it was left to 16 year old county starlet Harry Jerome (40) to rescue his side for a second consecutive week, as the Park limped to 169 all out off the penultimate ball of the innings. It seemed however a par score and at the half way mark, Park were confident they could still deliver another 30 points.
In the field however, it was a story of missed opportunities. Subasinghe (3-52) took wickets but bowled inconsistently, whilst Robinson and Randall both bowled tightly without any luck, the latter suffering from three dropped catches. A further straightforward chance was missed off Jerome (40-2) in the deep, and at 160-5, Chorleywood were homing in on victory.
However, a final change saw Earl Lee
thrown the ball, and he very nearly delivered an improbably victory taking 3-19 - including an acrobatic one handed caught and bowled - reducing a nervy lower order to 168-9. Park had one delivery at Chorleywood’s number 11, who chipped a low full toss just over cover to see them home and eventually seal a dramatic victory.
Perhaps Chorleywood should have made it home more easily, as in truth, Park were disappointingly sluggish in the early stages in the field. However, credit must be given to the way they fought back and nearly claimed an unlikely victory. With four catches going down and eight no balls being delivered, Park need to work hard to cut out unnecessary mistakes if they are to continue to move forward. It was not a season changing defeat, but was certainly a reminder of how competitive division one will be this season.