After 3 games of toil without success, patience for the first Knebworth Park 2nd XI victory of the season was rewarded with a 5 wicket win over Chipperfield and Clarendon in a pulsating last over climax.
Set 201 to win after a bizarre first innings from Chipperfield, it was Knebworth's batting that came good as a unit for the first time this season as they chased down the formidable total in breathtaking tension in front of a packed clubhouse.
Overnight rain had caused the pitch to be switched at the eleventh hour, but the groundsman's efforts were rewarded with a spectacular game. The Park won the toss and chose to bowl on the damp surface. However their seamers failed to take advantage. Wayward bowling, dropped catches and edges flying everywhere but to fielders helped Chipperfield cruise to 160 for 1 with Chipperfield captain Alex Moore scoring a bold 92. The only wicket in those first 35 overs falling to an Ed Wright
catch off Tom Elliott (1 for 35). Chipperfield looked set to move onto a score way out of reach.
However with young Aussie spinner Parth "Bristols" Patel introduced, the game turned on its head. From 160 for 1 Chipperfield fell to 170 for 8 in just 7 overs including 2 wickets in 2 balls for Patel (6 for 33 in all) and a run out for him in the next over. Ably supported by Guy Warman
(2 for 57 off 15), bowling his first spell of the season, Park dismissed Chipperfield for 200 in the fiftieth over. If more catches had been held throughout the innings the total would surely have been much less, but it could also have been a whole lot more but for Patel's spin.
In reply, opener Colin Letford
got the Park off to a steady start with a belligerent 33, despite back and hamstring issues hampering his movement. At the other end Haydon Bartlett-Tasker
was being patient, gently ticking over the runs, and ably supporting the aggressive stroke play of Warman (20) at the other end when Letford fell LBW. Stuart Burford
's arrival when Warman was bowled, saw the Chipperfield skipper regularly posting 7 men on the boundary to try to frustrate the big hitter's natural game, but with Bartlett-Tasker now scoring freely at the other end the Park kept the total building. Bartlett-Tasker was rewarded with a fine 52 in an innings that held the reply together beautifully and accelerated at just the right time.
With his departure though the Park still needed 70 off 12 overs but Ed Wright
came in and blazed a rapid 25 including 2 sixes and 2 fours to push the Park even closer. When Wright was out it was still 36 off 5 overs needed, but then it was Patel's turn with the bat and he kept the strike turning over, enabling Stuart Burford
(43 not out) to have plenty of the strike to keep the boundaries coming and the runs required falling. 10 were needed off the final over, the Pavilion had filled, the noise and tension was rising.
Patel (18 not out) pushed another quick single, farming Burford the strike perfectly. Out went the fielders - 7 on the ropes just two stopping the singles. It didn't matter how many were on the ropes, Burford then cleared them all with a massive swat over the midwicket boundary, clearing the boundary itself by at least 30 yards, to send the attentive crowd into raptures. A clip for two and a little leg bye almost seemed a little dull to finish with in such a quality game and after such a strike, but at least the Park's 2nd XI can be very pleased indeed with 30 well earned points. At last.