Following the end of play on Saturday and despite a solid win, this equation hasn’t changed such is the close nature of the league, although both are now far more unlikely.
Cockfosters travelled to Hertford on a hot August bank holiday weekend after what, for them, has been a challenging season seeing them already relegated with 3 games to go. However, upon seeing the three-day old flat-county track they won the toss and sensibly decided to have a bat. New ball pair Dawson and Rhodes immediately bowled a great line and length that neither batsman could get them through the infield, Dawson in particular looked threatening against both left handers and it was he who made the deserved breakthrough with Stead nicking him to Chandler at slip.
Holmes came out to join captain Barker at the crease and for a while they negotiated the bowling well compiling Cockfosters largest partnership of the day, and at 54-1 all seemed to be going well. However, Rhodes was still threatening, and T Orchard had come on to bowl at the other end replacing the frugal Dawson after a great spell (6-1-9-1). Rhodes promptly picked up two wickets towards the end of his spell, surprising everyone around the ground by holding on to a caught and bowled chance whilst T Orchard trapped his first victim LBW at the other end.
There was no let up for Cockfosters as Hugh Cavener replaced Rhodes, and despite a bizarre first over where he decided he wanted to bowl like Ashley Giles was soon bowling seriously well. Whilst the opposition were able to find some runs off Orchard they struggled to score against the left-arm of Cavener and at both ends wickets were falling steadily. 87-3 ended up as 123 all out as Orchard took four wickets (4-39) and Cavener took three (3-16) in a great partnership that was ably assisted by some good catching from Chandler and Ray in particular.
The reply started in spectacular fashion as 30 was added in the first 3 overs, including a massive 6 from Joyce in the first over. After a couple of fine shots Pavey was bowled trying to smash a good yorker from Herbert down the ground. Joyce continued however and was joined by Lawrance who was in no mood to let things settle down, both flayed the attack to all parts and even the introduction of Barkers threatening leg-spin couldn’t control the runs.
It did however buy them the prized wicket of Joyce (29) who was done by a well-disguised googly and caught at slip. Cavener joined Lawrance and both continued hitting regular boundaries and rotating the strike well, that was until Lawrance got close to 50 and Cavener decided to try his best to stop him getting there…
…however there was just enough runs for Lawrance to hit a final boundary and finish not out on 53 whilst Cavener also finished not out on 31. Hertford had chased down Cockfosters score inside only 17 overs for the loss of 2 wickets – a resounding win and one that hopefully can be replayed in the last two games, cricket is a funny game and promotion is still on so you never know what might happen!