Hatches battened down at Bishop's Stortford
Bishop's Stortford 201-4 dec (Mohammed 2-49)
Jesters CC 146-9 (Davidson 58)
It all started so well at Bishop's Stortford. Long, probing opening spells from Dan Hayes and Adnan Mohammed restricted the talented Stortford top order to 82-4 off the first 25 overs, which included a sensational diving catch by Rob Gillham running round from long on. However, veteran Simon Sargent and teenager Louis Mays combined for an unbroken 120 partnership, allowing the home side to declare on 201-4.
Debutant Murray Davidson's explosive hitting put is in a good position to win, but the 102 needed in the last hour with seven wickets in hand was a strong position we would soon squander!
The Stortford bowlers proved very difficult to get away - five of Adam Bassingthwaite's first six overs were maidens while fellow opening pacer Sam Howlett boasted two wicket maidens. Joe Hawkins, who came on first change bowled four straight maidens at the end of his spell. It was a slow death as 100-3 painfully turned in to 143-9 with six overs left but Dan Hayes and skipper Ollie Doward could not be dislodged by pace or spin as fielders thronged the wicket.
Despite the limp denouement, this was an immensely enjoyable contest, thanks largely to home skipper Grahame Smith's sense of fair play and generous hospitality. We look forward to resuming battle next season on a ground where the Jesters remain unbeaten!