Dun and dusted – Reed lose against high-flyers

REED were unlucky to lose on Saturday as they fell just short of Dunstable s total in the gloom, allowing the hosts to maintain their leading position in the league and secure promotion to Herts League Division One. The day began well for Reed as they won

REED were unlucky to lose on Saturday as they fell just short of Dunstable's total in the gloom, allowing the hosts to maintain their leading position in the league and secure promotion to Herts League Division One.

The day began well for Reed as they won the toss and asked Dunstable's star-studded minor counties batting line up to pad up.

This decision was immediately rewarded as Andrew Young left the hosts floundering on 6-1 as he exploited the exaggerated seam movement with ease.

Accompanied by Peter Tidey at the other end, who bagged himself an impressive five- wicket haul, Young was the pinnacle of pace as he continued to make inroads into the Dunstable line-up, leaving the hosts 79-7 at one point.

With such penetrative bowling and excellent seam movement, the Dunstable middle order did well to scrape together 148 on a pitch that was becoming gradually drier by the hour.

This total proved to be challenging in the end.

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Reed's innings got off the worst possible start as William Clarke (2) was yorked with a swift delivery leaving them on 6-1, but with Chris Jackson managing to stabilise the ship with James Heslam, the situation improved for Reed.

When Jackson fell to a rash stroke, Dunstable's impressive bowling attack though they had Reed against the ropes. Hoewever, together with James Heslam, Phil Frenay made a quickfire 34 to see Reed march towards the total.

But when he became the second victim of a magnificent caught and bowled opportunity, the Reed innings was beginning to fray at the edges.

A short rain interval reduced Reed's overs to reach the total adding further pressure on them to decide to press for victory or settle for a draw.

Opting for the former, some lusty blows from Richard Johnson, Young and James Heslam gave the visitors some realistic hope.

But a handful of quick wickets left Reed staring down the barrel at victory, as Dunstable closed in on victory and promotion while Reed fell for 128.

Skipper Simon Jackson commented: "It was a huge disappointment to lose on Saturday - we dismissed the league leaders cheaply, fought hard against a good bowling attack, and the weather worked hugely against us by inflating our required run rate.

"Although we could have opted for a draw, we decided to gamble to obtain 30 points rather than settle five which we would have achieved with a draw in any case. "Unfortunately, that decision did not pay off but was one we felt we had to take.

"However it was certainly one of the best bowling performances by Reed this season."

Reed are due to face high-flying Bishop's Stortford at home on Saturday in their final game of the season.

Reed II continue to play exciting gmes that go down to the wire, as Saturday's win against Hatfield put them on the verge of promotion.

Having lost the toss and being put into bat on a hard but damp Reed wicket, the hosts struggled to 10-2 off the first 10 overs.

However, first, Michael Robertson (23) and John Heslam (25) gradually brought Reed back into contention.

Fergus Martin (37) continued the good work but it was Karl Ward, who has batted well all year simply took the game by the horns scoring 89 not out and taking the score from 69-5 to 209-9.

In reply Hatfield set off like a train with Singh hitting the ball to all parts of the ground.

After six overs Hatfield were 50-0 before Michael Robertson accounted for Singh, but with Mehta, Shaikh and P Singh all in the runs a Reed win looked highly improbable.

With 10 overs to go the inspirational introduction of Ben Bowles spin turned the game on its head.

From 178-3, Hatfield slumped to 204-9 with one over to go, bowled by Ward.

Bowles dived to save a certain four and with three balls to go Ian Roberts dived and threw one handed to run out the number 11 to secure an amazing Reed win.

Reed III achieved a notable win at Garston on Saturday when they successfully chased Leverstock Green IV's total of 230.

Visitors Reed won the toss and elected to field first and found that bowling on the artificial surface required the ball to be pitched on a full length to contain the attacking play of Khawar who raced to a hard hit 93 before being run out by a good throw from Tom Greaves.

Wickets then began to fall steadily with Allan Ward being the best 10-0-46-4 and good support from Chris West 8-0-42-2.

The fielding stood up to the pressure well and there were good catches from Ollie Smith, Marcus Baker and Tom Greaves.

Leverstock Green were dismissed in the 34th over for 230.

In reply Reed reached 41 before Tom Greaves was caught for 25 wickets then fell regularly in spite of a good innings of 32 from Baker and the score was 129-7 when Allan Ward was joined by James Day in the 26th over.

This pair started to hit the ball to all parts of the ground and the Leverstock fielding catching and bowling wilted under the ferocious assault with the winning runs coming in the 37th over.

Ward finished on 63 not out and Day on 33 not out-an undefeated partnership of 102 for the eighth wicket.