First day setback - but Reed take heart

PUBLISHED: 18:17 14 May 2008 | UPDATED: 15:45 11 May 2010

JASON ARCHER in action for Reed on Saturday

JASON ARCHER in action for Reed on Saturday

Reed succumbed to an opening day four-wicket defeat as a strong Hitchin side got the better of them. The match saw the Herts League debuts of Australian batsman Joe Curk from Newcastle in New South Wales, left-arm spinner Bernie Morse, and fast bowler Le

Reed succumbed to an opening day four-wicket defeat as a strong Hitchin side got the better of them.

The match saw the Herts League debuts of Australian batsman Joe Curk from Newcastle in New South Wales, left-arm spinner Bernie Morse, and fast bowler Lee Johnson.

However, despite promising signs for their new Division 1 campaign, Reed were unable to muster the momentum to force an early season win. However, they did take away a healthy 14 points.

Reed captain James Heslam said: "It was a disappointing defeat. I felt we probably needed a few more runs, and probably bowled a few too many bad balls. But I was encouraged by some of our early form."

On a solid batting wicket, Reed skipper James Heslam elected to bat, but must have regretted his decision as he tickled an edge to the wicket keeper off D Moore (13-1-60-3) without scoring.

And then, with the score on seven, Chris Jackson was adjudged lbw off A Ranade (13-2-57-2).

Reed looked to be struggling, but stalwart Baz Curtis (23) steadied the ship with some grinding cricket, and combined with Joe Curk (87), took the score to a more respectable 65 off only 12 overs.

But Hitchin continued to battle, and when Curtis chased a ball which he could have let go, he left Ranade celebrating his second wicket, and the wicket keeper his second catch of the match.

Tom Fulk joined Curk who was beginning to get into his stride, but Fulk was deceived by I Bowyer's (8-2-31-1) variation as he too found himself trapped in front of the stumps lbw.

With the score on 101 for 4, Reed were conscious to use their overs wisely, but allow Curk free scoring reign.

Curk continued in fine form with some sumptuous cover drives, thundering hooks and a solid defence.

Forcing 14 off one over from Bowyer, Curk raced the score forward as he was ably supported by William Clarke (21), who steadied Reed's rocking boat and ensured valuable overs were used up, while keeping the score sufficiently progressing.

S Bayston (19-7-31-3) in particular bowled with excellent accuracy and variation to offer Hitchin hope of restricting the scoring. Together with Clarke, Curk managed to progress the score from 101 to 140, to offer some solidity to the innings.

When Curk was eventually dismissed through a mis-hit off Ranade, this brought Clarke and Simon Jackson (16) together. And they built a solid 31 run partnership marked by its sharp running between the wickets, but when Clarke opened his shoulders and was dismissed, Hitchin began to feast on Reed's lower order who slumped to 189 all out off their 53 overs.

Despite this, it demonstrated a superb recovery from a tricky start with the new ball for the visitors, and valuable signs of form were evident in many of the players.

In response, Hitchin struggled as Lee Johnson (10.1-1-52-2) exposed his raw aggressive pace and Andrew Young (10-1-40-3) bowled with venom and accuracy to reduce Hitchin's response to 41 for 4 which was marked by some excellent seam movement from Yound with the new ball and tricky swing from Johnson.

But when W Pugh (57) and Ranade (39) came together, they took grip of Reed's bowling and accelerated the score by dispatching bad balls confidently.

When Bernie Morse (8-0-34-1) eventually had Ranade caught on the boundary by Johnson, Reed sensed that they may be able to sneak a victory, but Pugh continued his form and helped Hitchin reach Reed's total in 37.1 overs and register a 30 point victory.

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