Heslam is on top as Reed batting revives

REED restored their pride on Saturday by beating 10-man Northwood Town at home to place themselves 11th in the Hertfordshire League and revive their batting which had suffered in the past fortnight. Reed opener Baz Curtis (13) and James Heslam (85) got th

REED restored their pride on Saturday by beating 10-man Northwood Town at home to place themselves 11th in the Hertfordshire League and revive their batting which had suffered in the past fortnight.

Reed opener Baz Curtis (13) and James Heslam (85) got the hosts off to a solid start with a platform of 23, but a short delivery that hurried Curtis into a misjudged hook allowed Northwood Town to make an early inroad.

William Clarke (27), stepped into the absent Chris Jackson's role as he dug in to score a grinding 27 off 66 deliveries supporting Heslam.

Heslam's dominance continued against the second string of bowlers until he too misjudged a pull stroke 15 runs short of his century, ending his welcome return to form with a simple chance to mid-on.

Simon Jackson (10) then came in to support Clarke, who ended up offering a sharp chance to first slip off Doling (11-3-42-5).

The middle order all chipped in to help accumulate 223-9 off their 53 overs.

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Reed's bowlers got to work trying to dismiss Northwood's team weakened by their wicket-keeper's absence for personal reasons.

Reed's youth and athleticism in the field paid immediate dividends as Heslam completed a run-out after a misfield by Andrew Emms to reduce the visitors to 28-1.

The Reed bowlers toiled until the introduction of Will Clarke (5-1-13-2) accounted for dangermen Ahluwalia (27) and Piper (29).

This allowed Doling (45) to the wicket, as he took a grip on Reed's bowling and accelerated the run-rate to an alarming level.

However, the first over after drinks saw Andrew Young (13-2-62-2) take two wickets of Doling and Naqui (19) to reduce Northwood to 146-5.

Further tight bowling from Andrew Emms (8-3-20-2) and debutant off spinner Ed Garrott (9-3-24-2) saw Northwood's effort fizzle out as their weaker lower order was exposed.

Just as it seemed Reed would not have enough overs to bowl out Northwood, Ed Garrott showed his maturity as he deceived Biggs (17) into a shot that left him plum LBW to award Reed their 30 points as Northwood limped to a meagre 199.

Reed II's climb up the table continued to gather momentum on Saturday as they romped to victory at Old Finchleians II.

Captain Jason Archer won the toss and decided to bat in the hot conditions, and on what looked to be a decent track.

Debutant 15-year-old Fergus Martin and Ben Bowles opened the batting, and straight away got into their stride with some positive stroke play.

Martin rarely looked troubled by the Finchleians attack and with Bowles looking in good touch at the other end, the pair put on 50 for the first wicket before Jorey had Martin well caught in the covers for a good 20.

Matt Bowles then joined brother Ben in the middle, with Ben continuing to play some delightful shots taking him to 32, before he chased a wide one and nicked a ball to slips leaving Reed 63-2.

In form Ian Fulk, fresh from his unbeaten century the week before, joined Matt Bowles and both began to show their form.

Bowles got out of the traps quickly with some powerful straight drives, and Fulk gave the cover boundary a good thumping as they took the score beyond 100.

Matt Bowles soon reached his 50 with some quality shots, but eventually holed out in the deep on 51.

John Heslam stepped up to the plate, and in unison with Fulk took the Finchleians attack apart, Heslam in particular progressing the Reed score quickly.

Fulk again batted sublimely, and once he reached his 50 he pushed on and he and Heslam put on nearly 100 for the fourth wicket.

Heslam could not quite make his half century, being caught after a superb knock of 48. With overs running out, captain Archer decided to declare with Reed on 253-4 off 50 overs. Fulk was unbeaten on 89.

Reed opened up the bowling with Ian Roberts and Rupert Martin. Despite some good early bowling Old Finchleians got off to a decent start, with no wickets going down in the early overs.

Finchleians captain Crispin seemed keen to make a go of things and began to play some attacking strokes.

Reed got an unexpected breakthrough when Matt Bowles took a stunning one handed catch off of the bowling of Rupert Martin to remove Crispin for 14.

Roberts then had Smith caught behind well by keeper Richard Poole.

Reed had Finchleians 27-2, and after Martin took his second wicket to remove Sheorman and Roberts too got his pair by again finding an edge through to the keeper, the Jason Archer show began.

He took three wickets in quick succession, bowling a clever mix of swing, bouncers and slower balls. Old Finchleians looked down and out at 69-8.

Finchleians number three batsman Merryweather remained however and, along with Kiwi pace bowler Jorey, steadied the ship.

The pair decided attack was the best form of defence and began to find the boundaries regularly before Karl Ward eventually bowled Merryweather for 57 and then removed Sawyer.

Reed eventually got the final wicket of Jackson, again off of the bowling of Ward to leave Old Finchleians on 147 all out with 12 overs to spare allowing Reed maximum points in their push for promotion.

Reed went down heavily to Weston in the North Herts League on Sunday, despite a decent batting performance.

Winning the toss, skipper Archer chose to bat but Reed lost the early wicket of Blissett to bring in Marcus Martin but thereafter looked very comfortable.

The Martin brothers looked in good touch putting on 76 for the second wicket before the stylish Fergus Martin was bowled by Pugh for 16.

Matt Bowles joined Marcus Martin at the crease, with Martin soon reaching his half century after a great innings.

Martin showed some real class in dispatching balls to all parts. Young leg spinner Jack Stevens got some reward for a good spell of bowling by removing Martin for 53.

Richard Johnson and Bowles then set about pushing the Reed score on from 103-3. Both used their good pace between the wickets to rotate the strike well, with Johnson finding his feet with some good boundaries.

The pair put on 59 for the fourth wicket, with Bowles going for 24.

Karl Ward went soon after for a duck, but Johnson continued to score undeterred. Graham Hazard joined Johnson for a cameo innings, including a huge six over the clubhouse, but he too went leaving Reed 190-6.

Rupert Martin joined Johnson, both players hit boundaries in the final overs including another big six, this time from Martin (11 not out). Reed finished up on a score of 217-6, with the magnificent Johnson unbeaten on 68.

Confident of victory, Reed set about bowling at Weston. Archer and Champion bowled brilliantly early on, but got no reward as Hitchin player Pugh imposed himself.

Pugh was well supported by Braine, and together they played their way towards the Reed total, putting on 178 for the first wicket, that of Braine for a supporting knock of 44.

Reed's bowlers continued to run in and bowl well keeping the scoring rate down, but the class of Pugh shone through as he took Weston home with two overs to spare, finishing 127 not out.