Heslam on form in stunning Reed start

REED made a stunning start to their National Village Cup campaign with a 141-run victory at Biddenham, on Sunday. Following their success as Hertfordshire & Bedfordshire champions in 2006, James Heslam s side were in no mood to allow the home side the cha

REED made a stunning start to their National Village Cup campaign with a 141-run victory at Biddenham, on Sunday.

Following their success as Hertfordshire & Bedfordshire champions in 2006, James Heslam's side were in no mood to allow the home side the chance of giantkilling.

"I was very encouraged by our bowling which shows clear signs of early season form and development," said Heslam.

"We really enjoy the NVC competition and are looking forward to what seems our annual showdown with Langleybury later in the month."

Reed's innings again started briskly as Heslam (58) and Baz Curtis (22) smashed the ball to all parts of a large ground until Curtis feathered a ball to the wicket keeper off Edmunds (9-0-49-2).

However, it was an historic moment for Curtis, as this match marked his 15,000th run for Reed CC, marked primarily with his blistering form as an opener in both league and limited overs cricket.

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Heslam continued with Tom Fulk (90) until he played a lazy shot to point off Edmunds.

With the score on 92-2 off only 12 overs, Reed's openers had built a solid and confident platform for the middle order to exploit, and Fulk, together Chris Jackson (21) continued in steady fashion to pull the score to 145-2 off 25 overs.

When Jackson mistimed a lofted drive to be caught off Taylor (9-0-42-1), Clarke (61 not out) came to the crease to partner Fulk as they plundered the second string bowlers to boost the score to 259 off 38 overs.

When Fulk was run-out trying to reach for his century, Richard Johnson (3) joined Clarke but was bowled by a rapid straight delivery from D Morrish (4-0-27-1).

Marcus Martin continued to partner Clarke to the end, as the pair took 17 off the final over, to settle the score on 274-5.

Biddenham's reply began well, with R Fone (9) and D Morrish (13) punishing some early and uncharacteristic bad balls from P Tidey (9-1-28-4) and Graham Wilson (8-0-22-0).

But Tidey soon found his length as he dismissed the pair in quick succession thanks to a sharp catch from wicket-keeper Simon Jackson.

Tidey continued to find his line and length to dismiss P Mustoe (10) and M Wiles (18) shortly thereafter leaving Biddenham struggling on 61-4 off 15 overs.

The introduction of Richard Johnson to the attack (7-0-28-2) brought some lively bounce and hostility. He bowled Edmunds with a perfect yorker, and Karl Ward (4-0-18-2) also decided to get involved as he picked up couple of wickets after Tidey's devastating spell.

Two late order run outs by Simon Jackson and James Heslam tore any chance Biddenham had from their grasp.

Some late resistance from tailender M Bhogal (11 not out) and B Gill (36 not out) dragged their score over 100.

However, Richard Johnson's reintroduction proved too much as he produced another trademark yorker to end the game, and secure a comfortable victory.

The previous day saw Reed face neighbours Buntingford in a pre-season friendly, and they strolled to a 87 run victory in a 45-over match.

On a glorious spring day, Reed elected to bat on an unusually dry wicket after winning the toss.

Baz Curtis (47) and James Heslam (84) got Reed off to a scintillating start with a 151-run partnership with Buntingford desperate for a wicket from somewhere.

When the pair were finally dismissed by Pearce (9-0-36-2) in quick succession, Chris Jackson (18) and Tom Fulk (23) took over the reins, but Chris Chambers (8-1-35-4) stopped them in their tracks by making a double strike, followed swiftly by bowling Marcus Martin for a duck.

It was left to Simon Jackson to lead a measured, mature and energetic innings of 21, with late support from William Clarke (10) and Dale Shepherd to haul the score to 246-8 off 45 overs.

Buntingford's reply began slowly and poorly, as Jim Allsopp (9-1-22-2) removed M Cootes (8) and J Clements (12) cheaply, and when Shepherd (9-1-20-1) bowled C Ford (11), Buntingford were reeling.

However, the ship was stabilised by Richard Pearce (48) and Chris Chamber (26), who although batted steadily, were unable to raise the run rate to the level required at any point.

When probing bowling from William Clarke (8-1-29-1) removed Chambers, and Ed Garrott (10-0-48-2) had Pearce stumped by Simon Jackson, the run chase completely fizzled out, leaving them well short of the required total.

Reed are due to travel Old Albanian in their opening Herts League game on Saturday.

Chrishall skipper Richard Brunt started the 2007 season in good form, hitting an unbeaten century at Little Hadham on Sunday, but stubborn resistance from the home side saw the match end in a draw.

Brunt, who hit 13 fours in completing his century off 126 balls, dominated his side's third wicket stand of 82 with Andrew Holmes (28), after the visitors had suffered the setback of seeing both openers dismissed in consecutive overs.

Chrishall's total of 193-5 was always going to be too much for a Little Hadham side who soon found themselves in trouble at 34-3, Steve Gardner doing the early damage, but the home side found a saviour in Paul Mason-Smith (43) whose resistance enabled the home side to close on 144-9.

Baldock II played Preston II on Saturday and in a competitive match Preston ran out winners by 17 runs.

Preston batted first reaching 196-7 with Constantini scoring 59 and Thompson 53.

In reply Baldock were 179 all out in a spirited chase led by skipper Richard Waters with an excellent 81.

On Sunday Baldock snatched defeat from the jaws of victory in a gut wrenching 15 run loss to Great Gaddesden.

Gaddesden were 117-9 off 40 overs after an excellent bowling performance throughout with Logan Newman taking 3-11 Jones 2-28 and Ben Diplock 2-28

The reply was initially excellent with James Peacock (34) and Mark Lafferty (23) taking Baldock to 67-1.

However, an astounding collapse against nothing more than accurate bowling saw Baldock lose nine wickets for 35 runs and record a 15 run loss.

Baldock take a break next week from Sunday league duties and return in two weeks to play Hatfield.

Aspenden Standon & Puckeridge lost a close encounter with Cokenach on Saturday going down by 12 runs.

Cokenach batted first and were soon in trouble with Shoebridge and Johnstone back in the shed with only three on the board.

Matt Stevens and Nick Eve put on 59 to even things with Stevens hitting 73. Wickets fell regularly but runs were also coming as Potter came in for some severe treatment from Clarke and Titcomb.

The innnings ended on 204-9 with Strange taking 3-36.

In reply John Yates and Miles Thompson got off to a flyer with 91 coming off the first 14 overs, but the dismissal of Yates at 91 sparked a collapse of England proportions as ASP sank to 99-6 with Botten's double bouncing leg spin causing the problem.

Strange and Booth hung around and ticked the scoreboard over with Booth hitting three massive sixes in his unbeaten 44, but the ask was too much with not many wickets in hand, and ASP came up 12 short.

ASP also came away empty handed from Cottered on Sunday as a poor batting performance left them with too much to do with the ball against a combined Westmill & Barley side.

The visitors were reduced to 7-2 by Dave Ridley, who bowled Lindsay and had Williams LBW not playing a stroke.

Dan Wallace hit three lusty boundaries before falling to the persistent Ridley. Sapsford hit a rapid 15 and captain Potter hit 4,4,6 and then was caught by his own team mate Lindsay who was graciously helping out in the field for a depleted home team.

While wickets were falling, Grant Wisson was accumulating runs at the other end, and made a stoic 44 before falling to Ridley, who finished with 6-39 as ASP were shot out for 120.

Westmill/Barley lost Busby early to a reflex one handed catch from Potter, but Chris Markham played sensibly for 50 including two huge sixes off Wisson onto the A507, before he was bowled by Paul Ward, who proceeded to liven things up by having Beedell LBW first ball, bowling opposition skipper Jones, who fell to an ugly smear across the line, and bowling Ridley through his legs to pick up career best figures of 4-23.

It was left to Pipkin to hit the winning runs to see Westmill/Barley home.