Heslam’s half century fails to beat the rain

REED lost out to promotion hopefuls Watford Town on Saturday in a rain affected game at The Green. With the game evenly poised at a rain-break, both sides in hope of achieving a win and the 30 point maximum from the game decided that they were happy to r

REED lost out to promotion hopefuls Watford Town on Saturday in a rain affected game at The Green.

With the game evenly poised at a rain-break, both sides in hope of achieving a win and the 30 point maximum from the game decided that they were happy to risk defeat in hope of this.

The day began in glorious sunshine and Reed got off to a decent start with Baz Curtis (21) and James Heslam (53) putting on 37 for the first wicket.

When Curtis fell attempting another powerful drive of the front foot, Chris Jackson joined Heslam.

The visitors took the score up to 80-1 after 20 overs with Jackson the main contributor before being bowled for a useful 28.

Once Clarke joined the fray the rain began to fall and Heslam began to cut loose and passed 50.

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However once it appeared that the hard work had been done the re-introduction of seam accounted for Heslam attempting a pull stroke on what had now become a skiddy wicket.

In fact this change in conditions hampered the Reed middle order as from 140-2, the innings came to an end at 193 in the 53rd over.

Clarke batted well for his 44 but only the skipper Simon Jackson (14) and Marcus Martin (9) could really add much extra to the Reed innings in the last 20 overs.

In reply Watford were unsettled by an aggressive opening spell by Richard Johnson (2-30) as he took two wickets to leave the visitors at 39-2 after 13 overs.

This was a good start for Reed but they were soon off the field for a lengthy rain delay and when the game restarted Watford needed to score at over six an over and Reed needed to take eight more wickets.

Despite a fighting spell by the ever-green Peter Tidey (2-82) the Watford batsman were up for the task and in particular former minor counties player S Podger who smashed 65 off just 35 balls to effectively turn the game for the visitors.

Unfortunately a weakened Reed attack short of several front liners including Clarke who suffered an ankle injury whilst batting, the Town made it home with five wickets in hand.

Skipper Simon Jackson said "it was obviously disappointing to lose but both sides said they would battle with the weather to try to get a result.

"Losing Clarkey was a blow and only left us with four bowlers after Andy Young pulled out on the morning of the game.

"I think we got the worst of the conditions, batting was hard towards the end of our innings and by the time they batted the wicket did nothing.

"The ball was like a sponge however Podger did hit some massive sixes.

"Our top four batted well again, we just could do with more runs from our middle order"

Reed II lost their first game in six weeks at Berkhamsted II in another rain interrupted promotion battle, despite a good performance.

Ben Bowles and Harry Picton-Turbivell opened the innings for Reed and made a solid start putting on 20 before Picton-Turbivell was bowled by pace bowler James.

This brought Matt Bowles to the crease to partner brother Ben, but only one ball was bowled before the heavens opened and play was halted.

Play resumed 15 minutes later, and on a wet pitch batting and bowling was proving to be a problem.

With rain again beginning to fall, a 45 minute stop in play meant that he game length was reduced, with Reed allowed a maximum of 45 overs to bat.

The Bowles brothers then set about trying to post a score for Reed, with Ben looking in particularly good form.

Running ones and twos on the slippery pitch was becoming increasingly difficult, and with this in mind boundaries became the main source of runs for Reed.

Matt Bowles punished the bad balls well, including some fearsome pull shots on his way to 31, but was eventually caught in slips off of the bowling of Ezzard.

In form Ian Fulk then joined Ben Bowles, and the pair carried on adding to the Reed total, despite the difficult conditions.

Bowles looked in fine form as he negotiated the variable bounce and gave the Berko' bowlers some tap, looking especially strong off of the back foot.

Together with the majestic Fulk, Bowles helped the score from 85 to 170 in 13 overs before falling for a magnificent 69.

Fulk carried on scoring unfazed in his increasingly typical manner, and along with Michael Robertson added yet more to the Reed total.

The last two overs saw 26 runs scored by Reed, with Fulk ending the day on 50 (not out) meaning he has scored 350 runs in his last five innings, all of which have been not out.

Robertson too batted with class and power, finishing 12 (not out) with some vital and big boundary shots, and Reed looked to have scored a commanding 196-3 off of their allotted 45 overs.

In reply Berkhamsted got off to a decent start, with the hard hitting Crispin looking to get off to a flying start.

However, some good bowling from Archer and youngster Harry Picton-Turbivell prevented this.

Picton-Turbivell bowled superbly, with tremendous pace and bounce.

Archer also bowled very well, and was rewarded with the wicket of Crispin.

Rupert Martin then weighed in with the wicket of Crispin's fellow opener Smith to leave Berko' 62-2, and well behind the required run rate.

When Richard Robertson had Hardy caught behind with the score on 93 and Berkhamsted needing eight an over, Reed looked in a strong position.

However Brown then bludgeoned his team back into contention, despite the wicket of Sherjan thanks to Picton-Turbivell's great bowling.

Brown's 66 run partnership with the equally big hitting Knight proved to be key for Berkhamsted as they moved towards the victory target.

Robertson did eventually snare the wicket of Brown for 62, but it was too little too late for Reed, as Knight (36 not out) took Berkhamsted home with six balls to spare.

Due to both Reed's first and second team opponents pulling out, an inter-club friendly game was played at the green on Sunday.

A team captained by Ed Blissett were defeated by a team captained by Marcus Martin after a great bowling performance by under-15 player Chris West.

The seem bowler took a brilliant 7-13 off three overs to leave the Blissett XI stranded on 74 all out, despite an unbeaten knock of 27 by the skipper

In reply Roger Bowcock (10) and James Radmore (20) batted well, but good bowling by Clive Collins, Michael Naeem,

Rupert Martin and Karl Wart left the Martin's XI in some trouble as they struggled to reach the measly total. However a fine knock by Michael Robertson, including three huge six took them home for the loss of four wickets.