Reed too hot for Hitchin

Reed celebrate the wicket of Henry Snowden. Photo: Alan Millard

Reed celebrate the wicket of Henry Snowden. Photo: Alan Millard - Credit: Archant

REED continue to battle hard in the race for promotion thanks to a dramatic last over victory at Hitchin on Saturday.

Mitchell Cooper bowls at Paul Smith. Photo: Alan Millard

Mitchell Cooper bowls at Paul Smith. Photo: Alan Millard - Credit: Archant

Reed won the toss and took the risk of bowling first on a green looking wicket knowing one of Hitchin’s key bowlers was unavailable.

The visitors made a decent start with Jack Tidey (3-32), Mitchell Cooper, Tom Greaves (1-68) and Rupert Martin (2-55) all bowling well.

This along with another direct hit run out by Will Heslam left Hitchin at 104-6 off 33 overs when the weather intervened.

Unfortunately this break disrupted Reed’s rhythm and when they returned a combination of lacklustre Reed play and good batting by Hitchin saw the home side eventually make 224-9 off their 52 overs.

Rajiv Sharma made an excellent knock of 97 not out including some big hitting in the last few overs and he was well supported by Ali Neale (41).

In reply Reed knew they needed a positive start and they got this to a certain degree at 25-0 off five overs.

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However, both Heslams fell soon after for 12.

Nevertheless Greaves and Chris Jackson not only repaired the damage, but kept the scoring rate up moving Reed along to 93-2 in the 21st over.

Although Greaves fell for an impressive run a ball 44 Stuart Smith joined Jackson (37) and another good partnership took the score to 125-3 in 28 overs.

By this point the run rate had increased a little to more than six an over but this was ok as long as Reed’s middle or lower order could bat well.

Smith took on the role of anchoring the innings and did so impressively.

He was supported by particularly useful contributions from Michael Robertson (17) and Jack Tidey (13).

With seven balls left Tidey and Smith had moved the score onto 220-8.

However, Tidey was then adjudged lbw and last man Rupert Martin entered the fray.

A dot ball would have left Smith on strike for the last over needing four to win, but Martin looked for a big drive which looped over cover for a run.

This put Martin on strike for the last over with Smith watching on helplessly at the other end on 70 not out.

Hearts were in mouths as the last over began and even more so when Martin went for it sending a drive sailing alarmingly close to deepish mid off, however he had hit it well and the fielder couldn’t reach the ball cleanly and it went racing to the boundary.

The Reed players erupted into celebration with a massive 30 points secured that puts them clear in fourth place still one point behind third with five games left.

In other results Reeds II beat Stevenage III by two wickets and Reed IV drew with Watford Town IV.

Reed’s IIIs did not have a game.