Royston batsmen have 20/20 vision

ROYSTON got their new season off to the perfect start with a victory over Royston Polaris in a pre-season 20/20 friendly. Batting first, Royston chalked up a formidable 159, and were indebted to two excellent innings from Paul Miller and Ashley Judge. Be

ROYSTON got their new season off to the perfect start with a victory over Royston Polaris in a pre-season 20/20 friendly.

Batting first, Royston chalked up a formidable 159, and were indebted to two excellent innings from Paul Miller and Ashley Judge.

Between them, the pair hit 20 boundaries with a mixture of controlled aggression and composed stroke play, though both rode their luck at times as pre-season stiffness contributed to a couple of chances going begging.

Judge's 58 not out was his second half-century for the club, while Miller's undefeated 60 included one mammoth six.

There were wickets for Graham Litson and Dominic Adams, but they were not enough to stem the flow of runs.

Steve Gwynne gave the Polaris reply some early steel with some impressive stroke play, but when he fell, to an inside edge well caught by wicket-keeper John Bason, the inexperienced Polaris line-up began to struggle.

Most Read

They battled hard against the pace and guile of regular Royston first teamer and opening bowler Richard Temple, and Naveed Ahmad.

Each picked up a wicket, as did Neil Addison, Safwan Akram, and Joe Carver, while Angus Batey bagged two with his erratic but intermittently effective leg-spin.

However, it was Miller who stole the show with a direct hit run-out from deep midwicket.

Though Polaris ended some way short of Royston's total, both sides learned from an enjoyable match played in great spirit.

The season begins in earnest on Saturday, with Royston's first team at home to Wilbrahams, while the seconds visit Wilbrahams seconds.

Both matches start at 2pm and all are welcome. Further details, including full fixture lists for the club's adult and youth sides, news, views and comment, plus a downloadable version of the 2008 Yearbook, are available at

REED seconds look set for a good year with a seven-wicket victory against London Colney in their final warm-up match.

Having been asked to field first, Reed's opening bowlers Joe Curk and Marcus Martin got the visitors off to a fine start, conceding just 30 runs in their first 12 overs.

Colney were quickly under pressure and the introduction of Louis Gearing and Michael Robertson only furthered the hosts' problems by taking four more wickets.

In the final 15 overs captain Jason Archer and young leg spin bowler James Bloor kept the run rate down to just over three an over, while snaffling five big wickets and ripping the heart out of Colney's middle order.

With the hosts finishing on 140-9 after their 45 allocated overs, Reed's opening partnership of Fergus Martin (32) and Tom Greaves (0) got going, but suffered an early setback with the latter dismissed following a difficult delivery.

This brought Chris Jackson (68 not out) to the crease, and he and Martin batted superbly by putting on 78 for the second wicket, before Martin skied one to extra cover.

Joe Curk (32) then entered the action and after adapting to the slow paced wicket, he began to score at will.

Jackson completed an outstanding half century as the pair formed Reed's second 50 partnership of the innings.

When Curk was caught, they had put on 58 to take Reed to within touching distance of victory, with the score on 136 for 3.

John Kershaw then came to the fray and with a couple of lusty blows closed down the run chase with relative ease and with seven overs to spare.

An experimental Reed thirds started their season in winning style - with Karl Ward's century helping his side to a 76-run victory over Preston.

With six senior debutants, two under-15 players and two under-13 players Reed got off to a solid start with skipper Peter Baker quickly reaching 29 before being dismissed with the score at 62.

While opening partner Karl Ward demonstrated his fine early season form and set about the Preston bowling in vigorous style.

Ward had soon struck 19 fours and five sixes as he raced to his first club century before retiring on 116 not out.

Veteran John Heslam, batting alongside his 13-year-old son William, also had Preston on the back foot, with the pair striking up a useful partnership.

Heslam senior departed for 33, while Will struck a composed 27, with Alan Ward adding an unbeaten 20 as Reed totalled 265 for 9 off their 40 overs.

Facing a huge task in turning things around, Preston got off to a steady start despite Reed's under-15 bowling pairing of George Greaves and Alex West bowling a very tidy opening innings.

However, it was the even younger pairing of Ollie Benham and Will Heslam who got among the early wickets as Preston slumped to 46-3.

A revival followed as the Reed slow bowlers took something of a pasting at the hands of Preston's Saunders (70) and Wright (49).

However, the introduction of Alan Ward into the attack broke the partnership, and the pressure of the run chase finally told.

Will Heslam 3-22 and Ollie Benham 2-17 returned to take another wicket each with Preston struggling on 189-7 off their 40 overs, which left Reed victors by 76 runs.

IT has been a great week for Aspenden Standon and Puckeridge, who saw off both Hatfield Broad Oak and Finchingfield.

ASP lost Matt Booth early on for a duck, before Groom and Strange did their best to push the score up to 50 as Strange was well held at mid for 36.

Groom battled intently before getting himself out, with the ASP innings spluttering as the usually fluent Mark Potter struggled with the pace of the pitch.

He fell for 29 following another great catch, which left proceedings to Luke Clifton (19 not out) who gave ASP a much-needed impetus. As a result they finished 137-7 from their 40 overs.

At that point Hatfield thought they had the game wrapped up, however despite a bright start reaching 25 without loss, a succession of terrible shots saw them dismissed for 53.

Clark Baxter took 4-15, with skipper Albon producing figures of 4.2-1-3-3, while Clifton continued his fine start to the season with 2-13.

ASP also sent Finchingfield packing with a seven-wicket victory.

Finchingfield decided to bat first, and they got off to a steady start against the somewhat wayward opening bowling of Mark Pankhurst.

However, things changed when Clifton took two wickets in a fine spell of 6-0-12-2, and it needed Cooper to stand firm and make a fine 43 before falling to a good catch from Clifton.

Young Reece Fitzgerald also took two wickets, with his off spin while Potter turned things around with 2-8.

In the end Finchingfield limped to 147 all out.

In reply ASP were 26-3 after Rob Devonshire was caught at mid on, with Booth throwing his wicket away for seven and Clifton being expertly snaffled, after being caught and bowled by Butt.

ASP kept their cool however, and Baxter and Potter started caressing the ball around, picking up the singles to keep the score board ticking, before Potter took a liking to Ellis's bowling and took 22 off an over.

At the other end Baxter was quietly accumulating the runs and reached his maiden ASP 50 making 56 not out, while Potter bludgeoned his way to an unbeaten 71 as the hosts cruised home by seven wickets in the 28th over.