Three and easy for in-form Richard

BUNTINGFORD took on second-placed Hockerill in the Herts & Essex League at Norfolk Road on Saturday, and completed a third league win on the bounce. On a hot and sunny day, Buntingford chose to bat first and struggled on a wicket that gave assistance to

BUNTINGFORD took on second-placed Hockerill in the Herts & Essex League at Norfolk Road on Saturday, and completed a third league win on the bounce.

On a hot and sunny day, Buntingford chose to bat first and struggled on a wicket that gave assistance to the bowlers.

Richard Pearce batted patiently for his 47 runs, with most of the other Buntingford batsman making double figures but then failing to go on.

Some good clean hitting from Steve Baker (23 not out) late on, helped Buntingford total 185-9.

S Layer showed once again the value of a slow bowler, taking 5-35 from his six overs.

Chris Chambers (2-17 from 10 superb overs) and Richard Pearce (2-21 from 10 overs), had Hockerill in all sorts of trouble at 40-4 from the first 20 overs

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A good response from the Hockerill batsman enabled them to reach a total of 148, with Layer top scoring with 38, while Steve Baker ending with figures of 4-37 from his 10 overs

Buntingford's second team made the reverse trip to Bishop's Stortford III in Division Six, and they returned to winning ways with a three-wicket win.

Hockerill elected to bat first and their innings was held together by a patient innings from opener N Shied who carried his bat for 71.

Four other Hockerill batsman got into double figures, with Nayeem being the best of them, hitting a quickfire 35, before falling to a great catch by the young colt wicket keeper Mike Townsend.

Hockerill finished on 186-8 from their 40 overs.

In reply, Buntingford started quickly and were scoring well above the required run rate of four per over. However they were also losing wickets at regular intervals and at 71-5 things did not seem too bright.

But a match-winning stand of 77 between Joe Miller and George Wurr swung the game decisively back in the visitor's favour.

When Miller was out for 38, only 39 more runs were needed from 20 overs. Wurr (59 not out) was then given support by Glasscock (17) and Atkins (12 not out), to see Buntingford finish as winners on 191-7 with 12 overs still remaining.

On Sunday, Buntingford entertained Cokenach in a friendly 40-over match, and in a high-scoring game, Buntingford ran out winners by five wickets.

Batting first, Cokenach posted a total 202-4. All six batsman got into double figure, with Phil Seale (53 not out) and Peter Clarke (34) being the top two contributors.

In reply, Buntingford rode their luck early on, when the young opening Cokenach bowler Thompson had both openers dropped in his first over.

Although opener Lawrence did not last much longer, Dixon made the most of his let-off by smashing 14 boundaries in his 82.

When he sportingly retired at 120-3, he and McNamara had put together a stand of 94 runs in just 13 overs.

Ably assisted by a quickfire 34 not out from Clements at the other end, McNamara was still there unbeaten on 56 when Buntingford crossed the finishing line on 206-5 with 10 overs remaining.

There had been better news for Cokenach the previous day as they defeated league leaders Elmdon.

Cokenach skipper Peter Clarke lost the toss for the sixth time this season, and visitors Elmdon decided to field first.

Adam Wardell (20) and Matt Stevens (15) gave the hosts a solid start putting on 33 for the first wicket, before Matt Stevens was bowled.

Two further quick wickets left Cokenach struggling on 52-3 from 15 overs.

However, Clarke (52) and vice- captain Phil Seale (28) in his first game back from a broken finger, began to rebuild the innings and put on a partnership of 48 before Clarke was out at 100-4.

With some hard work still to be done to set a decent total, John Ford entered the crease and promptly added a quick-fire 28 including a massive six over the sightscreen.

This combined with some quick running between the wickets with Seale, and some further late hitting from James Keel took to Cokenach to a competitive total of 185 all out off 39.4 overs.

Elmdon started well and raced away to 70-1 off 17 overs. Therefore, with pace and seam not working, Peter Clarke turned to the young spin duo of Carl Thompson and Jack Sirett.

It proved to be a masterstroke as the pair bowled 19 overs between them picking up 5-79 runs and Elmdon collapsed to 159-9, giving a deserved victory for Cokenach who held some stunning catches in the process.

Reed III faced their hardest fixture so far this year in a closely- fought game on Saturday, when they played Hatfield Crusaders II in a top of the table clash.

Reed's stand-in captain Rob Willoughby lost the toss and were put into bat first.

This seemed a good move by the Crusaders' captain as the top order collapsed, with the exception of Richard Barlow.

At one point Reed were 32-4. However Fergus Martin came in and steadied the ship along with Richard Barlow as both players played some fine shots.

Martin was eventually out for a very good 27.

Michael Robertson then came in and played his customary attacking style scoring a quick 14, before being caught after trying to play one shot too many.

At this point Reed were 99-6, and were really struggling. However the partnership of the innings was to come when Ed Garrot came to the crease and formed a fantastic partnership with Barlow, taking the score to 192-7, when Garr0t was bowled for 36.

Crusaders' heads were noticeably dropping as Reed kept on scoring runs and finished their innings on 243 all out, with Barlow getting 107 not out, after hitting a six to bring up his ton.

After tea Reed came out to field knowing that the opposition would be handy with the bat as they were the team top of the table.

However a wicket in the first over from the bowling of Dave Hill and a fine catch from Robertson certainly helped to get the ball rolling.

The second wicket was to come reasonably soon with Dave Hill (2-19) finding the edge for Steve Lovegrove to take the catch behind the stumps.

Things seemed to be moving along nicely for Reed, but the third wicket did not fall easily, with that partnership putting on 99 runs as Crusaders reached 123-3.

The next five wickets then came for just 45 runs, thanks to some very good bowling from Garrot (3-75) and Alan Ward (3-57).

The game at this point looked very much in Reed's hands but the last few wickets proved difficult to get, and Crusaders started to up the run rate to point themselves in a position to win the game.

The next wicket did not come until the returning Rupert Martin made the breakthrough, thanks to a wonderful catch from his brother, Fergus.

This left Crusaders on 212-9, but their captain was still in and was scoring rapidly to take the winning score to within touching distance.

However, the game was finished by fine bowling from Rupert Martin (2-22), who got the captain out thanks to a fine catch behind the stumps by Lovegrove.

In the end it turned out to be a fantastic match with both teams batting and bowling well, and with either team being in a position to win.

However, Reed won by 12 runs though remain in second place.