Ton-up hero James leads from front
JAMES Heslam hit an unbeaten century, steering Reed to National Village Cup Victory and dumping Division 1 high-fliers Langleybury out of the competition for the second year in a row. Division 2 leaders Reed started the game as underdogs, but proved more
JAMES Heslam hit an unbeaten century, steering Reed to National Village Cup Victory and dumping Division 1 high-fliers Langleybury out of the competition for the second year in a row.
Division 2 leaders Reed started the game as underdogs, but proved more than a match for Langleybury, and further cemented their season credentials with a blistering nine-wicket win.
Reed captain Heslam said: "This was a great win and I'm delighted to have completed back-to-back victories against Langleybury.
"Hopefully we can emulate last year's National Village Cup run."
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Last year Reed won the final of the Hertfordshire section of the competition and qualified for the first round of the national competition, where they lost in a close game to Bledlow Ridge.
Expecting another tough game, Heslam elected to field first, and put Langleybury into bat with Peter Tidey (9-2-30-0) quickly stamping his trademark tight inswingers on the game to keep runs to a minimum.
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However, Langleybury openers, Cooper (71) and Channer (72) gradually took control, and built a responsible first-wicket partnership of 161.
It took a mis-timed run from Channer to gift Reed with a breakthrough as William Clarke gathered the ball and Simon Jackson broke the stumps to complete a run-out at the striker's end.
This proved to be the opening Reed needed, and wickets began to fall, thanks largely to the tireless Graham Wilson (9-0-45-4), and the sharp stumping of wicket keeper Simon Jackson and Langleybury finished with a total of 248-6 off 40 overs.
The Reed attack prepared for their reply, and hoped to start in the same nonchalant way as they had done the previous year when opener Baz Curtis scored 58 in 46 balls.
Curtis (33) began in similar style with Heslam, until he was brilliantly caught and bowled by Carter, the same bowler he had bludgeoned from the attack the previous year.
Meanwhile, Heslam was feasting on Langleybury's short bowling and hit consecutive sixes off Williams, one of which sailed over the pavilion.
Heslam and Chris Jackson (64 not out) worked their way towards a partnership of 186, with Jackson completing his second consecutive half century against Langleybury, with his 64 coming in just 69 balls.
But it was Heslam who was the star of the show, ending on a superb 132 not out, including two sixes and 13 fours.
Reed's run chase was judged to perfection, as they sealed victory with 17 balls to spare.
Heslam said: "It was nice to score a ton, especially when the pressure was on, and a big performance was required.
"However, the whole team pulled together and to chase the total that was set was brilliant."
Reed will now face Premiership club North Mymms on Sunday in the semi-final of the Hertfordshire section of the competition.
Heslam said: "North Mymms will be another tough game, but we're confident we can do well.
"We got through to the first round of the national competition last year, so obviously that's our target.
"And if we win our next two games anything is possible!