Knebworth Park's promotion hopes suffer a Hitch

PUBLISHED: 17:19 25 August 2008 | UPDATED: 21:37 26 October 2009

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Photo reference: am08hcc 1

Saracens Herts League Division One Knebworth Park 150-10 Hitchin 153-9 KNEBWORTH Park s push for promotion stuttered on Saturday when they failed to beat an under-strength Hitchin team. Title-chasing Knebworth slipped to a slender one-wicket defeat after

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Saracens Herts League Division One

Knebworth Park 150-10 Hitchin 153-9

KNEBWORTH Park's push for promotion stuttered on Saturday when they failed to beat an under-strength Hitchin team.

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Title-chasing Knebworth slipped to a slender one-wicket defeat after only posting 150 runs in the Saracens Herts League Division One derby at Lucas Lane.

Hitchin were only able to field five of the players who featured in the earlier fixture between the two clubs this season, and that included captain Craig Millwood playing with a broken finger.

The 11 points gained in Saturday's defeat saw the Park slip to second, just ahead of third-placed St Albans.

They will have to improve in their final two matches, both at home, against Berkhamsted and Totteridge Millhillians respectively, if they are to realise their promotion ambitions, with leaders Letchworth and St Albans meeting in the final round of matches.

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Park won the toss at Hitchin and batted on what looked like a very dry strip.

Jarrod Turner and Ryan Skeggs started well enough until the latter was dismissed for eight by keeper Ollie Hammond taking an excellent catch down the leg side, with brother Ashley Hammond bowling.

And when Tony Skeggs was trapped lbw the next delivery, Park found themselves 29-2.

A strong partnership was needed to settle the innings, but another sharply taken catch, this time by Danny Fair, sent Turner back to the pavilion for 32 off the bowling of Dave Moore.

Park were now 43-3, which soon became 43-4, as Ashley Hammond claimed his third wicket of the afternoon, having Steve Gregory caught by Chris Maylin.

Louis Champion followed for 10 with the score on 60, when he offered a straightforward chance to Ollie Hammond, giving the keeper his second catch of the day, and Moore his second wicket.

The Knebworth middle order all tried to knuckle down to recover the innings and they all got a start, but the slow scoring rate prompted indifferent shots.

After patiently getting to 19, Junior d'Abreu swished at and completely missed a delivery from Geoff Edwards and was bowled with the score on 78.

Adam Sergeant and Sam McCrow added the largest partnership of the day - just 44 - before more good work from Ollie Hammond had Sergeant (25) stumped off Simon Bayston.

That was 122-7 and McCrow added only one more run to the total before he watched Hammond take two more catches in consecutive balls off Moore.

Shaun Robinson scored seven in a vital last-wicket stand that helped lift the score up to 150 in the 51st over, until he fell lbw to Bayston.

McCrow finished with a valuable and resilient 43 not out, but the score looked woefully inadequate.

Moore, with 4-68, and Ashley Hammond, who claimed 3-27, were aided by the impressive keeping of Ollie Hammond, who took four catches and a stumping.

The Hitchin batting reply looked grossly under strength, and when Danny Fair left alone a delivery from Paul Slade which clean bowled him with the score on only three, Park may have felt they could get themselves out of trouble.

Ollie Hammond, batting at number three, fuelled Knebworth's hopes when he smashed a ball back, only to see it deflect off the hand of Tony Skeggs to dismiss Mick Lee run out for 11.

Hammond and Scott Marshall rode their luck, both surviving numerous appeals, until Marshall was also run out for 23, with Charlie Randall gathering well and getting the ball to Park keeper Champion.

However, Hammond continued to steer the innings into three figures.

But when he fell for 46, caught by McCrow with Turner bowling, the Hitchin tail was exposed, although only 44 runs were needed to win with just four wickets down.

The makeshift Hitchin side all chipped in with a few runs, but wickets did continue to fall and 131-5 became 133-8 when Tony Skeggs claimed two lbw decisions and Sam McCrow added a third run out with a direct hit to dismiss Chris Maylin for 15.

Millwood, batting with a broken finger, took the score to 142 with David Moore before popping an easy chance for McCrow to catch.

Moore (13) and Geoff Edwards saw Hitchin past the winning line on 153-9 for the maximum 30 points.

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