Vital win gives Knebworth Park hope of beating the drop from Division One

PUBLISHED: 07:00 23 August 2018

Charlie Randall produced season best figures with the ball as well as hitting 41 with the bat as Knebworth Park beat Old Albanian. Picture: DANNY LOO

Charlie Randall produced season best figures with the ball as well as hitting 41 with the bat as Knebworth Park beat Old Albanian. Picture: DANNY LOO

©2018 Danny Loo Photography - all rights reserved

Knebworth Park clinched a vital win over Old Albanian to boost their chance of avoiding relegation from Saracens Herts Cricket League Division One.

It was their first back-to-back success this season and means they are now 24 points clear with two games to go.

This 45-run triumph came on the back of a strong batting display on an awkward surface in St Albans and was backed up by accurate bowling.

After being asked to bat first Mo Asif and Adam Sergeant gave Park a healthy start of 39 for the first wicket before Sergeant was trapped lbw for 20.

Asif kept going though, scoring a superb 58, but his wicket was part of a mini-collapse which saw the visitors go from 102-1 to 119-5.

Charlie Randall (41) and Tariq Umair (50) led a crucial recovery, putting on 74 for the sixth wicket, and Umair marshalled the tail after Randall was out.

He hoisted a big six in the final over for his third half-century of the season before he was last man out, leaving Knebworth 22 all out.

The reply started brilliantly for the Park, with Gareth Jones and Randall claiming wickets to leave OAs 13-2.

Asif picked up two wickets, one from a smart Jones catch, before resistance from Hussain ended.

The middle order weren’t finished though and led by the impressive Chris Dobson they kept Albanian in the chase.

When Randall returned to the attack though, batting become an even greater challenge.

He trapped Victor Starmaid lbw for 22 and followed up with a third wicket to claim his best bowling figures of the season, taking 3-29.

And Dobson was left stranded on 33 not out as a smart Jones run out and Wasim Khalid (2-37) wrapped it up in two balls, leaving the hosts all out for 177.

A superb bowling performance put the seconds in sight of victory against Division Four A leaders Hoddesdon 2nds before they slipped to a heart-breaking one-wicket defeat.

Teenage tyro Ollie O’Brien produced his best spell of the season as he claimed three wickets in a devastating opening burst as the Park tried to defend a total of 171-6, helped in part by Ian Pickering’s 68 not out.

O’Brien (3-21) was backed up by Neils Hart and the game could have gone either way but with the gloom descending Hoddesdon’s number 10 Max Murray sealed the win in the 49th over.

A brilliant recovery by veterans John Inman and skipper Jonathan Cirkel enabled the fourth team to clinch victory in a friendly away to Arkley.

In chasing the home team’s 71 all out they slumped to 25-6.

It was then that Inman (10*) and Cirkel (33) guided them home without further loss, the skipper hitting seven boundaries.

Earlier, James Roos (3-12), Bella Hopcraft (3-21) and Catherine Cirkel (2-5) were the main wicket-takers.

Their league opponents Baldock had pulled out to concede the league fixture.

A valiant effort from the thirds wasn’t enough to stop them falling to defeat against Chipperfield Clarendon.

The bowling highlight was 12-year-old Essex county player Kobie Richmond who took 2-14 on his first senior appearance for the Park.

Chasing a daunting 305, Danny Digweed (64) and Matt Inman (34) put on 104 for the second wicket and Ian Woods added 66 before being the ninth wicket to fall.

And Knebworth were soon all out for 201.

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