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Radlett victorious in close encounter
Sometimes in a close result it seems a shame for one side to lose, but, on Saturday, Radlett fully deserved to win a pulsating match by just three runs.
Radlett made the pace for the game, having lost the toss and been asked to bat. The wicket was slow and of variable bounce, and we lost captain Haxell to a beautiful in-swinger.
Michael Clark came in and played straight, with restraint and good sense, for 50 overs without losing his wicket. Clark, who went on to score 67 not out, was well supported by Ingram, Smithers, Gitay and Constable through the innings. The 53 overs eventually brought 197 for five wickets, thanks to a robust contribution of 18 off seven deliveries from Sudbery at the end. These quick runs would prove to be very significant.
What was pleasing for Radlett, following the previous week's abject batting performance, was that all the batsmen were dismissed by good deliveries. A score of 197-5 on a difficult wicket, against tidy bowling, was a good comeback and an indication that the side has what it takes to finish at the top of the league.
Brown opened the bowling with the old ball, and produced an early peach of a delivery. With Sudbery bowling high class spin at the other end, Baldock were soon on 40-4 and effectively out of the game.
But this was a false assumption for two reasons. Firstly, Baldock seemed to have 11 batsmen and, secondly, the pitch, which had been playing more easily as the game went on, became easy-paced.
Baldock's number five and six batsmen, the Bentley brothers, played with increasing confidence and belligerence, until, having put on 89 runs, their target was reduced to 70 off 17 overs, with six wickets left.
Captain Haxell took the ball and bowled the younger Bently with a great delivery. Eight runs later Constable produced a slightly disputed run out and it all seemend to be over.
With 60 to win, and only three wickets and ten overs remaining, it was to Baldock's credit that a win was on their minds, and they nearly managed it.
Mention must be made of Robert Crocker's performance. He dropped an easy catch, but bowled beautifully, taking the last wicket with a ball that turned a foot to win the game with three balls to spare.
Baldock 194 all out
Radlett III 197-5
Saracens Herts Cricket League Division Five