Holders Reed Crash Out of National Village Cup!
After tasting the ultimate glory of winning the Lords Final last September, National Village Cricket Cup Champions Reed slumped to a shock defeat in their Herts and Beds Group Quarter Final tie away v Wheathampstead on Sunday. A confident Reed had gone into the tie strong favourites to beat their Saracens Herts League rivals who occupy a mid-table place in SHCL Division 2 compared to Reed currently topping SHCL Division 1. However, after an appalling batting display that saw them dismissed for just 71 all out in under 27 overs Reed lost their match by 75 runs.
The day had started well for Reed. Skipper James Heslam won the toss and invited Wheathampstead to bat first. Reed struck early with Lee Johnson inducing an outside edge from opener M Winchester but from 12-1 the home side moved on to 53-2 and then 77-3 at which point Reeds Mitchell Cooper struck and removed the dangerous Andy Winchester after he had compiled a solid innings of 42. Next over another Winchester (R) departed for 11 and 2 more quick wickets followed as Wheathampstead tumbled to 92-6. Dabare 23 and Norris 17* struck some lusty blows before Reeds most successful bowler Cooper (9 overs 4 for 37) took 2 wickets in successive balls. The tidy Karl Ward chipped in with 2 for 5 in 1.4 overs and closed out the home sides innings at 146 all out in 39.4 overs. The total did not seem formidable and the wicket had presented no demons to the home side. Given Reeds record in this competition few amongst the sizeable travelling support could imagine what was to follow after the tea interval.
Things started to go wrong for Reed as early as the second over when skipper Heslam was adjudged LBW for only 2 with the score 4-1,. Then in the 4th over, after striking 2 pleasing boundaries, Will Heslam failed to deal with a short ball and was caught behind for 8. Reed 13 -2. Saturdays 6 hitting batting hero Tom Greaves seemed strangely out of sorts and soon returned to the pavilion, again caught behind for only 2. The dependable Chris Jackson was still at the crease and Reed normally bat well down the order so despite the total reading 17-3 the Reed followers still held out some hope of a recovery and the possibility of victory. However, opening bowlers Ghulum and Robbins were bowling a tidy line and length and getting useful swing and movement from the ball that had not been so obvious when Reed were in the field. Within minutes Chris Jackson had edged the rampant Robbins to gully for only 2 and Reed were in real trouble at 24-4. Mitchell Cooper and Marcus Martin dug in and sought to grind out a foundation for the innings. Cooper played several sumptuous off-drives but was another to fall caught behind, again off Robbins, for 13. 39 – 5. Reed wicket-keeper Sean Tidey joined Martin but within minutes Martin had departed, bizarrely stumped from distance when standing out of his ground, again to bowler Robbins who had now taken the first 6 Reed wickets all on his own! Robbins maximum 9 over spell ended with him showing a return of 6-37!
Karl Ward joined Tidey and looked determined to resist, bat sensibly and make a fight of it. However a flawed attacking shot from Tidey saw him caught behind for 8 and replaced at the crease by elder brother Jack. Jack in turn soon perished caught at long on for only 6 and after Ed Garrott had departed LBW for 0 the last pair were at the crease with Reed 70-9! Minutes later it was all over with Ward caught for a joint top scoring 13 and Lee Johnson left stranded on 0*.
The poorest Reed batting display for some years saw them ignominiously dethroned as Cup holders and Wheathampstead run out worthy winners by 75 runs.