Reed 1xi narrowly failed to deliver the dream of Hertfordshire Premier League cricket at the Green next season by losing their promotion Play-off against 9th placed Premier League side Potters Bar.
After losing the toss and surprisingly being put in the field on a green wicket with cloud cover around Reed couldn’t have started much better as the highly impressive 18 year old Tom Walsingham (2-47) trapped Liam Gough (son of Darren) LBW for 0. He then picked up the wicket of 1st class cricketer overseas player Rahul Panta for 1 well caught behind by Sean Tidey. Reed were in dreamland as Jack Tidey (3-30) showed no rustiness from injury taking two early wickets clean bowling Palmer and Middlesex 2s player George Scott to reduce Potters Bar to 28-4. When Swailand then went for 4 to Tidey it was 40-5 and Reed were dominant in front of a good sized crowd. However, Mauwelge and Ben Taylor then forged a partnership that helped the score recover well before the impressive Tom Greaves (1-29) forced Mauwelge into a high risk shot to leave the score at 107-6. At this point Reed were still on top but unfortunately another partnership between Taylor and Scutt (35) slowly developed and n ot helped by a couple of chances going to waste and not a lot of luck going their way Reed were unable to make any further breakthroughs. In which case inevitably Potters Bar crept up above 200 and with a good finish eventually posted 217-6 in their 50 overs with Taylor making an absolutely crucial and well fought 97 not out for his side.
There was no doubt Potters Bar had the momentum on a bowler friendly wicket and having recovered so well. However, if Reed could bat well there was hope of still chasing down a gettable score with their long batting line-up. Unfortunately though Reed did not get the start they were after as Punta (3-10) and Scott (2-53) secured early breakthroughs of Will Heslam (6) and Sam Fairbrother (11) leaving Reed 33-2. This became a lot worse when the in form Alex Mutucumarana (15) and Greaves (0) went soon after leaving Reed in big trouble at 43-4. Captain James Heslam and Chris Jackson went about steadying the ship, which they did but at a slow rate with the pressure on and the Potters Bar spinners, particularly Walallawita (1-18) bowling very tightly. The score reached 99-4 off 30 overs and suddenly Reed were getting themselves back into the game with Jackson and Heslam starting to score freely but just as expectations were increasing Heslam fell caught behind for 32. Sean Tidey then wen t an over later for 1 and the game had turned significantly in Potters Bar favour again. Stuart Smith (15) did look to be offering Reed hope again when he settled quickly scoring at the required run a ball but then an unfortunate run out burst the Reed bubble again. Jack Tidey went cheaply and although Mitchell Cooper batted well with Chris Jackson who completed a well made 50, with the required rate now at 8.5 an over it was always going to be difficult. The pressure eventually told and the valiant Jackson went for 56 leaving Cooper to have to swing the bat and be last man out caught in the deep for 16 as Reed finished on 167-10 off 47.3 overs.
Overall Reed can look back at a game they came so close to winning. Another breakthrough when Potters Bar were 5 or 6 wickets down would have almost certainly left them with a very gettable target and possibly there were moments at certain points in the run chase when they were getting close to challenging but at this level it is small margins and they needed to be at their very best to defeat a high calibre Potters Bar side who battled well. It also didn’t seem to be Reed’s day when perhaps they needed that little bit of luck to get them there.
The positive is looking back at an excellent season finishing runners-up by a distance in a high standard Hertfordshire Championship. In a season of at times mixed availability and unusually frequent injuries the marker has been set for hopefully a full strength Reed to next year aim to go one better and secure a place in Hertfordshire Premier League cricket. On the evidence of the league season and the play off game this is certainly within their grasp.