Mitchell Cooper came close to rescuing a victory for Reed 1st XI in a hard-fought contest away to 4th placed Hoddesdon.

With captain Tom Greaves unfortunately injured for the match, vice-captain William Heslam, captaining his first game for the club’s men’s side, won the toss and elected to bowl in cloudy conditions on a pitch which looked like it would offer some assistance to the bowlers despite a decent week of weather.

This proved to be the case as Toby Fynn (10 overs, 4 wickets for 39) moved the ball around beating the bat with an impressive line and length to reduce Hoddesdon to 79-5 with Mitchell Cooper (7-1-39) also picking up a good wicket. A decent partnership was then forged between the hard-hitting Rob Jones (69) and Martin Brown (18) who survived a big lbw shout first ball. However Sean Tidey (8.3-2-21) and Alex Mutucumarana (7-3-45) both bowled well and when Brown was dismissed by Mutucumarana, quickly followed by another two wickets at 142-8 it was looking very good for Reed. Unfortunately a speedy 9th wicket partnership followed as Rhys and Rob Jones opened their shoulders before Mutucumarana and Tidey wrapped things up at 191 all out.

Despite the wicket offering something to the bowlers, with short boundaries and a lightning fast outfield Reed were confident if they could bat better than in some of their recent games the match was easily winnable. This looked the case as Rich Wharton (34) and William Heslam (37) set off fluently in pursuit of the target. At 63-0 off 14 overs the game was well in Reed’s hands, however when Heslam was really getting going he went to an unlikely mis-timed shot off the swing bowling of Brown. Reed then unfortunately collapsed to 100-7 off 27 overs. A mixture of good spin bowling and some below par batting put Reed in trouble. With plenty of overs left on a free scoring ground Reed knew if they could forge a partnership the game was not out of reach and the reliable Chris Jackson (18) and dangerous Mitchell Cooper (50) steadied the ship until Jackson was caught on the boundary.

Nevertheless 18 year-old Jack Caine (9*) showed no nerves supporting the determined Cooper who by now was playing some cracking drives off the Hoddesdon quicks. At 179-8 with 3 overs left the game was finely poised and the key moment arrived as Cooper blasted a drive superbly but just within reach of the tallest Hoddesdon fielder who excellently held on. This proved a match winning catch with Fynn bowled by the pacey Davis an over later. Reed ended on 179 all out, 12 agonising runs short.

Extremely disappointing for Reed to get so close but an excellent game of cricket for the sizeable crowd to enjoy on a warm summer’s day.

Report submitted by James Heslam.