A depleted First XI with three players making their first team debuts this season, held off a strong Dunstable side to strengthen their hold on a play-off place.

After electing to bat, captain Rob Lankester must have been delighted to see the returning William Heslam (36) and Zachary McGuigan nullify the threat of nemesis, Luke Cherry, with an opening stand of 90. Having hit Beds’ Sam Cherry for 6, Heslam departed bowled next ball, but McGuigan (64) and Lankester (38) then added a further 55 to leave Dunstable reeling at 145 for 2. Nevertheless, the evergreen Robert Simpkins started to pick up wickets on a regular basis, finishing with 5 for 43. Only James Heslam (36) offered sustained resistance, but Reed’s total of 232 for 7 looked to be par for the conditions.

McGuigan (3-34) made it look more imposing,however, and with Sean Tidey as economical as ever, taking 2-30 from his allotted 10 overs, Dunstable slumped to 111-7. There was a twist in the tail, though, as John Barry (51) and Sam Jewiss (31) put together a half-century partnership. With skipper, Lankester, running out of bowling options, Jack Caine stepped up dismissing the last three batsmen for just 12 runs, including two clean bowled. Dunstable 174 all out in 40 overs.

As a result, Reed will probably secure a play-off place with a win against struggling Ampthill next week, especially if Shenley Village are docked points for allegedly fielding one overseas player too many.

Match Report submitted by Peter Wholley.