Fresh from achieving promotion to the Premier Division of the Hertfordshire Cricket League on Saturday, Reed returned to the “Home of Cricket”, the iconic Lord’s Cricket Ground, for their third appearance in the National Village Cup Final in 8 seasons; this time, matched against Houghton Main Cricket Club from South Yorkshire. In all three Finals of this national competition in which they have appeared, Reed’s opponents have been from the strong county of Yorkshire. This competition is now in its 47th year and is organised by The Cricketer Magazine, itself approaching its century since its first publication.

On a brilliantly warm late-summer day, Reed won the toss and chose to field. Toby Fynn opened the bowling from the Pavilion End and was dispatched for ten in the first over. Jack Tidey, (from the Nursery End, although would now be better described as the “building site end” because of the re-construction of the Edrich and Compton Stands), recorded an analysis of 2 for 19 from his 8 overs, and was on the spot from his first delivery. Fynn recovered superbly after the wayward first over to bowl his 8 overs in one spell returning figures of 1 for 25 after capturing the first wicket, that of Houghton Main’s high-scoring batsman, Simon Ward, for 18 in the 9th over when the score was 30 for 1. Brown and Rehman soon followed and the White Rose team were wobbling at 35 for 3.

Soon afterwards, opening batsman, Ian Simon*, received a sickening blow to the head and was forced to retire hurt and was taken to hospital for scans. The players left the field for about 20 minutes whilst first-responders tended to the injured batsman on the pitch and the large crowd of supporters from both clubs, as well as MCC and Middlesex CCC Members, estimated at approximately 700 in total, were left silent, pondering the outcome. After resumption, Callum Honeyman and Imran Khan set about rebuilding the innings. Khan departed for 37, the first of three wickets for Sean Tidey (8-0-40-3), and Kapala joined Honeyman for a second consecutive fifty partnership but Houghton Main were using up valuable overs in the process as Reed’s bowlers turned the screw and the fielding was out of the top draw. Four wickets fell in the last four overs, two for Mitchell Cooper (8-1-37-2), leaving Houghton Main closing on a probable under-par score of 160 for 8 in their 40 overs and Callum Honeyman on 40 not out.

But then after tea, Reed’s reply got off to a shaky start when Richard Wharton fell third ball, adjudged lbw, and Sean Tidey, out in the second over caught behind, despite having hit a 6 into the Tavern Stand the ball before. In a blink, Reed were 15 for 2 and thoughts were that they had eventually met their match. The worry proved to be short lived as Rob Lankester (59) and skipper Tom Greaves (67 not out) set about building a match winning partnership of 123. Both players got into line when defending the ball, drove well into the “V” and played brilliantly square of the wicket as they amassed 19 boundaries between them. Greaves’ fifty came up first off just 42 balls and Lankester soon followed with his half-century from 77 deliveries. This third wicket partnership came up off a mere 117 balls and Reed seemed to be cruising to victory.

Because of the injury to Ian Simon, who in all likelihood would have been utilised as a bowler, Houghton Main tried to mix things up by changing their bowling attack around, but without effect although there had been a couple of unclaimed chances. That is until Lankester fell with 23 runs left to win, slickly stumped by Ward. It remained for eventual “Man Of The Match” and Reed captain, Tom Greaves accompanied by previous NVC-winning captain, James Heslam, (10 not out), to take Reed home off just 26.1 overs with 7 wickets in hand.

This was an emphatic victory and a third National Village Cup crown for the small North Herts village boasting this time, nine “home-grown” players who have developed through Reed CC’s successful Colts’ structure.

In a pre-match interview broadcast on the BCC, Tom Greaves had said that in this summer of World Cup victories and Ashes Test Matches, the current crop of amateur players try to emulate their heroes like Stokes, Buttler, Archer, Broad and Morgan, whilst he hoped that the next generation of budding cricketers now in their early- or mid- teens should also be inspired to emulate their elders and take Reed Cricket Club to greater glories in the not-too-distant future.

Reed now equal Troon CC (Cornwall) and St Fagan’s (Glamorgan) with 3 Village Cup Final victories each. Only Woodhouse Grange with four titles have more. What lays ahead for Reed?

The Cricketer National Village Cup Final. 2019.
HOUGHTON MAIN CC: 160-8 in 40 Overs, REED CC: 161-3 in 26.1 Overs. Reed won by 7 wickets.

Match Report submitted by Reed CC’s Scorer at Lord’s, Neil Haslam.

* Note from PGB, 16/9/19: Initially, Ian Simon was taken from Lord’s for scans and treatment at St Mary’s Hospital. He has since been transferred to Marylebone Hospital under the care of eye specialists so he really is in the best hands possible. On behalf of Reed CC, I have sent Ian our best wishes for a full recovery. He has thanked everyone for their support.

Hon Sec.,
Reed CC.