Rickmansworth 2nds continued flirtation with promotion had all but died after a catastrophic loss by 2 runs the previous week, but slim hopes were maintained if they could win all 3 remaining games. And first up were fellow promotion hunters Radlett who were unbeaten since Rickmansworth won against them 9 games ago. Indeed Radlett had won more games – 12 – than any other team in the division.
Raz won the toss and decided to bat first on a wicket that looked decent but was clearly going to deteriorate after the mid week rain. But hopes of a good start were dashed with both Rishi and Paul back in the hutch, to LBW decisions, and only 15 on the board. Having an extra opening bat in Sohail then proved useful as he dug in whilst Bobby played some good attacking shots all around the ground. After 33 overs, Ricky were on 120 ut had only lost 2 wickets and Bobby had his 50. Sohail was out for 46 with the score on 128, and Bobby and Raz then accelerated. Bobby tired as the overs increased and was out stumped for a blistering 92 and then Adeel (15), Waheed (17) and Rohan (7*) all supported Raz, who scored 20, in getting the score up to a very good 221. Ricky 2nds always seem to get 200+ these days. And on this wicket and with overcast conditions it was generally felt that this should be good enough.
After tea Bobby opened the bowling, a masterstroke by Raz, as he brought in a vicious inswinger to bowl a mystified Dominic Ingram – a very good player – first ball. And then no 3 a few balls later. Skipper Nick Fielden was next to go, caught by the keeper and when Rohan swung a ball to clip the Number 5’s bat and Paul took a one-handed catch low down at first slip, Radlett had subsided to 10/4.
Hardy and Warne then dug in and the ball stopped swinging. Raz rotated the bowlers but at drinks they were 90/4 and the game was in the balance. Raz tossed the ball to Taqadas, who bowled Hardy with his first ball. Ricky were back in the game. And now it was cat and mouse with Radlett edging along at 5 an over, which is what they needed. Bobby came back and got Zaid in his last over for 15 and the resistance of veteran Warne was finally ended for 59 when he was caught off the bowling of Vijay Pail. Finally Ricky could exert some scoreboard pressure and Radlett knew they would lose, so just settled for batting points. They finished 50 runs short of the Ricky total and Ricky had done the double over Radlett.
Bobby and Rohan combined well for 20 overs and 6 wickets for 56. But the lack of form of the back-up bowlers was once again a concern for the 2 remaining games. Ricky remain 24 points behind the promotion places and simply have to win against Dunstable on Saturday to stand any chance of a cliff-hanger for the end of season game. As Datchworth in second, have to play both 1st and 3rd, there is still a slim chance of a promotion to match the 1sts. But a win against Dunstable is simply mandatory.