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Voneus National Village Cup: Away day curse continues as Sawbridgeworth fall to Preston after disastrous start

Sawbridgeworth’s away day curse in the Voneus National Village Cup continued as they bowed out of the competition at the third round stage on Sunday.

The Town Fields side have still not managed to win a game on the road since they first entered the tournament in 2018 and that unwanted sequence continued at the hands of fellow Saracens Hertfordshire Cricket League side Preston.

Division One Sawbo made a disastrous start after being inserted by their Championship division hosts as they slumped to 12-4 inside six overs, with Owen Groves, Jack Timms and stand-in captain Michael Burrell all being dismissed without scoring.

George Kenny joined Steve Ashman (18) and led the fightback with a fifth-wicket partnership of 58 either side of a second rain break that saw the game reduced to 31 overs a side.

Tom Collins (3-35) removed Ashman and Charlie Mann in his first over as 70-4 became 70-6. Kenny held firm at the other end as he struck a six and five fours to finish unbeaten on 56. Matthew Jones (10) and Sam Timms (15 not out) contributed useful lower-order runs as the visitors crawled to 127-8.

Sawbo needed early wickets to have any chance of progressing, but Phil Simpson (35) and skipper Peter Murrell (28) put on 62 for the first wicket in 10 overs.

Murrell was yorked by Sean Black (1-34) and then a smart stumping by Mann accounted for Simpson with the score on 93. William Jones (2-28) removed Daniel Plumb (17), who was caught by Jack Timms with six runs needed to win. George Biggs was 24 not out for Preston, who completed their seven-wicket victory midway through the 25th over.

Meanwhile, the only Sawbridgeworth team to play on Saturday were the third XI, who moved joint top of Herts and Essex Border League Division Two with a thrilling two-wicket home win over Takeley II.

Alfie Burrell took 3-42 as the visitors totalled 191-6 from their 40 overs, with Romesh Paktsun, Tommy Hamilton and David Jones taking a wicket apiece.

Paktsun top-scored with 57 after the top three of Hamilton (23), Josh Ramsay (41) and James Gostling (44) had provided a solid start to the innings. It was left to Rhys Ashman to hit the winning runs as the home side reached 192-8 with an over to spare.

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