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Bedfordshire keep up the pace

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Bedfordshire maintained their challenge for the Minor Counties Championship Eastern Division title, fending off Hertfordshire’s valiant attempt at a mammoth run chase to win by 18 runs at Bedford School.

With two matches left, Bedfordshire trail Suffolk by three points, after the leaders took maximum points against Buckinghamshire.

Having chased targets of 401 and 381 to beat Staffordshire and Northumberland, it looked as though the boot was going on to be on the other foot this time when Hertfordshire, having been set a mammoth 435, reached 400 for seven.

But Bedfordshire took the new ball and Herts skipper Andy Lewis, who had hammered five sixes and 17 fours in racing to 168, was brilliantly taken at first slip by Oliver Clayson via second slip Oliver Swann.

Then Adam Shepherd, bowling at express pace, dismissed Simon Greenall in the same over thanks to another superb catch, this time by wicketkeeper George Arblaster.

The first two days belonged entirely to Bedfordshire, who rattled up 418 in their first innings after winning the toss. Andy Reynoldson took charge with a magnificent innings of 132, his second century of the season.

They then reduced the visitors to 81 for six and although the visitors recovered to 249 on the second day, it still gave Bedfordshire a lead of 169, which they massaged to 434 when they batted again.

Bedfordshire will now be looking to make it four on the trot when they take on Cambridgeshire at March in their next game, which starts on Sunday August 1.