Preston produced a stunning performance at just the right time to clinch a huge victory over Reed.

The two sides had come into the game stuck in the relegation places at the bottom of the Herts Cricket League Championship.

But Preston were the out and out victors, winning by 150 runs to move 57 points clear of their hosts and within three points of safety in an increasingly tight scrap.

The Comet: Dan Scholz celebrates his century and the victory. Picture: PRESTON CCDan Scholz celebrates his century and the victory. Picture: PRESTON CC (Image: Preston Cricket Club)

Preston decided to take first knock on a decent looking deck but a few brows started to furrow as the dependable Ed Wharton was soon back in the pavilion, caught off Reed opener Julian Fynn.

However, it proved nothing to worry about as fellow opener Dan Scholz and Phil Simpson took the game away from Reed.

Scholz scored a superb 115, a patient and powerful knock and his first century for the club, while Simpson managed a classy 108.

Between them, they hit 35 fours and one six, adding 253 for the second wicket and left Reed scratching their heads looking for bowling options.

And even after they departed, Peter Gooden thumped 45 from just 19 deliveries to take Preston to a declaration of 355-4 after 59 overs.

The Preston attack of Wharton and Scholz used the new ball well and they got both of the openers early on.

Only Reed's evergreen Chris Jackson (54) and Jack Caine (60) offered any resistance but 335 always felt a long way off and any intentions for the draw seemed to boil away in the heat.

With a wicket clearly offering some turn it was the Preston spin twins of Max Anderson and Peter Murrell, Anderson's taking 5-33 in his 10 overs while Murrell offered support in the shape of 3-67.

It left Reed all out for 185 in the 40th over.

The seconds also claimed a much-needed win in Division Five A, beating Ampthill Town by six wickets.

The visitors to the Recreation Ground could only manage a paltry 82 with Oliver Gallimore, Jacob Williamson and Bhavin Patel each taking two wickets each.

In reply Preston lost four wickets but cruised to the target in the 12th over as Jadev (23) and Ben Hill (18) pushed the innings on.

Preston are now sixth, 37 points from danger and 30 away from second place.

Knebworth Park won by just eight runs against Old Finchleians in Division Two B, in a match that saw a total of 580 runs scored in the 100 overs.

Park batted first and made 294-5. Louis Champion and Haydon Bartlett-Tasker put on 150 for the first wicket before the latter went for 35.

Champion's day finally ended with Park on 189 and him on 119, crafted from 107 deliveries and containing 19 fours and four sixes.

There was still 62 from Charlie Randall to come as well and Park felt they had an unassailable total.

They did in the end but only after a remarkable stumble from Finchley in the last few overs.

They had set off like a train with 28 from the first three overs and 103 for Chetan Depala

Dave Roberts took a brilliant diving catch on the boundary to put the brakes on slightly at 154-3 before taking 2-35.

It seemed a minor blip though until skipper Matt Hutchinson turned to his pace attack. 

And once Gareth Jones and Kobie Richmond found their rhythm, the game changed dramatically.

Fincleians managed just four in the final over, Richmond claiming two wickets to finish on 2-48 with Jones on 1-24.

The second team lost by 14 runs to Hemel Hempstead in Division Six A.

Jack Randall was the pick with 3-50 while there was aa wicket for U15 Rafi Combarro as Hemel ended on 231-6.

Captain Mark Woods (36) and Adam Sergeant (35) got the reply off to a steady start with an opening stand of 68 but they soon collapsed to 100-6.

James Bedford and Jack Randall stemmed the flow of wickets for a bit before Bedford fell for 16 and then Combarro chipped in, putting on 48 for eighth wicket.

Randall was the man out for a well-crafted 47 and despite a late flurry, then finished 217-9.

The thirds beat Datchworth thirds by five wickets in Division 10 North.

Will Nash top scored for Datch with 42 but 3-10 from Ryan Ellis kept them in check.

He then hit an unbeaten 52 alongside 47 not out from James Hobbs to get home in the 35th over, recovering from 73-5.

David Mantle took 4-28 as the fourths beat Tewin thirds by three runs.

Park had managed 116 batting first, Adam Hassall hitting 28, and he also chipped in with two wickets as the bowled Tewin out for 113.

Jon Taylor was their top scorer with 35.