Dacorum cricket round-up: Including a morale-boosting win for Hemel Town I

The Boxmoor U11 girls finished as runners-up in the County Cup
The Boxmoor U11 girls finished as runners-up in the County Cup

Hemel Town I recorded only their second win of the Herts League Premier Division campaign with four games to go as they got the better of fellow strugglers Letchworth I.

Despite the win, Hemel remain bottom of the table, 55 points below Hertford and 59 points below Letchworth, with a vital clash at home to Hertford coming up at the weekend.

Put in by Letchworth on Saturday, Hemel were in trouble after eight overs at 24-4, with the top four batsmen out.

However, Jack Doodson (91) and Vibor Yadav (50) came to the rescue as they put on 96 for the fifth wicket, and Doodson continued to save things with 57 for the sixth wicket with Ali Leighton (27).

Brad Finch (3-37) and Steve Reader (3-30) then ripped into Letchworth and, after 15 overs, had them at 49-5. There was no respite for Letchworth as all the Hemel bowlers picked up a wicket and saw them all out for 118.

Hemel Town II trounced Met Police Bushey to move up to third in the Division 2B table.

Abbots Langley and Harpenden II are the two sides above them in the division and the last two home games Hemel have left to play this season.

Batting first, Suren Perera (47) rattled Hemel off to a quick start as they reached 50 in the first six overs.

After that it was a showcase of the batting might of Nick Hodgins as he reached 105 with 19 fours and 1 six. Rapid runs meant that Hemel were able to declare after 45 overs.

It then took Hemel’s bowlers just 24 overs to dismiss Met Police for just 111. Openers Charlie Hoskins (3-27) and Billy May (3-33) took out the top and only Simon Hamilton (57) was able to offer any resistance until Rory Fraser (2-16) was able to pip the top of his off stump in the first ball of the 24th over.

Trounced by West Herts II earlier in the season over at Park Avenue, Hemel Town III were able to get their revenge with a 46-run victory at the Heath Park Nursery Ground.

In doing so they positioned themselves in fourth place in Division 5A, within shouting distance of promotion, but with only four games to secure it.

There were no great individual scores for Hemel, other than 44 from Taq Hussain. However, notable contributions came from Andy Turbutt (29), Dave Jenkins (26), Chris Nuttall (25) and Liam Jahn with 24 n/o at the end.

A total of 214 gave Hemel the target to bowl to, and they did just that with Adam Moulster snaring 4-48 and Anjam Khan taking 3-36 to secure the win.

Hemel Town IV slumped to a defeat against Sawbridgeworth III as they failed to score enough runs to keep them at bay.

Things started off quite brightly for Hemel, with Mike Samuels (2) and Tony Linfoot (34) putting on 69 for the first wicket.

But no-one, other than Dawood Iqbal with 45, was able to build on that start and Hemel were all out for 180.

Sawbo were then able to hit off the runs in only 42 overs, with Tejaz Shah (69) leading the way.

Hemel are now likely to need at least one win to hold onto their Division 8B status.

They may well have been top of Chess Valley League Division 1 before this weekend, but school holidays meant that a weakened 10-man Hemel Town Sunday I team went down to a crushing defeat at Chesham.

Batting first, Ali Leighton (40) and Tom Elborn (25) set Hemel off with 56 for the first wicket. But then it all fell away as Hemel were despatched for just 127 runs in 35 overs.

In contrast, Chesham’s openers put on 95 for their first wicket; Hodges scored 69 n/o and Chesham saw off the runs in 29 overs for the loss of just one wicket.

Hemel Town Sunday II were only able to field a very young 10-man side as school holidays bit into their Sunday CVL campaign.

Hemel openers Liam Jahn (25) and Steve Smith (27) got their side off to a good star against Northwood Town, putting on 47 for the first wicket. But then it all fell away and the 10 men were all out for just 84.

Northwood only just 13 overs to hit the runs for the loss of just one wicket.

> Bovingdon

Bovingdon travelled to Hatch End on Saturday with hopes of moving closer to promotion with another 30 points.

The home side won the toss and elected to field first on a traditionally low scoring ground, and runs were initially hard to come by for Bovingdon’s opening pair.

As the effects of the new ball began to wear off and the change bowlers came on, the scoring rate increased rapidly.

Jack Blackburn was eventually caught behind for 47, adding 97 for the first wicket with opening partner Michael Buttleman.

A couple more quick wickets saw Bovingdon fall to 120-3 and some rebuilding work needed to be done with 30 overs left at their disposal.

Solidity was provided through a stand of 46 between Luke Stickland and Buttleman before the opener was dismissed for 76.

Quick runs from the lower middle order gave captain James Hazelton (23 n/o) enough of a platform to bravely declare after 47 overs on 227/6 which looked to be a very good score on a pitch that had misbehaved quite frequently.

The declaration looked to be a superb decision as Hatch End slumped to 18-5 in the eighth over through Tony Shand (2-34) and Nick Baxter (4-56).

But the home side had held back Cunningham and Davies, their two main batsmen, to bat at 6 and 7, and Bovingdon knew that capturing the wicket of either man would expose the tail. With 210 runs to play with and 45 overs to take the last five wickets, victory appeared to be within reach.

However, runs started to flow and the ball continued to land between fielders as the game was turned on its head by a sensational stand of 151 for the sixth wicket. Cunningham (91) and Davies (74) both eventually fell to Luke Stickland (2-54).

A calamitous run out left it to numbers 10 and 11 with eight runs required to win from the last four overs. Some risky running and a thick inside edge eventually saw Hatch End home for an incredible victory which hadn’t looked possible for large chunks of the game.

A return of 19 points was far from a disaster for Bovingdon, as the gap between them in second and the chasing pack for promotion is still 54 points with four fixtures remaining, and they are only 18 points behind leaders Old Owens who they will play on the last day of the season.

Arkley were the visitors to Bovingdon in Sunday’s friendly fixture which proved to be a high scoring encounter.

Arkley batted first and posted 242-5 – Shand and Gatehouse were the pick of the bowlers with two wickets apiece. Bovingdon reached 191/7 in reply, with Andy Kimpton (47) and Louis Prideaux (58) the main contributors.

> Boxmoor

It has been a successful year for girls’ cricket at Boxmoor as the young starlets continue to go from strength to strength.

In only their second season playing together, the U11 side finished second in their division, which earned them a place in the county semi-final away at St Albans.

With the hosts requiring two to win off the last ball, Boxmoor stayed calm and completed a run out to win the match.

The county final was held at Knebworth Park where an experienced Harpenden side were eventual winners, with Boxmoor finishing as runners-up.

Two members of the squad, Gaby Pimm and Tilly Larkins, were selected for the Herts U13 Girls to play against Holland in a recent tournament.

On the back of a maiden 50, Tilly has also been called up to the county U15s. Keely Bradding will also play for an U11 Herts side this summer.

Any girls interested in playing cricket at Boxmoor can get in touch via the club website at www.boxmoorcricketclub.co.uk

> Berkhamsted

Berkhamsted recorded three victories and a draw on Saturday from their four league teams in another successful weekend for the club.

Berkhamsted I fielded a weakened side at bottom of the table Rickmansworth on Saturday and fell agonisingly short of victory, ending three runs short of their run chase to end up drawing.

A disappointing bowling performance saw Rickmansworth post a competitive total of 231, with Chad Fortune the pick of the bowlers with 4-23.

In response, Berko kept up the run rate, but lost key wickets to eventually find themselves three runs short of victory, with David Smith scoring a fluent 54. However, Berkhamsted still remain top of the table with four matches remaining

Berkhamsted II put themselves back into contention for promotion from Division 8A with an easy eight-wicket win over Harpenden IV.

Berkhamsted dismissed their visitors for a meagre 138, with Toby Gribbin the pick of the bowlers with a 5-fer (5-23).

In response, Berko were never in trouble and cruised to their total, with James Wyatt scoring a fine 82 not out.

Berkhamsted III consolidated in mid-table with a good win at Parkfield and Headstone II. Despite finding life difficult on a sticky track, Berko posted a modest 139, with most players getting a start but not kicking on.

However, a fine bowling performance from Berko skittled out their hosts for a paltry 92, with Harry Hunter taking 5-32

Berkhamsted IV continued their recent improvement of form to win against neighbours Boxmoor IV.

Boxmoor posted 142, with Tom Clarke taking 5-23 for his best figures in adult cricket.

In reply, Berkhamsted comfortably chased down the runs to win by six wickets, with Andrew Clarke capping a great family performance for the Clarkes by top scoring with 65.

> Kings Langley

Kings Langley I cruised to victory inside of 40 overs in a one-sided clash with Old Finchleians.

Openers Mark Brazier (3-38) and Andrew Burnell (1-34) removed the top order with some aggressive fast bowling, before Christian James (4-17) once again mopped up the tail with his fizzing off-spin.

Chasing just 97 to win, Kings wasted no time in getting the job done. An opening partnership of 56 between Ricky Mohammed (43) and Paul Ashford (26) saw Kings almost there, before Shandy Ratnakumaran (18 n/o) joined Mohammed to see the game home in just 16 overs.

Kings Langley II took a backwards step in their quest for promotion after a disappointing two-run defeat at the hands of Northwood II.

Some resolute batting from the Northwood top order made it difficult for Kings to take regular wickets on a flat batting wicket.

13-year-old Scott Rolfe was the pick of the bowlers, taking 2-23 from his 15 overs, helping Kings limit Northwood to 182-6 from their allotted overs.

In reply, early wickets put Langley on the back-foot but the middle order started to rebuild the innings and made Kings the favourites with 10 overs to go.

When captain Tom Clark fell for 49 with two overs remaining, Kings required five runs from the last wicket. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be, with the 10th wicket falling with just two runs needed to win.

Kings Langley III fell to another frustrating defeat as they failed to match their good efforts in the field with the bat against Sandridge II.

Having chosen to bat, Sandridge lost early wickets and struggled to get going throughout.

Josh Oldham did the majority of the damage, claiming 6-55, and young Samuel Hutchings claimed a deserved 2-11 on his third team debut. Only Scott (47) made a significant contribution as Sandridge subsided to 128 all out.

In reply, Kings made a great start, reaching 60-2 off 14 overs before the rot set in.

Some tight bowling and good catching contributed to the downfall as they capitulated to 97 all out and a 31-run defeat.

> Chipperfield Clarendon

A solid performance by Chipperfield Clarendon I saw them beat Old Elizabethans by 21 runs.

Batting first, Chipperfield reached 205-8 from 53 overs, with Freddy Hampson scoring a fine 53 n/o, backed up with 34 from Shaun Jennings and 28 from Jack Bambury.

A fine spell from veteran Ian Grout saw him roll back the years to contain OE’s batsmen as he finished with 1-46 from 12 overs, while Tom Fitzgerald bowled his best spell of the season, benefiting from Grout’s accuracy at the other end to take 5-72 from 15 overs.

Gary Wise took 3-32 from 11.4 overs to seal a victory against one of the division’s top sides, keeping Clarendon in the hunt for a promotion place in what is a very tight league.

Chipperfield Clarendon II drew with Old Cholmelians as tight bowling on a good batting wicket saw Chipps restrict their opponents to 130-2 after 30 overs.

This quickly became 136-5 with two wickets in successive balls from Steve Durrant, but poor ground fielding allowed OC’s to get to 236-9 from 53 overs.

In reply, 49 from Asif Phandani and 36 from Dave Bunning saw Chipps off to a steady start, but they struggled to get the scoring rate to rise, and in the end held out for a draw on 171-9

A first win of the season for Martin Oliver’s Chipperfield Clarendon III side saw them chase down the 173 required for victory with two balls to spare against Radlett V.

The target was reached thanks largely to 29 from Martin Oliver, 26 from Chris Oliver and 58 extras.

Earlier the wickets had been shared around the team, with two each for Harry Sansom, Ashton Durrant and Sadaqat Bhati.