There were celebratory scenes at Hemel Hemsptead CC over the weekend after the 1st XI remarkably earned promotion back into the championship with all the results going the right way.
Before this weekend their promotion hopes hung by a thread and a spectacular set of circumstances was needed to overturn the odds.
Hemel did their bit by beating Old Albanian, thanks to tight bowling and 5-24 from skipper Nick Hodgins, followed up by an explosive 84 from 94 balls by Brett Penny.
The other necessary results were Shenley Village (209) beating Old Owens (150) and Kings Langley (199-9) beating Levy Green (170) at their place.
It meant they leapt back up into second place in the Division One table and a promotion place.
Kings also saved their skins in the division, with Stevenage, who won at Broxbourne, being relegated.
No-one said getting immediate promotion back up into the Championship was going to be easy and Hemel certainly made sure it wasn’t. Old A’s batted first and apart from their opener Alex Goldstone (54) they did not threaten the Hemel bowling too much.
After 24 overs they were on 75-2 and struggling to put a defendable total together.
Hodgins decided to give his arm a twirl and proceeded to rip the heart out of the Old A’s batting as 75 -2 became 131-7 in 19 overs as Hodgins picked up his 5-24 in just ten overs.
Jack Doodson (2-35) and Brett Penny (1-10) then took out the tail as Old A’s were skittled out for 154.
Never keen to make things easy for themselves, in the third over of the reply Hemel found themselves at 2 - 2 with both openers out.
Brett Penny, at number three, was horribly dropped by the Old A’s wicketkeeper.
It proved to be costly as Penny went on to score 84 from 94 balls with ten boundaries and two sixes in his impressive knock.
Josh Graves gave ample support with 37 (three fours, three sixes) as Hemel got home after just 34 overs.
It turned out to be a crucial win when it transpired that results elsewhere in the division all went Hemel’s way.
There were celebrations all round at the Heath Park clubhouse on Saturday night.
The Hemel second XI suffered a narrow loss that they should have won at Sawbridgeworth II.
The 3rds, who have been relegated from Division 5B, were defeated easily at Hertingfordbury.
Hemel made 91 while the hosts tallied 93-4.
Hemel IV, who are also going down from Division 9a, lost when hosting a strong West Herts III, who have been promoted.