It was a mixed bag for Hemel Hempstead Town’s four teams on Saturday, with two wins, a defeat and a winning draw for the club’s top side.
The first XI were involved in an exciting game in the Herts Saracens Championship away at Flitwick.
In a battle of fourth against fifth in the table, there was a superb innings of 147 from Hemel’s Lewis Hodgins and a five-wicket haul for their bowler Shidhu Kanade.
But it was still not enough to get the overall triumph.
They scored runs and got wickets but just need to put it all together more closely to gain victory after recording their second winning draw in as many games.
Flitwick, the higher team in the standings, have been a tough nut to crack in recent times with Hemel failing to gain a league win over them for four years.
Hemel openers Hem Ilangarathe (67) and Hodgins put on 158 for the first wicket in 37 overs. Hodgins was in prime form and the momentum continued with Brett Penny (42) as Hemel closed on 298-3 from their 60 overs.
In the first 20 overs of the reply Flitwick were reduced to 86-5 with all five of their top batsmen dismissed.
But that forced the shutters up as Flitwick’s number six Dan Nolan dug in for an unbeaten 84 from 138 balls in 30 overs to hold Hemel up.
Bowlers were changed and switched around but all that could be gained were a few late wickets. Kanade returned 5-67 from 13 overs, but Flitwick got away with a draw.
This Saturday Hemel visit the leaders Shenley Village.
There was a strange and disappointing defeat for Hemel II at home against Lutonian I, who are nestled near the foot of Division 3B.
Hemel are still in second place in the table at the season’s halfway point but lost the chance to gain ground.
The hosts had no answer to Mohammed Essa (86), who hit nine sixes and five fours.
In fact, most of Lutonian’s batters enjoyed hitting sixes as they put in 14 in their total of 209.
Hemel had little in reply, with Ed Langley (34), Ryan Wilson (25) and Tom Waterton (21) the only batters to trouble the scoreboard as they were skittled for just 127.
The Bruiser is back for Hemel III as Paul Smith again set his stall out for Hemel with a smashing score of 117.
He struck seven sixes and an almighty 11 fours as Smith took Old Camdenians’ bowling apart to push hosts Hemel to 269-8 from their 50 overs.
Bryan Davies (32) and Tim Wright (23) also contributed.
Old Cams were unable to get within 100 runs of that score, as Alfie Bordoley (2-42), Sam Wheeler (2-29) and John Peppett (2-5) at the end wrapping them up.
At the midway point Hemel III find themselves in second spot in Division 6A and just six points off top spot.
Meanwhile, Hemel IV finished off the first half of the season with a crunching victory away at Welwyn Garden City IV to put them in third place in Division 9A and only four points adrift of second- placed Aldenham.
Hemel struggled to get runs flowing before an unbeaten last-wicket stand of 49 between Irfan Khalifa (44 not out) and Tayyab Sadiq (15 not out) moved them to 151-9.
Earlier Mike Samuels and Nic Benson added 21 each.
Hemel’s bowlers needed no greater incentive as Dan Keene (4-28) and Dil Khan (3-18) tore into Welwyn to bowl them out for 96 in 33 overs.
There was no game for Hemel’s Sunday side.