Top-of-the-table Boxmoor 1sts made it three wins from as many games to continue their strong start to the new season with a 66-run away victory at Cheshunt Rosedale II in the Saracens Herts League Division 6B on Saturday.
It was a hard-fought 30 points earned for the leaders, who had to dig deep at times, especially with their batting.
Put in first on a warm, dry day, skipper Richard Crowther was keen to post a big total to put pressure on the host. Openers Matt Smalley-Harris (46) and Aidan Pimm (22) got The Moor off to a solid start with an 81-run partnership, Smalley-Harris in particular pouncing on any loose bowling.
His dismissal after the introduction of Cheshunt’s slow bowlers put the brakes on the innings as Boxmoor faced having to rebuild with two new men at the crease on 83-3.
That rebuilding started with Ben Mannering (29) and Sam Stride (43) with a mature, watchful 55-run partnership as they negotiated some tight bowling. The home side’s three experienced spinners bowled their 29 overs for just 84 runs, emphasising the pressure put on Boxmoor in the middle overs.
It took Stride and Sam Pimm, with a quickfire 27, to give the latter overs momentum, as Boxmoor closed on 224-7 from their 50 overs.
The total looked about 30 runs short, but Crowther knew his team had the bowling firepower to win. And so it proved, as paceman Shaun Nichols set the tone, striking with the third delivery of the innings, snaring a Cheshunt opener with a perfect inswinger. Nichols’ quality and miserly spell (10-5-15-4) kept it tight at one end, as The Moor made inroads into the batting order.
Leg-spinner Prateek Malhotra, with his first ball, dismissed the dangerous Glyn Bayley (43), helped by a steepling catch by Smalley-Harris at mid-off. That dismissal opened up the lower order for Crowther’s offbreaks (3-34) to decimate Cheshunt’s innings.
Some late-order hitting helped the hosts reach 158 all out in the 36th over, which never threatened Moor’s total.
Boxmoor, atop the league on the same points as Old Elizabethans II , host third-placed Radlett IV this Saturday.
Boxmoor’s 2nd XI lost by five wickets when hosting Harpenden V in Saracens League Division 9B. Boxmoor made 214-10 after 44 overs, while Harpenden reached the target five wickets down after 39 overs.
After two cancellations, Boxmoor’s third XI finally got the season underway with a 52-run triumph when entertaining Wheathamstead III in Saracens League Regional Division B West on Saturday.
At the new home ground of Bourne End, Boxmoor won the toss and decided to bat. An early run-out and a few quick wickets put them under pressure, but debutant Gavin Taylor hit a powerful 56 to settle the nerves. Despite wickets falling regularly, a last-wicket stand of 34 by John Scott and Josh Low (19 not out) helped push The Moor score to 149.
Wheathamstead started their innings under pressure from some good Boxmoor bowling. A few expensive overs pushed the visitors to 89-3 and they looked to be on their way until Scott (2-13) and Taylor (3-8) proved decisive as wickets arrived.
Some excellent fielding added to the mix saw the visitors collapse to 97 all out for the Moor team’s first win this term, which puts them in third place in the table.
Boxmoor Blackbirds had a one-wicket home win over Bovingdon in a wet and overcast friendly on Sunday.
Senior cricket debutants Chris Young and Max Smith, both under-15s, and Kanak Jain, suited up for the Moor.
Opening bowler Jain accounted for Bovingdon’s number one and three. But the visitors moved on and threatened a big score until solid fielding, including a wonderful catch by Les Haffenden, plus two wickets for young Young (5-0-31-2) put the brakes on, and Ed Shaw (5-0-23-1) in harness with Haffenden (6-0-21-1), restricted Bovingdon to 188-7 from their 35 overs.
A superb 99-run fourth-wicket partnership between Haffenden (66) and William Allen (37 not out) pushed the Boxmoor score to 144, leaving 45 runs to be scored from 42 balls and later 31 from 30 balls.
Skipper Dan Webb showed the way, bludgeoning a quick-fire 18 from 12 balls, to ensure Boxmoor squeaked home with two balls remaining.