Dacorum cricket round-up: Including another loss that leaves Hemel Town I staring relegation in the face

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Hemel Town I’s future in the Herts League Premier Division looks bleak as they went down to another defeat – this time by North Mymms – to leave them 81 points adrift at the foot of the table with five games to play.

The win moved North Mymms up into second place in the division, however Hemel can take some positives after bowling them out for 185.

Figures of 4-25 for Parth Mehta and 3-8 in 5.3 overs from Faisal Iqbal on first game after returning from abroad were the pick of the Hemel bowling performances.

Unfortunately for Hemel, North Mymms had the bowling answer and Syed Kazmi picked up 5-24 to run through Hemel’s innings.

Brett Penny hit 38 at the top of the Hemel order, but there was not a lot from elsewhere as Town were despatched for just 111 in reply.

A knock of 108 not out from Matt Potton saw Hemel Town II to their third consecutive victory in Division 2B, moving them up to within touching distance of the top two of the division.

Batting first, Bushey relied on Chandan Sharma (87) to get them to a reasonable score, while there were a couple of wickets each for Rory Fraser (2-21) and Nick Hodgins (2-32).

Losing Suren Perera to the second ball of their reply didn’t help Hemel but, from 36-2, Tom Elborn (39) and Potton put on 73 for the third wicket.

The departure of Elborn to a most mysterious lbw decision saw Matt Dale to the wicket and the two Matts then put on an unbeaten 93 to see Hemel to a seven-wicket victory with three overs to go.

A severely depleted Hemel Town III side crashed to a 121-run defeat against Preston II.

Preston were able to see themselves to 210-9, with only Dave Jenkins returning reasonable bowling figures for Hemel with 2-25 from 15 overs.

But the Hemel batting was even more depleted. Only 33 from Ram Hussain and 21 from Taq Hussain was anything to shout home about as Hemel were skittled for just 89.

There was a disappointing defeat for Hemel Town IV as they were beaten by Letchworth IV on the Heath Park Nursery Ground.

There was more disappointment for Steve Smith who opened for Hemel and carried his bat but ended up on 97 n/o – just missing out on his first century for a few years.

Hemel skipper Tony Linfoot managed to score 30, breaking his run of ducks or low scores.

Hemel then had Letchworth all the way down with Ross Chapman (5-69) making a belated reappearance, but it was not enough as Dave Sprittles (11 n/o) and Gurjeet Singh (22 n/o), steadied Letchworth’s tail and won them the game in 37 overs.

Hemel Town Sunday I thrashed previously top of the table Amersham I in Division 1 of the Chess Valley League.

Batting first, Josh Graves (62) and Ali Leighton (104) got Hemel off to a blistering start, racking up 136 in the first 16 overs.

Later down the order, Steve Reader (29), Sam Jenkinson (23) and Charlie Hoskins (49 n/o) pushed Hemel up to an imposing score of 309-8 from 45 overs.

Hemel still went after the Amersham batsmen with a vengeance. Only opener S Rogers (76) lasted any time, being fifth out when the score was on 132. Billy May (2-36) picked up a couple of early wickets, Jenkinson (3-59) took out the middle and Adam Moulster (2-6) cleaned out the tail for a 92-run victory.

> Bovingdon

Bovingdon hosted third placed Ware on Saturday in a crucial match in the race for promotion.

The long journey was evidently too much for the visitors as they arrived half an hour late, and were asked to bat upon losing the toss by Bovingdon skipper James Hazelton.

Nick Baxter bowled another decent spell with the new ball and claimed 4-42 from his 15 overs, which takes him to the top of the wicket-taking charts in Division 7B.

Wickets fell steadily throughout the innings, with the tail being cleaned up by change bowlers Jack Blackburn (3-39) and Luke Stickland (3-10).

Ware were bowled out for 128 in the 42nd over, which despite the overcast conditions looked well below par.

Both sides knew how important the second innings of this game would be in determining who will go on to gain promotion this season, and respectable opening spells from the Ware openers gave little opportunity for runs.

The new ball was eventually seen off, though, and with such a small total to defend the change bowlers were soon introduced to try and force a breakthrough.

Having the two top run scorers in the league opening the batting has helped build solid platforms for Bovingdon throughout the 2015 season, and this was the case again as Michael Buttleman (20) and Jack Blackburn put on 68 before the first and only wicket fell.

Blackburn bludgeoned the change bowlers to all parts of the ground and eventually ended on 80 n/o.

Bovingdon remain in second place, only seven points behind league leaders Old Owens and a healthy 65 points clear of third place with only five fixtures remaining.

Bovingdon Sunday I’s friendly opponents were Potten End on a glorious day of sunshine at The Green.

Bovingdon posted a healthy 231/9 before declaring at tea, including a maiden century for the club from Nick Baxter (112). He was ably supported by Matt Dight (53) and Sean Gatehouse (34).

Gatehouse put in a fine all round performance, taking 5-52 with the ball, but the game ended in a draw as Potten End made it to 200/8 in reply; the other wickets going to Gavin Ivey (2-47) and Nigel Hammond (1-17).

Bovingdon’s Herts Village Trophy campaign came to an end at the quarter-final stage on Thursday after a six-wicket defeat to Bourne End.

Bovingdon set a total of 96 which looked to be a very good score on an incredibly poor batting surface. However, Bourne End scored the winning runs with 16 balls to spare.

> Tring Park

An unbeaten century from Michael Payne wasn’t enough for Tring Park I against Harefield on Saturday, but the team did manage a winning draw.

Tring smashed 328-4 off their 64 overs, with Payne’s 103 not out well supported by Shelvin Gumbs (92) and 16-year-old Adam Partner (89).

On a good pitch, Tring’s bowlers worked hard but Harefield hung on at 210-6. The result leaves the team seventh ahead of a trip to Reading on Saturday.

Tring Park II drew at league leaders Windsor; chasing 248 the team ended 200-8, with Matt Bowyer taking four wickets.

Tring Park III also had a winning draw as Ben Johnson (71) and Steve Wale (61) both hit half centuries in Tring’s total of 251-6. Greg Lem then took five wickets as Barnes closed 191-8.

Tring Park IV lost by six wickets at Shenley Church End, while Brondesbury Eagles rattled up 328-4 against Tring Park IV. The highlight of Tring’s 236-5 was a maiden senior 50 for 13-year-old Harvey Graham.

> Berkhamsted

On a relatively benign track on Saturday, Berkhamsted I failed to take the 10 Southgate wickets needed to increase their lead at the top of the table.

However, they were helped by results elsewhere and maintain their 26-point gap with just five matches remaining.

Batting first, Berkhamsted started solidly despite the loss of an early wicket and were able to build a good base to accelerate and declare after 51 overs on 244-8. Top scorers were Alan Gofton (72 n/o) and Andrew Joyce with a battling 61.

Southgate Compton’s reply started badly, losing a wicket in the first over, but as the new ball wore off, the pitch became too docile. Southgate settled for a draw, but there were several chances dropped as the game petered out to a stalemate.

Berkhamsted II travelled to top of the table Potters Bar III and suffered defeat. Berko were never truly in the game as Potters Bar posted an impressive 227 for the loss of only three wickets.

In reply, Berkhamsted fell to the scoreboard pressure and were all out for just 156, with Darren Gower-Jackson offering good resistance with 43.

Berkhamsted III were one wicket from victory against Wheathampstead III. Batting first, Berko made good use of the wicket and posted a good total of 216-9 in their 47 overs, with top scorer David Kennedy hitting 78.

Despite Berko taking regular wickets, and Mark Lewarne snaring 3-32, Berko found the last pair too stubborn and had to settle for a 19-point draw.

Berkhamsted IV travelled to table topping Watford and, on a notoriously low scoring ground, posted 122-7 from their allotted overs. Andy Chamers top scored with 39.

Despite Berko taking two quick wickets in one over to David Vaughan, they only managed one further dismissal as they lost by seven wickets.

> Abbots Langley

A superb spell of seam bowling from Ibby Usman (7-36) reduced Potton to a paltry total of 54 all out as Abbots Langley I moved closer to promotion.

Scoring the runs proved a formality and Matt Parkins found some form with an unbeaten 35 as Abbots won inside 11 overs

St Margaretsbury II were the victims in a vital victory for Abbots Langley II in their fight for survival.

15-year-old Lewis Hodgins showed all his potential in this game with both bat and ball as he claimed 6-40 before opening the batting and smashing an excellent 62.

This effectively won the game, ably supported by veteran Dave Carlisle who made an unbeaten 29.

James Allan continued his superb season with 124 which included an amazing 25 boundaries as Abbots Langley III saw off Leverstock Green III.

This allowed Abbots to post a challenging total which Green could not match. Lee Rossiter was the pick of the bowlers with figures of 2-17.

Ken Parkins (56) was the mainstay of the batting as Abbots Langley IV chased down a moderate total of 152 all out against West Herts V.

The victory was largely achieved thanks to some inspired slow bowling from Scott Nixon who snared 5-44.

In the Chess Valley League, Abbots Langley Sunday I beat Preston by 35 runs as T Carson hit 55 and P Mehta scored 44.

> Kings Langley

Kings Langley I continued their promotion push with a comfortable victory over struggling Knebworth Park.

Despite keeping wickets in hand, Knebworth struggled to increase the run rate and tight bowling from Kings ensured that their opponents were restricted to 196-6 from their 53 overs.

Skipper Christian James found himself among the wickets, taking 4-57 on a pitch that offered little turn.

In reply, Kings made better use of the batsman-friendly track and were quickly out of the blocks, with opener Ricky Mohammed making a typically brisk 30.

Tom Sambrook (76) and ‘Didier’ Donaldson (65) then came together for an explosive, match winning partnership of 148, which raced Kings to their victory target with 12 overs to spare.

A frustrating and disappointing performance left Kings Langley II to rue missed opportunities in their match against Redbourn at the Common.

Having reduced Redbourn to 50-5 and then 110-6, Kings were hoping to quickly chase down a relatively low score. However, some poor fielding and dropped catches saw Redbourn recover to post 226-7 at the end of their innings.

After a ferocious start from the Kings openers, the chase was looking on. However, when Tony Morton fell for a rapid 40, the runs dried up and Redbourn became favourites again.

An outstanding innings from Kevin Rolfe (84 n/o) took Langley close to the win but, with wickets falling around him, they fell agonisingly five runs short of the target and had to settle for a disappointing draw.

Kings Langley III took a valuable 15 points against promotion-chasing Greenwood Park as the visitors completed a five-wicket win in a high-scoring game.

Asked to bat, Kings made steady progress thanks to Joyce (41) and Knights (43). Some late hitting from Whitlock (35) and Misselbrook (23) helped the hosts post a competitive 223 all out, with Ali claiming six wickets for Greenwood Park.

In reply, a tentative start gave Kings early hope but all the batsmen contributed as the total was reached with five wickets and nine balls in hand.

Boxmoor IV scored 192-9 against Kings Langley IV, with Phil Ratliff taking 3-15 and Luke O’Dell snaring 2-18.

In reply, Kings were 168 all out, with George Hunt scoring 57 and Simon Isherwood adding 37.