Dacorum cricket round-up: Including the latest action from the Heath Park Cup

James Hazelton and Sean Gatehouse led their teams superbly all day at a CER-sponsored fun day at Bovingdon CC
James Hazelton and Sean Gatehouse led their teams superbly all day at a CER-sponsored fun day at Bovingdon CC

Teams will be starting to believe that this could be their year for Heath Park Cup glory as we reach the business end of the tournament.

The Adex-sponsored competition has reached the semi-final stage, with only Hemel Hempstead Town, Ivinghoe & Pitstone, Watford Town and Abbots Langley/Langleybury still in with a chance of getting their hands on the trophy.

The winner of the one remaining quarter-final clash will face Watford Town in the semis, with Hemel battling it out with Ivinghoe & Pitstone in the other last-four clash.

There was plenty of drama in the latest batch of games as Langleybury beat Met Police Bushey (154 vs 71), while Watford Town beat Levy Green B (133-3 vs 55).

Watford then went on to see off Northchurch by scoring 154-7 against their opponents’ 154 all out by losing fewer wickets.

In the lower half of the draw, Ivinhoe & Pitstone beat Little Gadesden/Potten End, while Hemel trounced Levy Green A in their own back yard. Hemel made 175-5, thanks largely to the efforts of Ali Leighton (76 n/o) and Jay O’Nien (40), before bowling Levy out for 128. Jack Doodson got four wickets for Hemel.

> Hemel Town

Hemel Town I put their five-game losing streak to an end as they shared a draw with Hertford I in the only game played in the Herts League Premier Division on a rain-affected Saturday.

With only 39 overs available, Hertford skipper Steve Gale raced off to 119 from 86 balls, with Hemel bowler Brad Finch going for 97 runs from 11 overs. With 38 overs to get the runs, Hemel were always going to struggle if wickets were lost at crucial times – which they were.

Jay O’Nien continued his hot run of form with 64 from 61 balls and, at the end, Finch hit 46 n/o from 53 balls.

But the middle order sighed a little and Hemel were never really up with the asking rate. Still, the move back to ‘normal’ cricket meant that the game ended as a draw rather than the 50-over win or lose format which Hemel struggled with at the start of the campaign.

There was a comfortable 40-run win for Hemel Town Sunday I, having been put in by newly promoted Division Two champions Harefield I.

Openers Aaron Wilson and Josh Graves both scored 32 and put on 47 for Hemel’s first wicket. The batting never really got going from then on, however, with only Sam Jenkinson (38 n/o) digging in at number 7 as Hemel were all out for 156.

Hemel’s bowlers then came into their own, with Jay O’Nien taking 4-47 and Brad Finch 5-25. They ran through the Harefield batting to dismiss them for 116 in 27.3 overs – making it two wins from two in the CVL.

Hemel Town Sunday II completed the double over Harefield with a 63-run victory over Harefield II.

Hemel opened the batting with Liam Jahn and Adam Moulster, and the surprise move paid dividends. Jahn scored 117 n/o – his first century for any Hemel side – while Moulster added 73 as the pair put on 120 for Hemel’s first wicket.

Steve Smith’s chirpy 34 n/o later on looked minimal by comparison.

In reply, U14 youngster Ellis Bisgrove opened the bowling and turned in 2-54 from nine overs, before 2-16 from Charlie Hoskins and 3-30 from Moulster saw Hemel home.

> Abbots Langley

Abbots Langley I delivered an excellent run chase to get the better of Met Police on Saturday.

A high-scoring game saw Met Police score freely during their innings, but Daniel Roche was the bowling hero for Abbots – taking career best figures of 6-49 from 15 overs.

In reply, Matt Parkins opened with Scott Newman (57) in the absence of Chris Chellew and he justified his promotion, smashing 9 fours and 3 sixes in a quick-fire 66.

Met Police hit back with some quick wickets before skipper Warner steadied the run chase; he and all-rounder Nick Gurney both scored half centuries to see Abbots home.

Abbots Langley II’s slide down the table continued against a decent Old Haberdashers bowling attack in dismal conditions at Croxdale Road.

Some positives were the mature batting of Harry Khan (43) and some fine hitting from captain John Battams, allowing Abbots to reach a decent total.

However some wayward bowling cost Abbots any hope of victory, although Andrew Rueth bowled a tidy spell – taking both wickets to fall – and Battams bowled well without reward.

> Boxmoor

The rain claimed four out of the six scheduled Boxmoor fixtures this weekend, with only the Saturday second XI and the Sundays firsts getting a game in.

Boxmoor II travelled to Rickmansworth III, and came out on the wrong side of a low scoring game.

Fielding first, Boxmoor took wickets at regular intervals, with Rewan Harper taking four scalps as Rickmansworth were dismissed for 161 – which should have been very gettable.

However, the batting never really got going as Boxmoor lost three wickets for 20 runs.

Stride and Hamdani steadied the ship, but both fell for 19. Stan Williamson had a brief cameo at the end – top scoring with 21 – but Boxmoor finished 51 runs short.

Boxmoor Sunday I did not fare much better, batting first on a damp pitch against Redbourn, which was always going to be hard graft.

Ian Gorringe led the way with an elegant 71, but as soon he was dismissed, a batting collapse followed – with the team all out for 181.

Taking early wickets was key, but the Redbourn batsmen settled quickly, with three of the top five making 40s. This saw them home with 3.2 overs to spare and four wickets in hand.

> Kings Langley

Kings Langley I saw their winning run come to an end against top of the table Luton Town & Indians – who were able to call upon the services of Ashes winner Monty Panesar.

After the morning’s rain had taken its toll and reduced the game to a 40/36 over match, a depleted Kings side won the toss and took the decision to bowl first.

Not for the first time this season, Kings were left to rue dropped catches, as chances came and went and Luton put together an imposing total.

Dan Donaldson was again the pick of the Kings bowling attack, taking 4-73, but even he could not slow the Luton run rate as they accrued 207 in their 40 overs.

Kings had only 34 overs available to chase the target, and in contrast to the availability issues that weakened their bowling line-up, were up against a Luton attack led by Panesar.

On a drying wicket, Panesar (3-37) and overseas player Sachin Wagh (4-6) began to find some turn and proved to have a little too much experience for the Langley batting line-up as they fell six balls short of saving the game.

Kings Langley II lost their momentum with the start of the ‘timed’ Herts league format matches as they were beaten by Old Finchleans.

Kings were hampered by some poor availability issues filtering down from the first team, but in truth were second best on the day.

Having won the toss and inserted Old Finchleans, Kings failed to take enough early wickets and left the opposition with chance to score quickly in the mid to late overs.

Duane Smith cleaned up the tail with 5-62 and other wickets went to Scott Rolfe (3) and Josh Lloyd (1).

In reply, Kings never got into the game. Top scorers were Andrew Colquhoun (44), Tim Piper (39) and Scott Rolfe (26), but the game petered out with Kings giving up the chase on 153-7

Kings Langley III hosted Hatfield Hyde II as nearly 500 runs were plundered, despite losing 24 overs to rain.

Invited to bat first, Kings stormed to 260-5 declared off 39 overs. Young George Langston scored a maiden senior 50 as he anchored the innings with an impressive 83 n/o. Knights scored 37 and Hijaz scored 4 sixes in a brisk 41 n/o.

In reply, Hendy (2-28) and Hijaz (3-58) took two early wickets each to put the visitors under pressure. Watson (51) and Zaman (49) kept the score moving and the unlikely target in sight, but to no avail as they finished on 219-8 and the match was drawn.

> Berkhamsted

Berkhamsted I consolidated second spot in the division with their fifth consecutive victory at Northwood Town on Saturday.

In testing overcast conditions, Berko were asked to bat and were in a little trouble at 60-3.

However, the middle order proved resilient and everyone made good contributions – so much so that skipper Dave Smith was able to declare after 50 overs on 265-6. Alan Gofton (74 n/o) and Luke Frey (58) were the pick of the batsman

In reply, Northwood gave a good account of themselves and had freedom to play their shots. However, with a daunting 50 overs to survive, Berko chipped away and bowled out their hosts for 202, with Chad Fortune the pick of the bowlers with 4-52.

Berko will be looking to continue their form at home to Stevenage on Saturday before the club prepares for the annual Pitch Perfect concert on Sunday - with tickets still available.

In a feast of runs in a match reduced to 30 overs due to the weather, Berkhamsted Sunday I took on local rivals Potten End Sunday and triumphed by 16 runs.

Berko scored 202-6 in their 30 overs, with special mention to Jack Filer (100) and Tom Pierleoni (50) who both retired not out.

Potten End, facing such a daunting total, made a good fist of it and only fell 16 runs short in their chase.