Hemel Hempstead Town’s first XI won their second game of the Herts Saracens Championship season on Saturday when they took out newly-promoted and winless Old Owens.
In the last of the opening batch of 50-over games, hosts Hemel were put in and the main man was Gareth James, who hit a century off 83 balls and ended on 106 from 92 deliveries in 110 minutes.
It was the first Herts League century for James, whose earlier tons in 2011 and 2012 were in the Lords Chess Valley League or friendlies.
Earlier rain had caused the game to be reduced to 45 overs as Hemel ended on 266-7. Jack Bailey was the next best scorer with 36, while extras contributed 44, including 23 wides.
On the bowling front, Bailey removed Owens’ first two batsmen with the score on 22 and from then on it was the Hodgins story. Dad Nick removed the visitors’ top scorer for 47 and son Lewis ran through the rest of the order to return with 5-36 as Owens were skittled for 152 in 32 overs.
After defeat last year to Roving Reporters in their annual friendly, Hemel’s Sunday first XI gained revenge this year with a 62-run win.
Reporters had Hemel at 61-4 after 13 overs in this 40-over game, but Will Langley (52 not out) and Lewis Hodgins (37) brought things around, before Gus Scott-Morriss (55 not out) boosted the total to 215-6.
Dan Keene removed the Reporters’ openers quickly before Paul Lewis (46), Ben Candy (37) and Chris Jones (20) stabilised the reply.
Their removal saw Hemel regain control, with Jack Doodson (3-17) and Gus Scott-Morriss (3-4) running through the tail.
The Saturday men’s second XI slipped to a narrow three-wicket defeat at West Herts with just seven balls to spare.
Hemel’s Aaron Wilson (54) and Tom Waterton (46) put on 73 for the third wicket but no other support was forthcoming.
Under-18s star Ali Shah snagged 5-20 from 9.4 overs for West Herts.
The top of their batting order was strong with Dan King (30), Raoul Harding (40) and Waheed Chaudhary (31) all scoring runs to put West Herts on top in the chase.
Hemel started taking wickets via Will Hodgins (2-28) and Suren Perera (2-38) but West Herts had enough momentum to just get over the line.
The Hemel 3rds scored 206-7, Freddie Lippiatt top scoring with an unbeaten 75, but an experienced Mill Hill Village first XI reached the target in 43 overs.
The fourth team fell seven runs short in a low-scoring clash with Hitchin III.