Boxmoor I continued their unbeaten run with a crushing seven-wicket away win at rivals Chipperfield Clarendon II on Saturday.
Skipper Richard Crowther was asked to bowl and it was the first ball of the match that set the tone. Lloyd Larkins strangled the young opener down the leg side, keeper Dan Hobbs taking it. James McCluskey finished his first over with the wicket of the Chipperfield No 3.
Runs started to flow for Gary Wise, quick to pick up on any full delivery to dispatch to the boundary. Larkins picked up the opposition captain with a carbon copy of his first wicket as Hobbs took a superb catch down low. With the score at 56-3, McCluskey took the vital wicket of Wise (32) with his own leg-side strangle, providing the juggling Hobbs with another victim. This opened the floodgates as Boxmoor and, in particular McCluskey, took over. The tall opening bowler was rewarded with two wickets in two balls in his fifth over, including a diving catch by Aidan Pimm. McCluskey continued to run through the Chipperfield tail end to reduce them to a paltry 69 all out, including no less than seven ducks. His man of the match figures (8-1-32-7) were easily a season’s best for Boxmoor’s bowlers.
With time on their side, the Moor were keen not to follow their opponent’s mistakes by batting watchfully and sensibly. Despite the loss of an early wicket the hosts were forced into regular bowling changes as Pimm (18) chipped away at the target. Losing a couple of other wickets didn’t deter the team as in-form Ross Bargent, with a flurry of boundaries, eased the Moor to victory in the 18th over with a calm 26 not out.
Boxmoor 2nds won the toss against Chorleywood III and chose to bowl first. Tight bowling all through the innings restricted Chorley to a very getable total, with Jamie Vincent Jones finishing with figures of 10-3-14-2 which were the best of the pack. Stan Harper returned 2-24, with Jay Goodwin, Jai Nandwani and Stan Williamson all claiming one wicket each. Saair Hamdani also bowled well and was unlucky not to get a wicket. Nick Cottrell, behind the stumps, remarkably had three run outs.
Chasing 149 to win, Boxmoor’s opening pair, Nick Cottrell (23) and Rob Smith (45), got off to an excellent start to the chase. After the two openers were dismissed, Dan Smith (30 not out) and Nandwani (24 not out) knocked off the remaining runs as Boxmoor cantered to the win by seven wickets, with more than 20 overs spare.
Boxmoor 2nds remain second in the table with two huge games coming up against Rickmansworth III away this Saturday and, probably, the runners-up spot decider against Watford III at home, on the last day of the season on September 2.
Boxmoor 3rds suffered a heavy loss to Chorleywood IV on Saturday after losing the toss and being invited to bat. Only Dan Webb (55) outscored extras (16) as Boxmoor posted a below-par 103 on a variable surface.
Sadly, the bowling form followed the batting form, with only Gaby Pimm (2-21) making any in-roads among the Chorleywood batsmen, who chased down the total in 18 overs, with Sutcliffe carrying his bat for 57.
The Sunday 1sts won the toss against Ebury Strollers and chose to bowl on an even surface. The Strollers raced to 40 for no loss before Rewan Harper took well-deserved wickets against a solid opening pair. Tight bowling from Ijaz, Goodwin and debutant Josh Low kept the scoreboard low however a partnership developed in the middle order taking the Strollers total to a respectable position.
Once the visitors passed 100, the batting became more adventurous to accelerate the score with some big hitting which also resulted in catches being taken with tricky chances being put down too. Strong death bowling from Zia Khan (2-19) at the end of the 40 overs held Ebury to a competitive score of 171-7.
Boxmoor’s chase was completed within 35 overs thanks to a tremendous unbeaten 99 from Kelly Low, who perfectly paced his innings, including two huge sixes and 13 fours. He was very unlucky to miss a well-earned century. Low was supported in an excellent 86-run opening partnership with Dan Hobbs (28) and a cameo from Khan (19). It was a great game between two evenly-balanced sides.
The Boxmoor Blackbirds Sunday XI enjoyed a good-natured friendly at Pinner. Batting first, Pinner got off to a fast start before Boxmoor pegged them back to 63-3 with two wickets in two balls from Gaby Pimm.
Pinner looked to be taking the game away until a surprisingly fleet-footed piece of fielding from William Allen created an unlikely run out.
Debutant Gaurav Gupta chipped away with two wickets and Aidan Pimm took his first wicket for the club to restrict Pinner to a competitive, but below par 209-7.
A steady start from Boxmoor had them ahead of the run-rate at the halfway point with the loss of only two wickets. A sporting retirement by Gupta on 50 not out to give others a bat caused a loss of momentum.
In spite of spirited knocks of 28 by Pikay, 16 by Matt Larkins and 30 not out by Makund, Boxmoor failed to force their early advantage, but, reaching 177-7, earned a fighting draw.
A total of 18 players bowled, 19 batted and it was a truly classic friendly in which everyone was a winner.