Boxmoor’s 11-match unbeaten run came to end in a tightly fought encounter at the Moor on Saturday, with the visitors Hatfield & Crusaders winning by eight runs.
The guests chose to bat first and soon lost their captain for a duck playing on to a Lloyd Larkins delivery as Boxmoor looked to take an early advantage. Larkins then followed up with a second wicket, taking 2-23 in his six-over spell. But it was Hatfield’s third wicket partnership that shaped their innings as the runs flowed. The 75-run partnership, which proved to be the highest of the match, took Hatfield to 112-2.
Home skipper Richard Crowther felt that once this partnership was broken his bowlers would run through the Hatfield line-up. This proved correct as left-arm spinner Ross Bargent (2-32) got the breakthrough while fellow slow left-armer Amit Mahajan spun his way at the other end to figures of 8-3-13-4. Hatfield’s innings nosedived as they lost their last eight wickets for 45 runs, finishing on 157 all out in 39 overs.
The opposition opening bowlers started well, Alan Jakes in particular, as they reduced Boxmoor’s top order to 26-4 to put Crusaders in control. It took Dan Hobbs (36) and the returning Adam Hills (23), to get the Moor’s innings going with a watchful 50-run partnership.
All looked lost when Hobbs departed with the score at 111-7. First-team debutant Keith McKay was determined to ebb the flow of wickets as he scrapped his way towards the winning target with a useful knock of 20. But his tail-end heroics were to no avail as he was the last wicket to fall, just eight runs shy of victory.
The close defeat keeps Boxmoor safely in mid-table.
Their end-of-season this Saturday is against relegation-threatened Letchworth III.
Boxmoor 2nds made the short trip to Rickmansworth to play their 3rds, knowing only a win would be good enough to maintain second place and a real chance of promotion in Division 10A.
With the pitch and outfield looking like a minefield, it was going to be crucial to win the toss and they promptly did this and asked the hosts to bat. Skipper Jay Goodwin (8-4-7-3) ripped out the top order and the change bowlers continued the good work. Alex Harris (8-3-18-3) and Stan Williamson (10-3-23-2) maintained Boxmoor’s stranglehold on the game. Only Ricks’ No 4 put up any resistance, making a good 40 before Jamie Vincent Jones (7-0-21-1) returned to get his wicket and end the innings on 71 all out.
With a straight turnaround, the 2nds set about the low total, knowing it wasn’t going to be easy on the tricky track.
Wickets fell early and the 2nds were soon in trouble at 5-2, although a 30-run partnership between Nick Cottrell (18) and Dan Smith (4), eventually got the reply going.
Wickets then fell regularly and Boxmoor found themselves at 40-5. However, a crucial 29-run partnership between Keith Hammond (12 not out) and Stan Williamson (7), who batted sensibly with great restraint, got the Moor to within three runs of victory.
Then some good bowling from the hosts saw the score go from 69-5 to 71-9, with the scores tied.
Would Boxmoor throw this very much needed win away? Skipper Jay Goodwin, who had already got changed, then had to comically rush to get his whites back on and padded up to try and see the 2nds over the finishing line. After fending off 3 balls, he was offered up a slower ball, full toss, which he managed to loft over the fielders and gain the crucial win. A very hard fought victory, made all the more crucial by the news later in the evening that our only rivals for the Promotion Runners-up spot, Watford Town 3rds had surprisingly lost to Ickleford 3rds. This all means that in the last game this Saturday September 2nd, 6 Points is all that is required in the final game showdown, with the aforementioned Watford Town at home at the Moor!
Boxmoor CC 3rds vs Rickmansworth 4ths - Home - Saracens Herts League Regional Division B West - Conceded by Rickmansworth