Dacorum cricket round-up: Including another big set-back for Hemel Town first XI

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Hemel Town I’s chances of avoiding relegation from the Herts League Premier Division took another hit on Saturday as they suffered a home defeat to Bishop’s Stortford I.

Hemel have six games left to play, three of them at home, but they are now 76 points adrift at the bottom of the division and a great escape looks highly unlikely.

Choosing to bat first after heavy Friday rain, Hemel were 47-3 after 19 overs, with the top three batsmen out.

A long innings from Sam Jenkinson (42) kept Hemel afloat, but wickets kept on falling and they ended up being bowled out for 111 in the 53rd over.

Stortford took half the number of overs to better that score, reaching 112-2 in the 26th over. Matt Rodgers (54 n/o) led the way for them from the top. A wicket each for Vibor Yadav (1-20) and Parth Mehta (1-13) was the best Hemel could manage.

There was a crunching win for Hemel Town II against Potton Town I, with the game all over by 5.15pm.

Earlier in the season, Hemel had lost at home by two wickets in a similarly low scoring game. This time they made no mistake and trounced Potton.

Bowling first, Hemel had Potton at 32-5 after 21 overs, and it didn’t get any better for Potton as all six Hemel bowlers picked up a wicket or two to dispatch their opponents for just 98 in 53 overs.

Suren Perera didn’t need any time as he smashed the Potton attack for 77 not out in just 45 minutes. It only took Hemel 13 overs to see off the 100 for the loss of no wickets.

Hemel Town III completed the double for the season over Hatfield & Crusaders as they secured a top-four place in Division 5A – putting themselves in a possible promotion spot later in the season.

Putting Hatfield in to bat, Hemel were able to bowl them out for 162, with the main wicket takers being skipper Anjam Khan (4-30) and vice-skipper Adam Moulster (2-53).

Young Aaron Wilson was able then to lead the chase with 70 as Hemel reached the target with seven wickets down after 47 overs.

Having been rolled over by Bayford & Hertford II at home earlier in the season, Hemel Town IV were a little unlucky not to reverse the result in the away fixture.

Put in, Hemel made it to 181-8, led by 53 from Steve Smith, 30 from Scott Radcliffe and 25s from openers Jim Birnie and Jim Langley.

The speed of Tony Beamish was a welcome addition to the Hemel attack, picking up 2-33, and the dependable Dawood Iqbal took 5-22.

But it was not enough to bowl out Bayford who held on for the draw.

> Berkhamsted

Berkhamsted I made it eight wins out of their last nine games by comfortably beating Waltham X Rosedale to maintain top spot in Division 4A.

Waltham were dismissed for 123, with Chad Fortune taking 5-16 and Steve Dight 4-24.

The target was easily knocked off in 28.3 overs, with Alan Gofton top scorer with 37 n/o for a win by six wickets.

Berkhamsted II returned to form after a loss last week with a powerful win over Waltham X Rosedale II.

The opposition were all out for only 76, with wickets shared around – Ben Beard put in the best figures with 3-26.

The target was achieved in only a little over 17 overs for a big eight-wicket win. The victory elevates Berkhamsted to second place in Division 8A and back in to the promotion places.

Berkhamsted III made use of a difficult batting wicket to bowl out Bushey III for 82, holding no fewer than nine good catches – Ted Stanford took 4-27 and Matt Dight 3-18.

In reply, Berkhamsted’s batting wobbled, losing three wickets in one over while falling to 30-5.

But the lower order held firm and grafted through to a hard earned four-wicket win, strengthening Berko’s sixth place position in Regional Division A West.

Bushey IV batted first against Berkhamsted IV and rattled up 251-8. Josh Todd was the star bowler with 4-55.

In reply, Berkhamsted were looking good for the score, with Ian Putman top scoring with 47, but late wickets meant that the last pair needed to hold out for the draw at 206-9. The team are now ninth in Regional Division C West.

> Kings Langley

A major tail wag rescued Kings Langley I from almost certain defeat and helped lift them to third in the table.

Put into bat by Dunstable on a green, damp track, Kings were quickly reduced to 52-4.

Despite solid knocks from Simon Walker (34) and Dan Donaldson (34), the recovery never really got off the ground and at 139-9 Dunstable were clearly on top.

Then came a last wicket stand of 67 between Ben Joyce (54 n/o) and Christian James (29), lifting Kings to the respectable total of 207; which for the first time in the match gave them a real chance of taking all 30 points.

Buoyed by the swing of momentum, Kings’ bowlers made light work of the Dunstable batting line-up, ripping through them for just 76.

Andrew Burnell led the attack with his first fifer of the season, finishing with figures of 5-33 from his 10 overs, before Donaldson (3-2) mopped up the tail to ensure a comprehensive 131-run victory.

Kings Langley II returned to winning ways with a hard fought battle at Hatfield and Crusaders.

Although the hosts got off to a decent start, some tight bowling from Duane Smith (4-9) and Rob Clark (2-38) pegged them back quickly, which resulted in Hatfield being bowled out for 147 on a wet wicket.

The visitors lost three early wickets in reply, but a solid partnership from Matt Langston (23) and Tim Piper (49 n/o) swung the game Kings’ way. When Langston fell, it was left to captain Tom Clark (21) to steer his team home with a timely innings to record a three-wicket win.

Kings Langley III fell to a six-wicket defeat as they visited Stevenage IV on Saturday.

Put in to bat, Kings soon fell from 20-0 to 60-6 after 21 overs. Only three juniors could muster some fight as the final three wickets salvaged the score to 107 all out – led by 14-year-old Adam Syed (23) on his senior debut .

The home side were under early pressure, soon losing three wickets, but Mankani (43) and Kinney (41 n/o) steadied the ship and guided Stevenage to a well deserved 30 points.

> Bovingdon

A threadbare Bovingdon side travelled to Broxbourne with only 10 men for Saturday’s league fixture..

With the other four sides in the promotion hunt all playing each other, this was a real opportunity for Bovingdon to strengthen their promotion challenge.

Broxbourne won the toss and had no hesitation to bat first having racked up 200 or more in their last seven matches.

However, Tom Cowley and Nick Baxter showed good control with the new ball, and Baxter was unfortunate not to return better figures than 3-50 as a couple of catches were dropped from his bowling.

Number three Graeme Ford played the best knock of the innings, making 50 after being dropped twice. Blackburn (1-53) and Stickland (4-52) bowled well, although the middle overs highlighted that Bovingdon were a man short in the field as there was always an unavoidable gap somewhere for the batsmen to exploit.

Michael Buttleman took 1-22 at the death, and a run out from the final ball eventually saw Broxbourne all out for 232 from their allocation of 53 overs.

Bovingdon have a history of managing to snatch victories despite playing with depleted numbers and a weakened batting line-up, but chasing 233 from 47 overs did look like a tall order at tea, especially as they had never managed to successfully chase more than 230 since joining the Herts league in 2009. The task looked even more difficult once top run scorer for the season Jack Blackburn was tamely dismissed for 11 and number 3 Nick Baxter had to retire hurt after top edging his first ball into his face.

Luke Stickland joined opener Michael Buttleman at the crease, full of confidence after his four wickets with the ball. The pair launched a blistering counter-attack and put on 91 for the second wicket before Buttleman was caught at extra cover for 59.

This partnership had reduced the required run rate from five per over to less than four, making the task seem much more manageable.

Baxter returned to the crease with one less tooth than he had begun his innings with, and scored a breezy 28 to push the rate down further.

The loss of Stickland for 56 proved to be a turning point in the innings, as the scoring rate slowed and wickets slowly began to fall.

Both sides were in the hunt for victory right until the end, with some exceptional running from James Hazelton (28 n/o) helping to whittle down the required total.

It was eventually left to Paul Fidler (9 n/o) to gracefully pull the ball to the boundary to secure the hard earned victory with 10 balls to spare and two wickets in hand.

The win keeps Bovingdon in second place with a home fixture against third placed Ware to come on Saturday.

Before that, Bovingdon take on Bourne End in the quarter-finals of the Herts Village Trophy on Thursday at Bourne End; the winner goes through to the finals day in August.

> Chipperfield Clarendon

Chipperfield Clarendon I beat high-flying North Enfield by 85 runs, taking maximum points for the match.

Chipps lost the toss and were unsurprisingly asked to bat by the title chasing hosts on a drying wicket.

Alex Moore departed early, but good batting in testing conditions by Cousens (12) and in particular Shaun Jennings (54 from just 46 balls) led to a recovery.

Richard Hudson played a captain’s innings for a fine 85 not out, and Chipps closed on 222-7 from 53 overs.

North Enfield came out with all guns blazing in reply; Tom Sundive’s first delivery disappearing over the boundary for 6. But this also led to chances being created and wickets fell at steady intervals, with Sundive taking 3-44.

For the second week running Gary Wise (5-25) ripped the heart from North Enfield’s’ batting order and, despite a couple of spilled chances, Chipps bowled Enfield out for 137

Chipperfield Clarendon II lost to Hoddesdon II by four wickets.

Batting first, Chipps started well, going at four an over thanks to the efforts of Freddy Hampson (22) and Zac Webb (20) before the loss of both openers within three overs slowed proceedings.

Padhani (53) scored a patient 53, but Chipps were bowled for 174 in the last over of the innings, a total that always looked around 30-40 runs too short.