The Great Escape is on after Hemel Town I recorded their first Herts Premier League victory of 2015 and also surpassed the 300-run mark for the first time in the HPL – beating their previous highest score of 297-8 against Sawbridgeworth in 2009.
The Hemel total was also a record first XI league score at Heath Park, bettering North Mymms’ score of 314-4 in 2008.
Sawbridgeworth had beaten Hemel by 10 wickets in the first league game of the season, so Saturday’s result was sweet revenge for Town.
Put in by Sawbo, Hemel skipper Hem Ilangaratne cracked up his first league century of the season, scoring 101 in 156 balls.
Further down the line at number 5, newcomer Vibor Yadav smashed 70 from 52 balls to make up for his golden duck against Harpenden the previous week. Sam Jenkinson made 47, and Jack Doodson added 32.
In the 22nd over of Sawbo’s reply, Hemel had them at 84-5, before Yadav took out their middle order and spinners Richard Morton (2-24) and Parth Mehta (1-31) were able to tempt the tail and complete the win.
Hemel Town II chased all the way through against Cockforsters I until they had to play out the last couple of balls with nine wickets down to secure the draw.
Cockfosters batted first and rattled off to 71 for the first wicket in 24 overs, but then Hemel hauled them back in to keep their score in chasing distance.
Rory Fraser (2-25), Charlie Hoskins (2-25) and Billy May (2-33) picked up a couple of wickets apiece and then Liam Jahn came on to snatch 3-46.
In reply, Cockfosters kept the Hemel openers under control, but good middle order batting from Tom Waterton (36), Graham Clark (35) and Liam Jahn (37) meant Hemel were in the hunt all the way, before the draw was secured.
Bentley Heath completed the double over Hemel Town III, having beaten them in the first league game of the season in May.
Batting first on the Heath Park Nursery pitch, Hemel amassed 255-7 – normally looked upon as being a pretty safe score at third XI level. Wicket-keeper John Clulow hit 62 and young Will Langley added 64.
But the total was no problem for Bentley Heath as they tapped off the required runs in just 40 overs.
After losing three wickets, Oliver Hubbard scored 92 n/o and Sannan Mohammad hit 59 n/o as they earned the win. Skipper Anjam Khan (2-64) was the pick of the Hemel bowlers.
Having sneaked a two-wicket win at home in the opening league game of the season, Hemel Town IV were made to pay the price in the reverse fixture as Northampton Exiles II dealt them a crushing defeat.
Batting first, three Exiles batsmen – skipper Nutan Shah (69), Mike Bullard (70) and Krishan Nail (63) – put together healthy contributions to set Hemel a daunting task.
Hemel’s batters had no real answer in reply, with only Hassan Ashraf (38 n/o) at number 8 scoring with any freedom. Brad Kellman turned in the best figures for Exiles II with 4-26.
It was a case of the day after the night before for some of the Hemel Town Sunday I players, with celebrations from Saturday’s first Herts League win of the season going on long into the night.
With a few heads feeling somewhat fuzzy, a previously undefeated Hemel side were given a bit of a thumping by Finchley I.
J Powe led the way for Finchley with 116 n/o, while only Rahul (2-73), Brad Finch (1-49) and Ed Langley (1-58) picked up wickets as Finchley amassed 279-4 in their 45 overs.
Hemel didn’t even get close in reply; after 20 overs they were 71-9 and it was only a 38-run last wicket partnership between Ryan Wilson (14) and Sam Jenkinson (23 n/o) that pushed them over the 100-mark to end on 109 all out in 30 overs.
Hemel Town Sunday II recorded their fourth straight win in Division 6 of the CVL.
After a bright opening for Chenies & Latimer, with C Anderson (29) and M Pickard (79) setting them on their way, Hemel bowlers wrestled control back to bowl their opponents out for 171 in 43 overs.
Bowling figures of 3-24 for Dawood Iqbal and 3-26 for Rory Fraser were the main returns, with a couple of wickets each for Balinder Walia (2-16) and Ellis Bisgrove (2-41).
Ram Hussain was the main Hemel batsman in the chase; he batted from the top and ended with 78 n/o. Knocks of 36 from Richard Morton and 24 n/o at the end from Adam Moulster saw Hemel to victory in 29 overs.
> Kings Langley
Kings Langley I were made to work hard for their 30 points in a closely contested win over Broxbourne I.
After putting Broxbourne in to bat, the Kings bowlers made an outstanding start – regularly beating the outside edge with ease and restricting Broxbourne to a measly 32-2 off of their first 20 overs.
Kings continued to turn the screw but, on a pitch conducive to much heavier scoring, Broxbourne’s tail managed to pinch hit their way to a respectable 199-7.
A top order collapse from Kings made the chase more difficult than it should have been and, had Ricky Mohammed not continued his fine form, they may have been in more trouble.
Mohammed was supported by the watchful Dan Donaldson (30) and, when he departed for a free-scoring 75, an unbroken stand of 49 between Brad Hughes and Andrew Burnell saw the hosts home with four overs to spare.
Kings Langley II continued their good form by recording a 120-run victory over Knebworth Park.
Having been asked to bat first, Kings set about the task with ease, with many of their batsman getting decent starts.
Matt Langston was the pick of the Kings batsman, scoring 61 n/o to help set a commanding total of 207 on a two-paced wicket.
When it was Knebworth’s time to bat they were unable to follow in Kings’ footsteps, losing wickets at regular intervals. The wickets were shared around by Luke Jones (3-26), Rob Clark (2-15), Tom Clark (3-13) and Scott Rolfe (2-27) – resulting in the hosts being bowled out for 87.
Kings Langley IV posted their highest score of the season but that did not stop them going down to Leverstock Green.
Kings batted first and hit the heady heights of 201-6, with Jacob Hutchings scoring his maiden half century with 82.
Michael Barton gave strong support with 40, and Jacob’s younger brother Elliot smashed 26 n/o with five 4s and a 6.
In reply, Levy Green reached the target for the loss of seven wickets, with Toby Hendy taking 3-42 for Kings.
Table-topping Berkhamsted I maintained their excellent form as they hosted Cheshunt and opted to bat on winning the toss.
Ollie Chinneck (72) and Jez O’Neill (53) top scored as Berkhamsted declared on 254-9 after 52 overs.
The Cheshunt batting was then taken apart as Chad Fortune took 4-30 and Stephen Dight 3-7. The opposition were dismissed for 98 for a huge 156-run win.
The win maintains Berkhamsted’s 26-point lead at the top of the division.
Berkhamsted II are also flying high in Division 8a as they beat Reed III to stay top by four points.
Bowling first, Berkhamsted restricted their opposition to 175, with Joe Atkins taking 5-37.
In reply, Berkhamsted struggled but a fine 55 by George Lewarne saw them home for the win by three wickets.
Berkhamsted III visited in-form Harpenden V and opted to bat upon winning the toss.
Youngsters Dan Brierley (42) and Charlie Mann (36) were the top scorers as Berko closed on 186 all out.
The Berkhamsted bowlers bowled excellently and fielders took all catches offered as Harpenden consistently lost wickets. Jamie Slater took 4-19 with his leg spin and Sam Quinn 3-23 as Harpenden were dismissed for 89.
Berkhamsted IV hosted Abbots Langley IV who scored 166-8 in their allotted 47 overs, with the star bowler for Berkhamsted being Derek Pratt, taking 7-42.
In reply, Luca Fitzpatrick Bone scored his maiden 50 for the club in only his second game for the senior sides, hitting an impressive 60 as Berkhamsted won by three wickets.
> Abbots Langley
A magnificent unbeaten 135 from Chris Chellew helped to ensure that Abbots Langley I avoided defeat against Harpenden II – their closest rivals in the division.
He was well supported by veteran Matt Dunstone (55) as a formidable total was achieved.
Harpeden batted well but were always behind the chase and finished 20 runs short, with Nick Gurney claiming 3 for 32
John Battams and his troops picked up a win at last as Abbots Langley II got the better of North Enfield.
A lively wicket contributed to this low-scoring affair, with Anish Khiroya claiming 6-29 for Abbots in an excellent spell.
After a few alarms, Abbots passed the total mainly thanks to Lewis Hodgins’ unbeaten 34
James Allen (91) and Chris Wilcox (77) shared a superb 168-run stand in a high-scoring match as Abbots Langley III posted an excellent score despite losing to Cockfosters III.
Unfortunately for Abbots, the bowling didn’t quite live up to the batting and Cockfosters chased down the total for the loss of five wickets.
Teenager Joe Woodard batted with maturity and made 53 as Abbots Langley IV beat Berkhamsted IV.
Woodard’s total allowed Abbots to post a decent total, with Jack Lawrence (3-28) the pick of the Abbots bowlers.
In a local derby with Kings Langley in the Chess Valley league, Abbots Langley Sunday I made 220 in their allotted overs.
Cheelew (57), Gurney (37) and Hodgins (33) were the pick of the Abbots bowlers as they were beaten by seven wickets.
> Chipperfield Clarendon
Chipperfield Clarendon I drew with Redbourn in a high-scoring game on Saturday.
Batting first, Chipps lost Nigel Cousens for a golden duck, before Shaun Jennings scored an excellent 81.
With little support for Jennings, Chipps were in some trouble at 136-6, but an excellent 85 from Jack Bambury and 30 from skipper Tom Fitzgerald added 102 for the seventh wicket and saw the Dons close on a decent total of 270-8.
In reply, two wickets from Nigel Cousens and two from Jack Bambury had Redbourn in some trouble at 125-5, but on a good wicket it was always going top be difficult to bowl the opposition out, and Redbourn closed on 229-7.
Chipperfield Clarendon II lost by 68 runs against Luton Town & Indians III.
Batting first, Luton scored 191-8 off their 53 overs, with Nathan Wiles taking 4-35.
In reply, Chipps were never in the hunt and were bowled out in the 45th over for 123; Shawn Mepham top scored with 24.
In other news, Chipperfield Clarendon are holding a club open day on Sunday.
There will be an U9s tournament starting from 9am featuring local sides, while free introductory coaching is available for newcomers to the sport.
This will be followed in the afternoon by a memorial cricket match in honour of Dave Anderson – an honorary life member who passed away last year.
There will be a barbecue and bar available all day, and everyone is welcome to join in with the festivities.
> Snowden Trophy
Potten End U13 and Hemel Hempstead Town U13 both made winning starts in the 2015 Snowden Trophy – with Boxmoor U13 suffering a brace of defeats.
The trophy is named after a former Hemel Town CC player, Lieutenant Harcourt John Snowden, who was killed in action in 1915 during World War One.
Snowden’s death was reported in The Gazette on January 23 1915. The report said: “Yet another officer well-known in Hemel Hempstead has been killed at the front.
“The sad intelligence was received during the weekend that Lieutenant HJ Snowden, of the 1st Herts Territorial Force, had been shot through the chest, and subsequent messages revealed the fact that he was the victim of a sniper.
“Lieutenant Snowden, who was killed on January 11, was the younger son of the Rev Harcourt Snowden, of St. Peter’s, Broadstairs.
“He came to Hemel Hempstead a few years ago as a master at Lockers Park, and he was most popular amongst the boys. He came home on a few hours’ leave just before Christmas.
“He joined the 1st Herts Regiment in June 1913, as a 2nd Lieutenant, and in September was promoted in France to be a Lieutenant, and he was attached to the Royston Company.
“The young officer – he was 27 years of age – was a sportsman of much ability. He played cricket for the Hemel Hempstead club, and gave many excellent all-round displays. His brother is a well known Kent County player.”
The Snowden Trophy has been organised by Professor Richard Grayson, with Hemel Town U12s winning the inaugural competition last year.
Originally featuring only Hemel and Boxmoor in a three-match series, the 2015 competition also features Potten End, with the three teams playing each other three times.