It was another busy weekend for Dacorum’s cricket clubs, with plenty of action across the borough.
> Kings Langley
On a disappointing day for Kings Langley CC, the first XI managed to hold on for a draw against Luton Town and Indians.
Luton ran up 250-5 against an under-strength bowling attack as the pick of the bowlers were Ben Joyce (2-26) and Matt Wells (2-40).
Given 52 overs to reply, wickets fell at a steady rate and Langley eventually closed on 171-9. Paul Ashford top scored with 28 and Brad Hughes steered Langley to the draw with 18 not out.
Kings Langley II were asked to bat on a difficult wicket at Hexton and managed only 95 all out. Hexton the obtained the runs required for the loss of five wickets.
The third XI match at Rickmansworth was cancelled due to wet pitch conditions, and the fourth XI match was conceded by Bushey.
> Hemel Town
Steve Reader was at it again for Hemel Town I as bagged another five-wicket haul against Sawbridgeworth I in only his second game back.
Batting first, Hemel hit from the top with Brett Penny scoring 115 with 16 fours and four sixes, and Adam Winchester adding 79 with 10 fours as they piled on 234.
Things continued in Hemel’s favour as Brad Finch removed Sawbridgeworth opener Rob Sander with the first ball of their reply.
Reader got the wicket of Dan Wilson with his first ball and he went on to take 5-28 from his nine overs as Sawbridgeworth were dismissed for 130.
Hemel Town II were involved in a mad scramble at the end of their clash with County Hall I which resulted in Faisal Iqbal hitting the last ball of the match for two runs to win the game.
Earlier, County Hall had batted first and made their way to 196-8 from their 53 overs. Only the spin of Iqbal had made any major impact, with the Hemel man picking up 4-45 from 14 overs.
In reply, all the Hemel batters got going but couldn’t quite kick on. A knock of 45 from Matt Dale and 39 from opener Jon Pearson helped them along, before Iqbal hit the last-gasp winning runs.
There was a comfortable win for Hemel Town III as they moved up to fourth in Division 5 with victory over Chipperfield Clarendon II.
A big hundred for Neil Morgan (109), after Hemel were put in to bat, set the scene for a score of 210-9.
Then it was the turn of Hemel’s seamers as Rory Fraser (3-22) and Adam Moulster (4-32) demolished the Clarendon batting line-up to take an emphatic win.
Hemel Town IV made it three wins on the spin as they disposed of Letchworth IV with relative ease.
Batting first, Steve Smith scored his first league 50 of the season with 59, Andy Burgess scored 34 and Phil Smith ran up 25 not out as Hemel got to 200-6 in their 49 available overs.
Hemel’s opening pair soon demolished the start of Letchworth’s innings as Dave Jenkins (3-9) and Matt Bateman (1-15) had them at 11-4 after four overs. There was no way back for Letchworth as Rahul Wickramsinghe snapped up 3-22 in six overs of bamboozling spin and Letchworth were dismissed for 114 in 33 overs.
A first league win of the 2014 season over third-placed Harpenden V saw Hemel V soar up to fifth in the Division 11 East table.
Batting on the new Hemel nursery ground was key and Mike Samuels (106) christened the strip with its first century. Skipper Tony Linfoot added 73 not out as the pair put on 160 for the third wicket.
A quiet word from experienced Trevor Radcliffe (3-18) got Dan Turbutt to relax in his bowling and he turned in figures of 5-65 as Hemel won with 2.3 overs to go.
Hemel Town Sunday I started their 2014 Chess Valley League season with a convincing 104-run victory over newly promoted Tring Park.
Put in, Hemel’s batsmen were all able to help themselves to runs, with Billy May top scoring on 59, followed by Tom Waterton with 53 and Josh Graves with 52.
That helped Hemel to a formidable score of 294-9 from their 45 overs.
They were then able to spread the bowling around, and eight different bowlers picked up a wicket, with Anjam Khan snaring 3-21.
Steve Reader showed his all-round capabilities as he stepped in as wicket keeper and picked up a catch and two stumpings.
An under-strength Hemel Town Sunday II side slid to a 51-run defeat at local rivals Boxmoor.
Batting first, the Boxmoor batsmen put together reasonable scores, while the flight and guile of Richard Morton (5-58) was the star turn for Hemel.
On the batting front, Hemel were almost there, but not quite. A knock of 56 from Steve Smith was added to by Jim Langley’s 37, but it was not enough to prevent defeat.
> Leverstock Green
Tasmanian Marc Simonds hit a first century for victors Leverstock Green I – his 100 the back-bone of an impressive 235-4 from 46 overs at home to Wheathampstead in Division Two.
Opener Lewis Koch made a stylish 54 and Nick Merrett 50 not out – as part of a three-figure stand with Simonds – as Green dominated both innings to run out winners by 58 runs.
Brad Klosterman’s mix of spin and seam caused most difficulty to the visitors, as he took 6-47 from 21 overs, however leg-spinner Simonds delivered the ball of the day when his googly turned sharply to remove key bat Chris Martin for 40 as Wheathampsted ended 177 all out.
A brilliant captain’s performance from Dayle Littlejohn ensured Leverstock Green II continued their 100 per cent record in Division Five.
His medium-pace swing bowling returned figures of 7-19 from 11.2 overs to restrict hosts Hatfield & Crusaders II to 135 all out.
Green’s second XI found the run chase a stiffer test than in previous weeks, however, with only modest contributions after 40 from opener Ben Parkes had set Levy on their way.
With dismissals coming regularly, it needed an unbeaten 36 from Littlejohn – ably supported by stoic resistance from No. 10 Sam Roberts – to see Green over the line for a two-wicket success.
In Division Nine, Leverstock Green III secured a second victory of the summer thanks to a 78-run win at Luton Town & Indians IV.
Batting first, six double-figure contributions helped Levy post a respectable 193-7. Graham Evans (37) and Jamie Wallis (30) laid the foundations for a good score at the top of the order before brothers Matt Lake and Dan Lake put on 50 together in the middle order, with 29 and 24 respectively.
Leverstock Green IV already had 30 League points in the bank – thanks to a concession from Berkhamsted IV – when they travelled to Denham for a friendly.
A knock of 24 and two dismissals marked out youngster Lewis Glasscoe as the star performer during a match which saw the hosts chase down Green’s 147 all out with two wickets in hand.
In a key bottom of the table tussle, Berkhamsted I gave away a winning platform to end up drawing with Southgate Compton on Saturday.
Southgate lost two quick wickets, falling to Josh Peacock and Rob Prunty, but a solid third-wicket stand took the score to 100.
Club coach Riaz Richards again chipped away at the middle order, eventually taking 4-50, and a second wicket for Prunty saw Southgate close on a par score of 196-9
In reply, Gareth Preedy (22) and Lee Mason (21) started well, before a knock of 47 from captain Dave Smith supported by Luke Frey (30) put Berko in pole position.
However, a mid-order collapse – despite Jez O’Neil’s 22 n/o – saw Berkhamsted fall 21 runs short on 175-8 when time was called to secure a draw.
Berkhamsted II lost at Allenbury’s with a young team that battled well but eventually in vain
The local derby between Berkhamsted III and Boxmoor III saw a run fest.
Despite Boxmoor blazing away at the start of the innings, Berkhamsted did well to restrict the away side to 207-4 as Derek Pratt took 2-51.
In reply, Berko lost quick wickets and were looking at a heavy defeat until John English (47) and a magnificent innings from club groundsman Ian Putman (123 n/o), almost won the game for Berko.
But with wickets falling the other end, Putman and Berko had to settle for a draw at 201-8
> Abbots Langley
Abbots Langley I nearly got their first win of the season but Ickleford hung on for the draw with nine wickets down, in an entertaining match.
Batting first, Abbots lost early wickets on a slow pitch but Jack Read (29) and Jimmy Davies kept things ticking over with a stand of 65.
Aussie Davies then took centre stage with his maiden century for club with a fine 108 including six maximums. Tom Carson chipped in with a quick-fire 30 not out as Abbots ended on 222.
Ickleford responded in kind as they kept up with the run rate but steadily losing wickets as well. At 120-5 it looked like an Abbots victory with skipper Mathew Dunstone bowling superbly to finish with 8-65, but Ickleford hung at 205-9 to deny Abbots a deserved win.
Abbots Langley II came away from Totteridge Millhillians III with a hard fought win in a low scoring game.
Batting first on a difficult wicket, they lost wickets at regular intervals, but Lewis Hodgins (17) and Will Graves (28) put together what was to prove a match winning partnership of 40, to leave Abbots on a modest 115 all out.
Quick bowler Aiden Byrne then bowled extremely well to rip through the Totteridge innings with a spell of 8-41 to leave Abbots victors by 17 runs.
Abbots Langley III lost against a strong Greenwood Park team by 45 runs.
Greenwood batted first and, in a reduced overs game, scored 228-4 with their opener scoring a fine 142 not out. Lee Rossitter had the only success with the ball with 2-29.
However, Abbots were always in with a chance of winning, with contributions all down the order particularly from Solanki (40), Hirani (37), Merritt (29), and Austerbury (28), but they finally went down fighting on 183.
Abbots langley IV couldn’t quite force the win against Shenley Village IV.
Batting first, Abbots lost a wicket first ball of the innings, but this only bought in Mathew Longworth, who completely dominated the innings with a superb 128 not out – his maiden century for the club.
His innings, along with a quick 52 from Tom Ruxton jnr helped Abbots to an imposing 243-3.
In reply, Abbots always had Shenley in trouble, with Scott Nixon taking 2-26 and Jerry Graves 3-22, but somehow they held out to get the draw with nine wickets down.
AbbotsLangley played Harpenden in the Chess valley league on Suunday, and suffered a big defeat. Harpenden batted first and accumulated 271-9, Jimmy Davies 4-40 and Aiden 3-56 bowling well in the face of some fine batting. Jack Read then held Abbots together with 57, but it was bnever going to be enough, as Abbots struggled against tight bowling, it was left to Davies 34no and Matt Parkins 34no to tke them 1655 in their allotted overs.