Dacorum cricket round-up: Including title celebrations for Potten End

Potten End beat Ley Hill II on Saturday to secure the Mid Bucks Division 1 championship
Potten End beat Ley Hill II on Saturday to secure the Mid Bucks Division 1 championship

Potten End rounded off a superb season on Saturday by beating Ley Hill II to secure the Mid Bucks Division 1 championship.

After a season which has seen Potten End dominate with the ball thanks to the pace and consistency of Michael Gurney and the able support of Adam Hyland, Will Hill and Luke Hartman, it was the batsmen who did the damage on Saturday.

Captain Jimmy Pickard (43) and player of the year Gurney (44) got the Enders off to a flying start at the top of the order and there were contributions from Jason Hawkridge (31), the ever consistent Callum McCarthy (27) and quick cameos from Anthony Fenn and Harry Lee to ensure Potten End reached an impressive 225-4 at the end of their 40 overs.

In reply the Ley Hill openers made a promising start but the skipper was able to use the depth of bowling at his disposal, with Andy Lee (3-35) and two wickets apiece for Hill and Fenn ensuring the home side finished 25 runs short in an entertaining match.

The celebrations after the game and back in Potten End were a fitting tribute to what has truly been a fantastic effort from this young and enthusiastic side, known throughout the league for their intensity on the field and a bowling attack to challenge even the most confident of Premier League batting line-ups come the start of next year’s campaign.

> Hemel Town

Despite having already been relegated from the Herts League Premier Division, Hemel Town I skittled out Potters Bar for just 106 in the penultimate game of the season thanks to the efforts of Brad Finch (6-33) and Steve Reader (3-35).

Having done the first bit, Hemel still struggled to complete the game – at 28-5 after 14 overs, the writing might have been on the wall.

But 37 from Vibor Yadav held it all together, before 11 from Tom Elborn and 10 n/o from Steve Reader saw Hemel over the line after 33 overs.

There was another ton for Matt Potton but, unfortunately, it was not enough to gain promotion from Division 2B for Hemel Town II.

Potton’s efforts helped to ensure victory over a strong Welwyn Garden City II side at Digswell Park, but Abbots Langley And Harpenden II had already secured promotion.

Potton scored another 100 after his earlier one against Bushey on August 1 to put Hemel in a commanding position.

Welwyn went for it in reply, but 3-42 from Charlie Hoskins, 2-35 from Suren Perera and 2-36 from Liam Jahn kept them under control as Hemel emerged as winners by 23 runs.

In Division 5A, Hemel Town III put Flamstead I in to bat and, at the 25-over mark, had them struggling at 94-5.

Wickets from Anjam Khan (3-29) and Adam Moulster (2-17), both from their full 10 overs, kept Flamstead chasing and only last man out S Blunt (70) scored runs up to the mark to set a good target.

Hemel’s chase started off slowly, and at the halfway point of 25 overs they were five wickets down for 82 runs.

Matt Dale came to the rescue scoring 51 runs, while 22 from skipper Anjam Khan kept Hemel in there, but it fell down to the last pair of Adam Moulster (8 n/o) and Ben Dumpleton (8 n/o) to see Hemel over the line for a win.

Hemel are on equal points now in third position with second placed Hatfield & Crusaders with one extra win.

This weekend sees the last games of the season – Hemel are home to eighth-placed London Colney, while Hatfield & Crusaders are home to bottom side Preston II. It’s all to play for.

A crunching defeat by Division 8 B leaders Frogmore pushed Hemel Town IV down to ninth place, putting them in severe danger of relegation with one game to play.

Hemel were all out for 60 in 25 overs, while Frogmore scored 65-2 in 14 overs to secure the win.

Nick Benson top scored for Hemel with just 10 runs, although extras scored more.

To stay up Hemel now need to beat Little Berko Sahibs at home next weekend and hope that Letchworth GC IV lose at home to Frogmore and don’t score more than three bonus points and/or Sawbridgeworth III lose at home to Bayford & Hertford II and don’t get more than four bonus points.

> Kings Langley

Kings Langley I moved to within two points of the Herts Saracens League Division One promotion places with a convincing victory against St Margaretsbury.

Put in to bat on a wet track, a large total was unlikely. Dan Donaldson (36) and David Burnell (25) got Kings off to a sound start before Harry Sambrook came to the crease at 87-3.

Sambrook was then to put in the performance of the season; pacing his innings superbly, he helped manoeuvre Kings into a winning position, before blasting 33 from his last 10 balls to leave himself unbeaten on 110 and Kings on 270-6.

Despite getting off to a quick start, 270 was far too imposing a target for St Margaretsbury and, despite sending his hat-trick ball down for an appalling wide, it was Sambrook who also did the damage with the ball, taking 5-32 and rounding off an outstanding day for the best cricketer in the family.

Kings now require a win in their final league game and a little help from Knebworth Park in order to achieve their goal of promotion to the championship.

Kings Langley II’s losing run continues after succumbing to a five-wicket defeat at the hands of champions elect Parkfield and Headstone.

Having been inserted on a wet wicket, Kings Langley couldn’t build any meaningful partnerships on their way to being bowled out for 144. Only captain Tom Clark offered any resistance with a fine innings of 56.

In reply, some clever tactics from Kings by starting with the slower bowlers meant Parkfield struggled to get the ball away and it looked at this stage as though it might be a close game.

However, a good knock from the Parkfield skipper resulted in them being crowned champions, chasing the Kings total down for the loss of five wickets. Duane Smith and Josh Oldham were the pick of the bowlers, both collecting one wicket each from their 10 overs.

> Leverstock Green

Leverstock Green I captain Dayle Littlejohn and his squad have secured promotion into Saracens Herts League Division One for next season.

The players, however, would be quick to point out that the job isn’t finished yet; the Division 2A championship is still up for grabs.

Six points are needed at Old Owens on Saturday to ensure they crown an already excellent achievement by lifting the fourth-tier title.

This situation was arrived at on Saturday after Green 1s made short work of Watford Town, who chose to bat on what looked a bowler-friendly track at Bedmond Road.

And so it proved. Adam Thomas’ fine 10-over spell saw him yield 3-24 while Majid Khan was just as parsimonious: 2-19 from his eight overs as Town fell to 98 all out.

Openers Miles Barnard (41) and Lewis Koch (46) continued their fine form, and had most of the total knocked off before they each got out, meaning Levy would claim an eight-wicket win and promotion back to Division One.

Leverstock Green II need 14 points from their final match at home to table-toppers Sandridge at the weekend to make absolutely certain of their hard-earned Division 4B status.

Promoted last summer, the 2s have been hit hard by diminished availability in recent weeks, but skipper Jamie Wallis will lead his side into battle at The Green knowing a good performance is required after they lost to nearest rivals Hertford III at the weekend.

Wallis’ superb return of six wickets for just 10 runs was backed up by 3-23 from Dom Clarke as hosts Hertford ended 149 all out.

In reply, no one scored more than opener Ben Parkes’ 20 – in a first-wicket stand of 34 with Wallis (12) – as Green crumbled to 84 all out.

Leverstock Green III also endured a tough afternoon. They were bowled out for 65 after Flitwick III set a target of 294 from their 50 overs at Parmiter’s School.

Plenty of effort and energy went into Levy’s performance but individual highlights were few and far between. Five ducks in the Levy lower order followed 25 from Steve May at number 4 and saw the last six Green wickets fall for the price of just two runs.

Again, they’ll be looking to finish their mid-table Division 9B campaign in stronger fashion with a season-closer at Knebworth Park IV this weekend.

Leverstock Green IV are scheduled to finish their summer against Boxmoor IV at Parmiter’s School.

Meanwhile, Leverstock Green CC take on Abbots Langley CC in the final of the Readers Herts County Trophy this Sunday at Hemel Town CC’s Heath Park ground.

> Bovingdon

Bovingdon travelled to Stevenage on Saturday needing a victory to keep their hopes of winning the league alive

Excellent opening spells from Jack Blackburn and Tony Shand restricted Stevenage to 30-3 after 18 overs.

Runs were hard to come by for the home side throughout their innings, and wickets fell at regular intervals.

Louis Prideaux took 3-23 from seven overs at the end of the innings, but the star performer was Jack Blackburn who took three wickets in the 50th over to end up with figures of 6-13 from 9.3 overs as Stevenage were bowled out for 164.

Blackburn couldn’t transfer this form into his batting as he was clean bowled by the first ball of the run chase on a difficult track to bat on.

Bovingdon looked to be in trouble at 50-4 before a superb partnership between Graham Fayers (17) and Paul Sniders (68) rescued the innings.

Another hard hitting performance from Tom Cowley (32 n/o) sealed the win in the 36th over for the loss of only five wickets.

The victory means that a home win for Bovingdon against Old Owens next week will secure them the league, so long as they can restrict Old Owens to 12 bonus points or less.

> Berkhamsted

Berkhamsted I beat Northampton Exiles in their final home match of the campaign to maintain their 16-point lead over Chorleywood II who they play next week on the last day of the season.

However, it was far from an easy victory with Berko squeezing home by just two wickets in a low scoring game.

Electing to bat, Northampton Exiles found Chad Fortune too hot to handle and posted a very low total of 103 all out, with Fortune taking 5-12 and his 43rd wicket in the league this season.

Despite reaching 55-2 in reply, Berkhamsted found themselves in trouble with a mid-order collapse, however Fortune and Josh Roberts saw them home to set up next week’s Herts Saracens League Division 4A championship decider.

Berkhamsted II kept alive their outside chance of promotion from Division 8A with comfortable win away at St Albans III.

Batting first on a green wicket, Berko did well to post 161, with Bret Hopcroft scoring 42.

In reply Berko were always in control and dismissed their hosts for just 97 – with Joe Atkins taking 4-18.

Berkhamsted III maintained their strong end of season form with a dominant display away to Chipperfield Clarendon III.

Posting 204 in their 45 overs, with Ethan Mackie hitting 52 and Peter Dudley carrying his bat for 47 n/o, Berkhamsted cheaply dismissed their hosts for a paltry 74, with Mark Evens the pick of the bowlers with 3-10.