Hemel take lead in the title stakes

There's a big day of cricket in store at Hove
There's a big day of cricket in store at Hove

Division 1 title-chasers Hemel got the win they needed over Shenley Village on Saturday after a couple of rained-off abandonments.

And it was a victory that puts them top of the table after Kings Langley beat former leaders Old Owens at their ground.

Not that Hemel would have thought so when, having batted first, they found themselves at 45-6 after 16 overs.

Brett Penny hit 24 at the top but as one of the wickets to fall, Hemel were in a bit of trouble.

They were rescued by skipper-of-the-day Jack Doodson, who hit 71 from 94 balls in a couple of hours, and Parth Mehta, who put together an unbeaten 38 off 74 balls in 100 minutes.

The pair put on 72 for the eighth wicket and later whacks from Bryan Davies (10) and Duncan Howard (16 not out) saw Hemel over the 200 mark.

Shenley’s overseas player Fahim Akbar turned in 5-53 to earn his corn.

Mehta, the man in form for Hemel, was the key again as he returned 6-51 from his 15 overs. Davies, making a welcome return to 1st XI cricket, took 2-24 and only the Shenley skipper Morgan Stanley (67) was able to offer any meaningful resistance.

With the win, Hemel moved to top of the league by two points with just four games to go.

This Saturday they host Northwood (1pm).

Having been hammered by Bayford in an early season 50-over game, Hemel II got a measure of revenge as they saw off Bayford & Hertford in the return fixture.

Put in, Hemel showed more batting resilience as they amassed 197-9 . Rahul Wickramsinge led from the top with 61, fellow opener Ryan Bell scored 34 and Ed Canham hit 42 in the middle order.

In reply, Bayford lacked any batting support for opener Rick Ketteridge (84) and Jim Brooking (51) who were the only players to make double figures.

Anjam Khan opened and took 4-27 and Wickramsinge came on later to clean out the tail with 3-36.

From 145-2, Bayford lost their last eight wickets for 34 runs as Hemel took the victory.

Luton Town & Indian III made 77-3 in 18 overs to win the game and as good as condemn Hemel III to relegation from Division 5B.

With four games to play, Hemel are 76 points away from safety.

U15s player Aaron Singh was the main man for Luton as he took 5-33. The only double-figure scores for Hemel were Tony Beamish (17), Martin Botha (12) and Andy Turbutt (11).

Sunday’s local derby game with Boxmoor was cancelled.

As well as Saturday league games this weekend, Hemel are also playing at Knebworth Park in the semi-final of the Herts County Trophy this Sunday.

This overrules the Chess Valley League game with Long Marston in the fixture book, which will be rearranged.

A win over Welwyn Garden City IV, to complete the ‘double’, was just what Hemel IV needed and it lifted them out of the relegation zone by a point.

From here, it will be four limited-overs games to finish off the season. Two of those games are against Reed II and Bayford & Hertford II who are the two sides below them in the league, so all it’s all set up for an exciting end to the season.

Nic Benson led the Hemel bowlers again, taking 4 - 36 to total 32 wickets for the season to date. Darryl Barnett took 3-60 as Hemel kept Welwyn down to 189-9.

A blast from Mike Samuels was what Hemel needed and they got it.

He scored 80, Phil Smith 43 and Will Stokes 20 as Hemel got the runs needed in 39 overs.

Meanwhile, the club’s under-15s have reached the Herts Summer League Finals Day on Sunday, September 3, after beating Old Albanian to win their qualifying group.

Hemel scored 127-8 from 20 overs and kept OAs down to 115 all out (on the last ball of their 20).

Gerard Gibb top scored on 29 with Eashan Panchal next in the runs on 17. Very tight opening bowling by Will Hodgins (just four runs from his first two overs) and Ed Grayson kept the lid on OAs, but they exploded later on in what became a proper T20 game with nine sixes and 16 fours hit across the two innings.

Jamie Wheeler excelled behind the stumps with three catches, a stumping and involvement in a run out.

Among the bowlers, Alfie Bordoley finished on 3-24, Ed Grayson on 2-13 and Eashan Panchal on two for just six in his three overs.