Boxmoor’s 1st team lost to Hemel Hempstead III at home in the Saracens Herts League Division 6B in a rain-affected clash.
The losing margin in the local derby at the Moor was calculated as three runs, as the players sought their calculators and league handbooks to work out the run-rate in the pavilion as the rain fell.
Hemel, choosing to bat first, got off to a quick start as opener Will Kriehn (45) dominated the opening stand. It took a clever, slower ball by young Saair Hamdani to dismiss him middle stump.
Regular wickets helped to keep the visitors in check with Anum Hamdani (2-37) and Lloyd Larkins (2-22) the main beneficiaries.
Boxmoor old boy Tim Wright, with a patient 42, helped steer Hemel’s middle and lower order to 234 all out in the final over. Hamdani Jr returned to pick up the final two wickets to claim season-best figures of 3-44.
At the break, skipper Richard Crowther felt his side were well in the game but Boxmoor’s reply got off to a poor start when the returning Ian Gorringe was bowled in the first over without scoring.
The second wicket fell at 27 from where Crowther (41) and Sam Pimm (42) steadied the ship with an 83-run partnership, the highest of the game.
Both perished in quick succession but this brought Luke Flynn and Hamdani Sr to the crease as the rain began to fall.
Playing positively, they looked to score at every opportunity, bringing up a 50 partnership at more than a run a ball, as they looked to up the run-rate.
The umpires and players were keen to keep going but had to admit defeat in the 38th over as the conditions worsened. Finishing up on 171-4, Boxmoor felt they were in the ascendency when play was stopped, much to the skipper’s frustration when only three more runs would have seen the win go to the hosts.
Despite the loss, Crowther’s team took heart from a strong performance against a promotion contender. The 15 points gained helps to keep plenty of distance between the Moor and the bottom of the table.
A short trip to Bedmond ended in a three-wicket loss at Abbots Langley III for Boxmoor’s second XI on what looked to be the worst pitched played on this year.
After losing the toss, Boxmoor were put in and got off to a solid start with Nick Cottrell (37) and Miles Harrison (21) putting on 72. Harrison was the first to go after the pitch popped off a length and found the splice of the bat and Cottrell followed soon after.
Ian Mcnicholl then did what he does best, playing a well-timed and controlled innings for an undefeated 71 as he batted around regular falling wickets.
Eventually, Boxmoor battled their way to 200 which looked to be a good score.
Abbots got off to a shaky start, with Alex Harris causing all kinds of issues on his way to an early breakthrough and a spell of 10-2-47-1. Jay Goodwin (10-2-34-2) and Naran Jagatia (10-1-45-1) held the middle overs together with excellent control.
But Abbots, bottom of the table, are determined to stay up and sent in a top player to get the job done. Despite Boxmoor’s best efforts, Ellis continued to use the toe of his bat to spoon the ball between fielders on multiple occasions on his way to 71 before he was caught by Cottrell.
Rain then arrived which worked in Abbots favour as conditions got harder to bowl in, until eventually Abbots knocked off the winning runs.
It was a tough week for the side with back-to-back losses.
Boxmoor’s third team lost by 49 runs away at Chipperfield Clarendon III in Regional Division B West.
A much-changed Boxmoor side, that was still being assembled and arranged at 11.30am, made the short journey to Bovingdon’s main pitch to take on Chipperfield.
In the hunt to maximise bonus points, skipper Keith McKay elected to field and open the bowling with the spin-pace combination of wily Dan Webb (8-1-37-1) and youthful Jasmine Driver (8-1-21-1). Webb made a fast start, drawing two chances with his first two balls. Boxmoor kept up the pressure by dismissing two of Chipperfield’s first three cheaply, with Webb and Driver claiming a victim apiece, both good catches taken by Sri Ganesh.
Chipperfield solidified their position after this wobble but found fluent scoring hard as Boxmoor’s change bowlers Ganesh (8-3-19-1)and Mubashar Ijaz (8-0-47-2), allowed few scoring opportunities and also found regular partnership-breaking deliveries.
It wasn’t until the last 10 overs that Chipperfield were able to find the boundaries and they eventually pushed on to 170-6 from their 40 overs.
It would have been an achievable total with the usual batting line-up but the changes weakened the batting significantly, further hampered by an injury to the usual Boxmoor number three, Lee Rance.
However, the opening pair of Webb (19) and Azad Rasheed (16) started brightly but the innings then stumbled dramatically as both fell in successive deliveries. This allowed an attacking cameo from Ganesh (23), before a dogged knock by McKay (11) helped stretch the innings out to the 37th over, which allowed some lower-order hitting to push the final score to 121 all out and three bonus batting points.