Boxmoor’s first team and third team facing relegation battles with just four games of this season left to go

Cricket
Cricket

Boxmoor’s first XI lost by four wickets at promotion-chasing Letchworth III on Saturday.

A youthful looking Boxmoor made the trip to Letchworth on another hot afternoon. Skipper Richard Crowther, choosing to bat first, was looking for a positive response to last week’s poor performance and was rewarded with a solid start from openers Aidan Pimm and Ben Mannering.

They took the score to 80 in 22 overs with Pimm playing the dominant role, hitting ten fours as he reached his half-century, perishing shortly after for 53, edging behind.

Fifteen-year-old Mannering continued to play sensibly and with Crowther pouncing on any loose deliveries, a big score looked on the cards.

Despite Mannering being dismissed for 36, as he looked to up the ante, the Moor found themselves in a healthy position at 142-2. However they couldn’t press the advantage and turn it into a big match-winning score, as Letchworth took the pace off the ball and wickets began to fall.

Crowther went for 43 and Anum Hamdani, with an even 50, was the only lower-order batter to score of note in the late overs. Two run-outs didn’t help, as Boxmoor finished on 224-9 in their 50 overs.

Ex-Sri Lankan women’s international cricketer Rose Fernando was the pick of the home bowlers (10-1-30-2).

Crowther felt his team were 40-50 runs short but urged his bowlers to get early wickets. Some loose early bowling meant this didn’t materialise and it took 16-year-old seamer Saair Hamdani to apply the brakes with a mature seven-over spell.

Boxmoor copied the Letchworth example and took the pace off the ball, with left-arm spinner Amit Mahajan proving difficult as he regularly beat the outside edge. His figures (10-1-31-1) did not do him justice.

With wickets in hand and despite losing top-scorer Dovey (47), run-out after being caught off a no-ball, Letchworth edged towards their target. It took some lusty blows from their number seven to tip the advantage in their favour from where they hit the winning runs in the 48th over for the loss of six wickets.

Despite the loss, Boxmoor took 14 points and many positives from the display as they head into the last four games.

Boxmoor’s second team lost by eight wickets when hosting second-from-bottom London Colney II in the League Division 9B.

Usual order resumed as the skipper lost the toss and Colney elected to bowl. Their bowlers offered a lot of pace, bounce and swing but nothing that troubled the batsmen until Nick Cottrell (17) was caught by a blinding catch off the bowler’s boot.

Chris Bryon (19) came in and played well to support a series of partners at the other end but it was only Ameer Rasheed (36) who managed to make a good score.

The innings was finished off by big blows from Jay Goodwin (16) and good-looking shots from Gabby Pimm (15) on her debut. However, it’s fair to say 145 was well below-par.

Stan Williamson and Alex Harris led from the front and bowled well, causing all kinds of issues for the openers, but wickets proved elusive.

A couple of bowling changes after drinks saw John Scott make the first break-through after finding the outside edge and Rasheed took the second wicket soon after with an excellent caught-and-bowled. But Colney then settled down and built a slow, but solid partnership, to knock off the final runs in the 39th over.

A good performance in the field proved Boxmoor’s fighting spirit and the points picked up means they are guaranteed a mid-table finish.

The third team’s difficult run of games continued as third-placed Chorleywood IV were welcomed to a sweltering Warner’s End pitch.

Upon winning the toss, Boxmoor skipper, Keith McKay, elected to bat first in the hope of building a sizeable total and wearing out the Chorleywood team in the field.

But the Chorleywood attack gave little away, which combined with a difficult batting track, saw Boxmoor struggle to just 121 all out from 39.5 overs with Paul Biddle (21) and Rohit Patel (16) trying to get the batting off to a good start. However, batsmen came and went, with McKay last man out, and top scorer, on 32.

Chorleywood flexed their batting muscles and despite a spirited Boxmoor bowling showing, they knocked off the runs just two wickets down in 23.2 overs. With Boxmoor securing just five bonus points, and other results going against them, the side now faces a series of crunch matches if relegation is to be avoided.

The day after Boxmoor’s Sunday 1sts lost by six wickets at home to Hemel Town.

The Boxmoor captain decided to bat first against a significantly stronger Hemel line-up. Things started well with a 51-run partnership between Ben Mannering (42) and Les Haffenden.

But after that, no Boxmoor player was able to get more than a start, despite some idiosyncratic field placement by Hemel. George Goates-Smith (29) and Prateek Malhotra (32) were the pick of the batsmen.

Still, a total of 229 was something for Boxmoor’s bowlers to work with. But they ran into an opener in no mood to take prisoners as Lewis Hodgins smashed an unbeaten century in 16 overs.

Goates-Smith (3-0-21-1) made the first breakthrough and David Harley took an excellent catch in the covers on his debut, off the bowling of Alex Harris (3-0-34-1).

Alas, the gulf in quality was too wide to bridge and Hemel reached the target with 14 overs to spare.