It is still mathematically possible for Hemel Town I to stay in the Herts League Premier Division but looking even more unlikely after a home defeat to relegation rivals Hertford.
Batting first, Hertford were kept down to 138-4 after 40 overs. Then Will Bancroft (51) and Ollie Ray (61) cut loose and Hertford put on 108 runs in their last 10 overs. Parth Mehta’s return of 2-24 from 10 overs was quite respectable in the circumstances.
Hemel started off steadily in pursuit, with Hem Ilangaratne (40) and Josh Graves (28) putting on 78 for the first wicket.
But the fall of Graves then saw the rest of the wickets go down for 66 runs as only Sam Jenkinson (26) made it into the 20s and Adam Carlson (5-30) ran through the lower order for Hertford.
Hemel Town II came out of an extraordinary game with a win against St Albans West Indian to set up an interesting end of the season.
With three games to go, Hemel sit in third place in Division 2B with home games against league leaders Abbots Langley and second placed Harpenden II still to come.
Batting first on Saturday, Hemel were somewhat skittled out by the West Indians with only Jon Pearson (43), Suren Perera (19) and Liam Jahn (15) making double figures as they were bowled out for 111.
But Bryan Davies removed their opener with the first ball of the St Albans West Indian reply and Charlie Hoskins took a wicket in each of his two opening overs as West Indian were reduced to 3-3.
After 13 overs the pair had reduced St Albans to 25-8 and Hemel were on top. Resistance for a brief time came from batsmen 9 and 10, but in 24 overs Hemel had bowled them out for 65. Bryan Davies and Charlie Hoskins ended with figures of 4-19.
Saturday also saw a result that may well have deprived Hemel Town III of a promotion spot and saved Hitchin II from relegation from Division 5A.
A few old Hemel names were hauled out of the armchair for this game, with Tony Beamish showing what the club had been missing as he picked up 3-27 and Martin Botha snaffled 2-34.
A total of 197 for Hitchin on the Nursery Ground was not a score that Hemel should have been afraid of. But they fell 54 runs short as they were bowled out for 143.
Matt Dale top scored with 39, Taq Hussain scored 23 and Rahul Wickramsinghe hit 20. But at the end Adam Moulster (15 n/o) was left with no support.
Defeat to Pirton saw Hemel Town IV slip down to second from bottom in Division 8B.
The next two games are away at the sides in third and first places in the division; one victory may be enough to keep Hemel up, with an important clash against Little Berko Sahibs set for the last game of the season.
Against Pirton, only Arawind Kumar (26) and Barney Stalin (20) made it into the 20s for Hemel. Harry Milkins (16) and Mike Samuels (12) were the only others to make it into double figures as Pirton dismissed Hemel for 115.
Then the Pirton openers Jake Howard (53) and Sam Davies (31) put on 82 for their first wicket in no time and Pirton romped away to a seven-wicket win in 14.3 overs.
There was a comfortable win for Hemel Town Sunday I after a couple of away defeats, keeping them in the hunt for the Chess Valley League Division One title with one game to play at bottom side Ickenham next Sunday.
Batting first, Hemel raced off to 66 in eight overs before the fall of their first wicket. Josh Graves (66) led the plundering of the Holtwhites bowling and he was followed by rapid scores of 56 n/o from Brad Finch and 51 from Jack Doodson.
A total of 266-6 from 45 overs is usually pretty secure score, which it proved to be as Hemel were able to switch their bowlers around and bowl Holtwhites out for 187.
Figures of 3-43 for Sam Jenkinson were Hemel’s best as he removed the lower middle order, while Ed Langley snared 2-29 and usual wicket-keeper Tom Elborn cleaned up the tail with 2-3 from nine balls.
Hemel Town Sunday II, having started off by winning their first five Chess Valley League Division Six games, have now lost their last three.
Boxmoor batted first and scored 150, before Hemel chased and came up 10 short on 140. Scott Radcliffe picked up three wickets, while ex-Hemel colt Matt Bateman top scored for Boxmoor with 29 and took 2-22 from his 10 overs.
For Hemel’s batting, Aaron Wilson opened and scored 40, before Adam Khan (19) and Liam Jahn (22) took Hemel to the brink of victory, but fell 10 short leaving Adam Moulster (12 n/o) without any batting partners for the second day running.
> Kings Langley
Kings Langley I succumbed to their first defeat in seven weeks as they were beaten by table topping Luton Town and Indians.
Kings gave themselves every chance by restricting the home side to 202-8 from their 50 overs. Andrew Burnell was the pick of the bowling attack, continuing his recent run of fine form to take 5-31.
As the wicket began to dry and turn, the Kings batsmen struggled against the Luton Town spinners – led by Ashes winner Monty Panesar. The former England man took 5-21 in his time off from Essex duty.
Kings were eventually dismissed for 137, well short of their victory target.
Kings Langley III lost ground in the relegation battle as they fell to a comprehensive 10-wicket defeat against 10th-placed Hatfield Hyde II.
Kings chose to bat but could only muster 73 in 33 overs as good bowling kept the pressure on; Hutchings and Maher the main contributors with the bat.
In reply, Hatfield Hyde weren’t troubled as the openers calmly knocked off the total inside 17 overs to claim 30 crucial points.
> Chipperfield Clarendon
Chipperfield Clarendon II lost to Reed II by five wickets as they failed to get going with the bat.
Winning the toss and electing to bat first, captain Shawn Mepham would have been hoping for a better performance against the league leaders, as his 65 was the only score of note as Chipps were bowled out for 116.
Reed got to the target for the loss of five wickets; Mepham again being the pick of the bowlers with 4-34.
Bovingdon travelled to Bushey on Saturday hoping to make amends for last week’s defeat and keep their promotion aspirations on track.
Bushey won the toss and their captain elected to bat on a decent looking pitch. He may have regretted this decision not long afterwards, however, as he was bowled by Nick Baxter from the first ball of the match, shouldering arms at a ball which cut back to hit off stump.
Tony Shand soon struck at the other end, leaving Bushey in trouble at 5-2 after four overs.
A decent partnership for the third wicket was the only real resistance in the innings as Bushey were eventually bowled out for 118 in 38.1 overs.
Stand-in skipper Luke Stickland was the pick of the bowlers with 4-12, with two wickets apiece for Nick Baxter and Jack Blackburn, and one each for Tony Shand and Matt Boyd.
Bovingdon’s opening batsmen came through a tricky seven-over spell before tea unscathed and eventually put on 69 for the first wicket.
Tom Cowley’s maiden 50 was the highlight of the innings having been promoted to open as he had to leave early to go to Twickenham.
Cowley didn’t look at all out of place, and helped secure 30 points for his side in what turned out to be a seven-wicket win which leaves Bovingdon needing just 17 more points to guarantee promotion from their final three games.
The Bovingdon Sunday XI hosted wandering side JD Sports. The home side batted first and posed 254 before tea with useful contributions from Andy Ellis (29), Mike Hart (38), Sean Gatehouse (34), George Carter (38) and Tom Cowley (40).
Cowley picked up three wickets and three catches in his second man of the match display in as many days as Bovingdon cruised to victory, with the rest of the wickets spread between Kerry Underwood (2), George Carter, Matt Dight (2) and Afzal Rehman.
Berkhamsted I returned to winning ways on Saturday by demolishing lowly Northwood Town to win by nine wickets, and remain top of Division 4A with three matches left.
A devastating spell of 4-7 from Chad Fortune and Steve Dights (3-25) skittled Northwood out for just 78, before Berkhamsted eased to the total for the loss of only one wicket.
Berkhamsted III had an even easier win on Saturday as they thrashed Boxmoor III by 10 wickets.
A second successive 5-fer from Harry Hunter (5-20) helped bowl Boxmoor out for a paltry 56 in just 22 overs, and Berko had no trouble knocking off the runs in reply.
> Abbots Langley
Abbots Langley I are on the verge of promotion after another convincing victory, this time against Met Police.
Chris Chellew yet again set about the opposition bowlers by scoring another century (120), before Scott Newman peppered the boundary with a knock of 62 which included 6 sixes.
A total of 297 was never going to be an easy target, and a good all round display – particularly Nick Gurney (4-45) and Ibby Usman (3-20) – restricted Met Police to just 149.
Abbots Langley II continue to flirt with relegation after finding it difficult to deliver any consistency with their displays.
An exciting game with Old Haberdashers ended in a penultimate over defeat for Abbots, despite them having recorded a respectable 197-7 in 50 overs.
Sam Bailey hit 53 and Aiden Byrne added 52 but Abbots were unable to regularly take wickets and build pressure. Andrew Rueth did manage 4-22 in an excellent spell.
Abbots Langley III faced a difficult game against runaway league leaders Datchworth II.
Nicky Rossiter made 47 in an otherwise average effort against a decent bowling attack.
A total of 124 was never going to be enough on the postage stamp Bedmond ground and Datchworth passed the total for the loss of three wickets – veteran Bob Russell claiming a brace.
Elsewhere, Abbots Langley have booked their place in the Readers County Trophy final on the September 6 against local rivals Leverstock Green.
Botany Bay was a difficult fixture but Abbots batted steadily in their 50 overs – particularly Jack Read (73) and Chellew (62) – which allowed Abbots to post a reasonable 228-8.
In reply, Botany Bay lost wickets regularly and were never in the hunt as they folded for just 146.