Hemel Hempstead Town’s first away games back up in the Championship after one year down have hardly been the kindest of initial fixtures.
Firstly they travelled to Luton, who were relegated from the Premier Division last term.
And at the weekend, in their next away game, Hoddesdon were the hosts – the side that lost in the playoff game against Hertford when trying to get promoted into the Premier Division.
Hemel managed to beat Luton in that first away jaunt, but there was no such luck here.
Hoddesdon won the toss and their South African overseas player, Jayden Broodryk, smashed an impressive 112 from 57 balls, including seven fours and nine sixes, to put Hoddy up to 303-5 from their 50 overs.
On the bowling front, Hemel’s own South African overseas player, Johan Moritz, was able to turn in the best Hemel bowling figures of 10-2-28-1.
Chasing a rate of six-runs-an-over, Hemel started off brightly with Hem Ilangaratne (13) and Lewis Hodgins (17) scoring at 10-an-over for the first four overs of the chase.
The asking rate was still there after 20 overs with Hemel on 121-3.
But keeping wickets was always the key and at the halfway stage of 25 overs Hemel were reduced to 140-4.
Hoddesdon kept chipping away and Hemel ended up 28 runs short.
Josh Graves top scored with 42 while Moritz made 40 and Parth Mehta made 39 in 35 balls from number nine in the batting order.
The good news for Hemel was that they crept up to third place in the league behind the two unbeaten leaders Ampthill Town and Dunstable, top of the remainders with one win out of three so far.
It’s still early days.
Hemel next host struggling Langleybury at Heath Park this Saturday.
It was another sad home defeat for Hemel’s second XI, this time against a side they did the double over last year in Potters Bar II.
The visitors were thankful to their opener Michael Palmer who batted through their 50 overs to score an undefeated 81.
The tightest Hemel bowlers were Adam Moulster, taking 1-15 from his 10 overs, and Anjam Khan, who snagged 1-20 from his 10.
But Hemel only managed to take five wickets as Potters made it to 193-5.
It wasn’t an unachievable score, as long as Hemel got off to a good batting start.
Unfortunately, that was not the case as Potters’ opening bowler Tom Grant took out the first trio of batsmen to leave Hemel at 26-3 after just seven overs.
Rebuilding from then on as opener, Neil Morgan amassed 55 and number sixWill Langley made an unbeaten 50.
But there were no other double-figure scores for Hemel as they subsided to 149 all out in 44 overs to lose by 44 runs.
Hemel III moved to equal top of Diision 6B after a 55-run victory at Hatfield & Crusaders III.
Batting first, Suren Perera (25) and Graham Clark (45) opened the innings with a 50 partnership but the real incentive came later in the order with an unbeaten 80 from wicketkeeper Ryan Wilson, including two sixes and 12 fours.
The bowlers that skipper Graham Clark could use were numerous and all chipped in with wickets. Bryan Davies was best with 3-20, followed by Dave Jenkins with 2-21 and Matt Scears with 2-28.
There was a crunching victory for Heme’s fourth team as they annihilated an under strength Abbots Langley III by 164 runs.
Hemel’s skipper Mike Samuels did all the right things, primarily winning the toss and batting first. He then proceeded to smash a score of 162 and together with fellow opener Jim Langley (58) put on 152 for the first Hemel wicket in 27 overs.
It did not stop there as Paul Smith came in at number five to smash an undefeated 50, including five fours and four sixes, as Hemel eventually reached 381.
The Hemel bowlers were then able to enjoy their half of the game. John Peppett took 3-12 from six overs and Darryl Barnett 3-35 before Harise Khan was able to finish things off with 2-5 from 15 balls at the end.
In the Chess Valley League on Sunday, Hemel came away with an impressive win over last year’s champions at Heath Park.
Stanmore won the Chess Valley League Division Four last year and were promoted up to the Division 3 along with Hemel, who finished in third.
They also beat Hemel in their league game, chasing down Hemel’s 290-8 with an over-and-a-half to go for only four wickets down.
There were no such heroics this time around as Hemel batted first again and scored 260-6 with Johan Moritz finding it to his liking in scoring an impressive 122.
There was no run chase this year either from Stanmore apart from an 86-run haul from Pafas at number three.
Lewis Hodgins took 4-38 from his 10 overs and Johan Moritz 3-15 from five as Stanmore were removed for 182 to give Hemel a 178- runs victory to start the Sunday league season in the right mood.