Hemel Hemsptead Town CC enjoyed an unbeaten weekend with four wins and a draw out of their five fixtures.
But there was frustration for Hemel’s Saturday first XI as they failed to bowl out Flitwick to win a game they were always on top of in the Saracens Herts Championship.
More precisely it was the failure to bowl out Flitwick’s overseas player, Sri Lankan Nadeera Nawela, who made an unbeaten 115 and held their innings together.
When Hemel last played Flitwick in the Championship in 2016 Nawela had undefeated knocks of 63 and 71 , so Hemel have had a problem getting his wicket before.
Into what is known as ‘proper’ cricket now – although there is still overs restrictions – Hemel won the toss and batted, making 281 - 8 in their permitted 60 overs.
Hem Ilangaratne (52) and Lewis Hodgins (55) put on 112 for the first wicket while Brett Penny followed up with 43 at number three and Johan Moritz added 67 from number four.
It was a decent total to play with and Hemel tore into the Flitwick’s batters, reducing them to 75-4 with a wicket for Penny and three for Steve Reader, including the Flitwick captain and Beds minor county player George Thurstance for a duck.
But Flitwick then appeared to shut up shop and play out the time. Hemel tried everything and ended up bowling 68 overs in reply, way above the dictated – at least 55.
Steve Reader ended with 3-31 from 11 overs, while the other Hemel bowlers took one apiece but Flitwick held firm and the game was a draw.
It means Hemel slipped to fifth spot in the table.
This Saturday they host fourth-placed Ampthill Town.
There was a comfortable win for Hemel’s second XI with 10 overs to spare against Harpenden III in Division 3B.
Batting first, Harpo were never able to get going as the Hemel bowlers tied them down. Ed Langley (3-34) had the best return, while Rory Fraser (2-41) and Alfie Bordoley (2-44) also had good days.
Neil Morgan kept Hemel racing in the chase and when he was out for 89 the score was 116 and Hemel had not used up even half of their allotted 50 overs. It was just a matter of keeping the scoreboard ticking, which Craig Weston (35 not out) ensured and Hemel breezed in with only four wickets down.
There was also a comfortable win for Hemel’s third XI over Old Elizabethans II in Division 6B.
With previous table-toppers Allenburys & County Hall II losing at home to Abbots Langley II, it meant that Hemel III go back to the top of the league, on equal points.
Batting first, Old E’s had little answer to the variety of Hemel’s bowling as they only made 132 in 38 overs.
Bryan Davies turned in 3-13 in 10 overs and Matt Judd grabbed 2-47 in his 10. At the end Dave Jenkins came on to take 2-7 in just two overs.
It took Hemel the same amount of overs to hit off the necessary runs to win for the loss of only six wickets. Aaron Wilson held it all together with an unbeaten 48, while Suren Perera blasted 34 at the top and Ryan Wilson made 26 in the middle.
There was an extraordinary game for Hemel’s fourth XI on the Heath Park Nursery Ground in Division 9B, with more than 560 runs scored for the loss of only one wicket.
Table-toppers Sandridge II, who have won all of their games so far this term, won the toss and batted, making 279 for the loss of just the one wicket. They must have thought their unbeaten record was safe.
But Hemel captain Mike Samuels and fellow opener Ryan Bell had other ideas and with scores of 129 not out and 135 not out, they saw off the necessary runs in only 42 overs. Despite their super-human effort, Sandridge remain at the top while Hemel stay in fifth place.
There was a thrill at the end of Sunday’s Chess Valley League match when Hemel skipper Lewis Hodgins ran out Bourne End’s Bilal when going for a second run, to ensuring a one-run win for Hemel in what was an exceedingly tight fixture between two promoted sides from last season.
Hemel batted first with Will Langley (32) top scoring after openers Hodgins (28) and Barny Yeo (20) put on 49 for the first wicket.
The side eventually reached 138.
The Hemel bowlers did their bit, Hodgins takings 4-39 and Ed Langley 2-23, but it took the last-wicket drama to snatch victory.