Hemel’s first team lost for the third time in four games in the Championship on Saturday when leaders Hoddesdon proved to be too strong.
One man in particular proved to be Hemel’s downfall and it was a familiar name to the Hemel players.
It was that man again, South African overseas player Jayden Broodryk, who last year was a major thorn in Hemel’s side with his knock of 112 from just 57 balls.
This year Hemel were able to keep him a bit more reined in, but Broodryk still made an unbeaten 67 off 74 balls.
Batting first, the visitors Hemel were just unable to score enough runs to trouble Hoddesdon on what was a high-scoring track.
Gareth James top scored with 49 from 49 balls, but the nearest score to that was a knock of 30 from Brett Penny and 23 from Jack Bailey.
Another 50 to 60 runs might have made it more competitive.
As it was, Hoddesdon’s openers Rob Walters (44) and Ashley Leaf (52) put on 63 for the first wicket in 13 overs, before bogeyman Broodryk came in.
Hoddesdon then raced to their total in 38 overs to win by eight wickets and stay top of the Herts Saracens Championship division with four wins out of four games.
Hemel have now slipped to eighth place in the ten-team league and will need to start compiling wins to avoid getting dragged into a surprising relegation scrap.
This Saturday (midday start) they host Old Owens, the team one place below them in the standings.
It proved to be a tight-run decision for Hemel II, but they managed a three-run victory over bottom side Langleybury II in Division 3B.
Hemel only managed to score 173 in their 50 overs, with skipper Tom Waterton top scoring on 38. A partnership of 52 for the fourth wicket between Waterton and Taq Hussain (26) was the best of the innings and Hussain’s 26 was the only other score to eclipse the 20 mark.
But Hemel then managed to keep Langleybury just behind a rate of four runs an over, which worked out in their favour in the end.
Just when Chris Horne (29) seemed to be getting Langleybury going, a sharp throw from Hussain ran him out.
Then it was down to Glyn Woon-Sam (21) and Ollie Channer (22 not out), who put on 48 for the last wicket, to creep Langleybury within one shot of victory.
Thankfully for Hemel, Woon-Sam pulled Ross Chapman into the hands of John Peppett at square leg for Hemel to win the game.
Visitors Bushey batted first against Hemel III on the high-scoring Nursery Ground. Hemel’s wickets were shared among Darryl Barnett (2-32), Matt Judd (1-35), Dave Jenkins (1-37) and Sam Wheeler (1-39).
Then Jim Langley was brought on and in just nine balls he took four wickets, conceding no runs, to skittle the Bushey tail as they ended on 213 all out from 42 overs.
Hemel were on pace in the reply and after 20 overs were on 88 runs scored but only four wickets down.
Rhys Fowler (29) and Adam Moulster (23) were the 20s scorers. Skipper Graham Clark (62 not out) came in down at number six and held the chase together. Darryl Barnett added 30 and Langley saw the game home with Clark, scoring an unbeaten 25 as the pair put on an undefeated 55 for the eight wicket as Hemel won with 10 balls to spare.
There was a strange result for Hemel IV, who had won their first three games this term before facing winless bottom side Langleybury III.
Langleybury had Kevin Gallagher to thank for their score as he made 78 from the number six slot. Paul Crawley with 44 from number five saw them up to 214 all out.
Vinnie Liddar led Hemel’s bowlers with 3-34 and there were a couple each for Dil Khan (2-14), Nic Benson (2-29) and Dan Keene (2-57).
Mike Samuels (37) and Greg Keene (18) put on a good stand for Hemel’s first wicket but the innings rather fell away under the persistence of Kevin Kelly (6-17 from nine overs).
Despite the loss, Hemel remain in second place in Division 9A, just one point behind leaders Hitchin III.
The Sunday 1sts had a hastily-arranged 40-over friendly after their Chess Valley League opponents Harrow St Mary’s dropped out.
They managed to play Saracens, who Hemel beat last year and are due to play again on July 21 in another friendly at the Heath Park.
Hemel skipper Lewis Hodgins spent time re-accustoming himself to the crease with a fine knock of 116. Helped along by Billy May (71), they put on 148 for the second wicket and reached 293-6 from their allocation to set a good target.
Saracens showed they were up for it and opener Ben Wallis went slightly better than Lewis, scoring 119 with 19 fours. But their support batsman Andrew Young could only score 58 against Mays’s 71 and Saracens were unable to keep the required scoring rate going against Hemel’s restrictive bowling.
Saracens ended on 228-7 to lose by 65 runs.