The steam-rolling Boxmoor first XI made it six wins out of six when beating Hatfield & Crusaders II by four wickets in Division 6B of the Saracens Herts League on Saturday.
Hosts Boxmoor came out on top in a low-scoring affair at a damp Moor. Returning skipper Richard Crowther had no hesitation in bowling first. Shaun Nichols began well, swinging the new ball and beating the bat, but it was Jamie Vincent-Jones who got the first wicket, that of the Hatfield skipper, caught easily at square leg, to make it 20-1.
It soon became 30-5 as Nichols ripped through the top order with three wickets, followed by a run-out from a sharp bit of fielding from teenager Saair Hamdani.
The sixth-wicket pair steadied the ship for Hatfield as they put on 40. It was Crowther who broke the duo on the brink of the drinks break, before fellow spinner Prateek Malhotra enticed top scorer Yasir Shafi (21) down the track to be stumped by wicketkeeper Dan Hobbs.
Crowther (3-10) and Malhotra (2-10) mopped up the tail, setting Moor 85 to win.
Despite a short rain break, the hosts had plenty of time to chase the target. Openers Matt Smalley-Harris (17) and Aidan Pimm were watchful of the new ball in increasingly tricky conditions, putting on 27 for the first wicket.
After the loss of both, the score crept up as Sam Stride (12) and Ben Mannering, along with a dose of extras (top score, 20), got the hosts close to the target. There was still time for nervous moments after the middle order was dismissed cheaply.
The game had a share of controversy when Mannering (13 not out) was adjudged caught behind, only for Hatfield’s captain to sportingly and correctly call him back. The youngster kept his head to hit a winning boundary to see his side over the line.
The four-wicket win keeps them top of the table by 20 points over Potters Bar III, who they visit this Saturday.
The Boxmoor 2nd XI lost by 102 runs away at Watford Town III in Division 9B.
Boxmoor’s 3rds won by five wickets away at Chipperfield Clarendon III in Regional Division B West.
Rewan Harper (3-26) and Euan Mathie (3-18) were the pick of the Moor bowlers but everyone played their part as Chipperfield were out for 123.
Boxmoor looked in trouble at 43-5 but Matt Larkins (40 not out) joined Tilly Larkins (26 not out) and the father-and-daughter duo saw Boxmoor home with a fantastic 81-run partnership.
The win pushed them into third ahead of their hosting of leaders Markyate & Luton Town this Saturday.