Boxmoor secure promotion after their near-perfect campaign

Boxmoor's ever-watchful batter Aidan Pimm in action for the club against Watton-at-Stone earlier this season.
Boxmoor's ever-watchful batter Aidan Pimm in action for the club against Watton-at-Stone earlier this season.

Boxmoor got back to winning ways after just their first loss of the season last week when they beat Potters Bar 3rds by five wickets on Saturday – and secured promotion from Saracens Herts League Division 6B in the process.

At a scorching-hot St Johns Oval they chased down their highest target of the season with 13 balls to spare.

Returning Boxmoor pace bowler James McCluskey struck in his first over and went on to get both openers with the score on 19.

Shaun Nichols (2-20) reduced the visitors to 31-4, while McCluskey bowled his 10 overs straight through for 2-31.

But a fifth-wicket partnership of 115 shifted momentum and a further 50-run partnership frustrated The Moor before the visitors dropped from 195-5 to 204 all out in the 45th over, helped by late-order wickets from Matt Smalley-Harris (2-6).

Despite the early loss of Smalley-Harris, the hosts started positively. Ben Mannering (16) was run out from a direct hit at 62-3, before Sam Stride and Aidan Pimm batted watchfully until the former was caught lbw with the score at 94 after 28 overs.

The pressure was on the leaders as Joe Hall strode to the crease with both he and Pimm due a good knock.

They both batted with great control in a match-winning partnership of 99.

Both reached their first 50s of the season with some joyous boundaries, before Pimm was run out for 57, while Hall finished unbeaten on 70 as he flicked the winning runs off his legs to much celebration from his team-mates.

It was a great match, played in an excellent spirit by both teams, but Boxmoor took the spoils to mathematically guarantee promotion - no less than they have deserved after a nearly faultless campaign.

Boxmoor will wrap up the title this Saturday with an away victory at Watton-at-Stone.

The Moor second XI secured a fine six-wicket away triumph at Cheshunt Rosedale 3rds in Saracens Herts League Division 9B.

The hosts reached 208-8 from 45 overs, while Boxmoor reached the target, 211, only four wickets down after 35.4 overs.

They climbed to fourth spot in the table after the result, but are still someway off the second and final promotion place with only two games remaining.

The day after, Boxmoor’s Sunday first XI won by just four runs in a tight home friendly with Kensworth.

The sunny weather proved to be perfect for cricket and the Boxmoor Oval looked in superb condition.

The two teams meet twice each season and the games are always close and friendly.

Boxmoor won the toss and chose to bat, making a cautious start, but Matt Smalley-Harris and his early partners got Boxmoor off to a decent beginning.

Smalley-Harris went on to score 74 and Stan Harper added a useful 18.

Last-man Euan Mathie was unbeaten on 15 when the Boxmoor innings ended on 157.

This seemed a reasonable score in a 35-over game but Kensworth’s bowling was on-point, Smith getting an impressive six-fer (6-20) off seven overs and Bolton grabbed 2-33 off only two overs.

In Kensworth’s reply, Patel made 56 runs but in a somewhat similar fashion to Boxmoor, fell a bit short of a par score for the pitch, reaching a total of 153.

The successful Boxmoor bowlers were Mathie, with 2-18 off seven overs, Steve Alderton (1-8 off 2 overs), Sutton (3-28 off six overs) and Paul Biddle (2-24 off seven overs).

The scores indicated just how closely-matched the two teams were and it was pleasing to see the players congratulating each other at the end of the game.