Hemel Hempstead Town’s men’s first XI continued their solid run in the Herts Saracens Championship when earning a winning draw with Leverstock Green, while their other sides collected three more wins at the weekend.
Hemel have now lost only once in their past five Championship outings.
Hosts Hemel won the toss and batted, rattling up to 100-3 in the first 21 overs with Lewis Hodgins (41) and Brett Penny (40) both getting in. But they lost their way mid-innings with only Gareth James (39) and Jack Bailey (24) keeping the scoreboard moving.
Skipper Nick Hodgins came in at number nine with the score at 162-7 after 37 overs. He proceeded to hit 52 from 72 balls, including five fours and a pair of sixes, together with Tom Elborn (17) and Parth Mehta (21 not out) to push Hemel to 264-9 from their 60 overs.
Levy went off like a train in the reply, reaching 100-0 after21 overs. Levy skipper Lewis Koch led the way with 60 off 66 balls. But the visitors did not have much else to push for a win. Overseas Sri Lankan Mahela Wijayalath hit 74, but from 154 balls, eating up the time they needed.
Tight bowling from Lewis Hodgins, who snagged five maidens in his 11-5-19-1, and Parth Mehta (18-3-49-4) stopped Levy, but were unable to take the last wickets as the visitors shut up shop. Hemel tried eight bowlers but ran out of time.
The result means Hemel remain in fifth place in the Championship ahead of their trip to fourth-placed Flitwick this Saturday.
Hemel’s second XI visited Wheathampstead, a team they have enjoyed success against in the past three seasons.
The hosts batted first and ran into Ross Chapman, who took 5-23 from his 10 overs as they were bowled out for 133.
Eranda Jayasinghe also did his bit with 3-26.
Hemel needed just 30 overs to see off the required runs. Skipper Tom Waterton led the way with an unbeaten 51 and wicket-keeper Ryan Wilson kept him company with an undefeated 38 as they put on a match-winning 74 for the fifth wicket.
The win puts Hemel II in second place in Division 3B and just three points behind leaders Potters Bar II.
Hemel III had little trouble disposing of hosts Old Finchleians II, who just managed to survive last term.
Apart from the odd batting blip, Andy Turbutt (54), Darryl Barnett (56 not out), Dave Jenkins (31) and Fredie Lippiatt (27) saw Hemel up to a healthy total of 245-7.
Dan Keene (2-16) and Sam Wheeler (1-13) saw off the hosts’ top three batters in seven overs and there was no way back for Old F’s.
Matt Petchell (3-31), John Peppett (2-49) and Darryl Barnett (2-29) were the pick of the Hemel bowlers as they moved up to third place in the table.
Hemel IV slipped to a tight home defeat to Hatfield Hyde II, losing by four wickets with just 15 balls to go.
Apart from skipper Mike Samuels’ 76 at the top of the order, Hyde put the squeeze on Hemel’s batters as they were held to a modest 187-6 on the usually high-scoring Nursery Ground.
Hemel did not make it easy for Hyde, with Dawood Iqbal running through the top order to return 9-3-40-4. But Ozzie Zaman (72) held firm as they sneaked over the line. Hemel are now in mid-table in Division 9A, but only four points adrift of second spot.
There was a thrilling finale at Heath Park on Sunday for Hemel’s game with Hertford in Division Two of the Lords Chess Valley League.
The one-wicket Hemel victory was secured off the last ball of the game.
Hertford won the toss and batted, proceeding along to 224-9 from their 45 overs. Billy May bowled his full 10 overs for 3-43 and Lewis Hodgins cleared up for 3-40.
In reply Hemel were struggling at 84-5 but opener Lewis Hodgins was still there. He found an ally in number seven May, as they put on 112 for the sixth wicket in rapid time.
Hemel were ahead of the run-rate and needing 26 off ten overs with three wickets to spare before disaster struck when May (36) was bowled and Lewis (112) caught.
The pressure mounted, with Hemel down to their last pair and with only 207 runs on the board.
But Charlie Hoskins (19 not out) and last-man Adam Locke (7 not out) were the heroes for the day as they snicked scores here and there to get their side over the line off the last ball of the match.
Hemel were due to play at Langleybury in first semi-final of the Heath Park Cup last night (Tuesday) as the Gazette was going to press.