Hemel Hempstead Town Cricket Club were finally able to get their pre-season going at the weekend with the arrival of some rare bright weather.
The club’s first and second teams had friendlies against their West Herts counterparts on Saturday, with both sides getting into the groove.
It finished even-stevens with one win each, but the players were all glad to dust a few cobwebs off.
The first team slipped to a 104-run defeat at Heath Park but there was a moment of joy for one Hemel player Adam Locke, who snaffled the wicket of a first-class cricketer, Jaahid Ali, who is West Herts’ overseas player this year.
Not just any old overseas player, but a first-class cricketer who scored a century for Pakistan against an England ‘A’ side when they last toured, including the likes of Mark Wood for England.
It took an athletic catch on the boundary by Lewis Hodgins to take Ali’s wicket while he was on 69 and it prevented the ball from going for six.
It was a good run out for the Hemel players, bowlers got into the groove but it was a pity about the batting with only the returning Hemish Ilangaratne (41) and skipper Nick Hodgins (20) making double figures.
The reverse of the first XI game at Park Avenue saw Hemel II come out on top by eight wickets.
Batting first, only the visitors’ Richard Mason (55) was able to break the 50-mark for West Herts II until bamboozled and snared by Alfie Bordoley’s leg spin.
There were two wickets each for Bordoley, Anjam Khan and Charlie Hoskins.
The early loss of Phil Smith in Hemel’s reply was then bolstered by Neil Morgan (57) and Tom Waterton (50), who drove Hemel forward with a partnership of 72.
Tom Waterton retired on 50 and Craig Weston(28*) and the returning Kevin West (33*) saw Hemel home with 10 overs spare.
The season starts in earnest in a fortnight’s time.