New Australian signing Jack Bailey was a bright spot for Hemel Hempstead Town but the opening Saturday of the season saw losses for both the first and second teams.
Overseas young player Bailey looked sharp as a batter in the 1st XI’s Championship curtain-raiser on Saturday at home to newly-promoted Shenley, but the hosts went down to a one-wicket loss.
A winter in Australia for Lewis Hodgins, where he played with Bailey, seemed to have paid dividends as he top scored with 81 (nine fours, four sixes) for Hemel.
Bailey added 55 ( six fours, one six), but they were the only double-figure scorers, except Hem Ilangaratne who managed 10 opening with Hodgins.
Hemel were out for 179 in only 45 of their 50 overs, which proved crucial later on.
Shenley’s New Zealand overseas player Dick Turpie took 5-35 on his first outing and got Hodgins and Bailey caught behind with seamers.
Shenley had 50 overs to get their runs and took their time when they could. The game went into the 49th over as Shenley just got over the line with nine wickets down.
Shidhu Kanade took 3-26, Brett Penny 2-27 and Bailey 2-44.
The 2nd XI visited another promoted side, Chipperfield Clarendon, in Division 3B and also lost. Hemel were unable to chase down the 208-8 the hosts posted in their 50 overs, managing just 162 in reply.
Anjam Khan took 2-33, Eranda Jayasinghe 2-37 and Will Hodgins 2-48 for Hemel.
Eranda Jayasinghe led the scoring with 51, but the best after that were Ryan Wilson (24), Tom Waterton (22) and Suren Perera (21), as Hemel went down by 46 runs.
It was a different scenario for Hemel’s 3rds, who were the promoted side from last term, and beat Cockfosters 2nds at their Chalk Farm ground.
Hemel skipper Graham Clark (59) and Bryan Davies (100) put on 165 for the first wicket, as Davies notched his first league ton for the club. Jim Langley (31 not out) added quick runs late on as Hemel set 237-5 for a defendable total.
Hemel’s bowlers dismissed Cockfosters for just 124 in 42 overs. Davies led the way again with 2-14, followed by 2-22 from Dave Jenkins and 2-26 from John Peppett. Mark Beard, returning after a long absence, opened the bowling and took 1-13 from eight overs.
Old Minchendenians, who were promoted with Hemel’s 4ths last term and had beaten them home and away, were the visitors on Saturday. Hemel were able to get their revenge in the Division 9A opener.
Hemel lost early wickets before skipper Mike Samuels (50) and Darryl Barnett (68) hit a 76-run fifth-wicket partnership. A 20 from Sam Wheeler and 20 not out from Vinnie Liddar saw Hemel reach 211-9 from their 45 overs.
In reply, Old M’s made it to 164-5 but lost their last five wickets for 34 runs to give Hemel a 13-run victory.
Wheeler was the pick of the bowlers with 5-32, while Nic Benson took 3-28 and Matt Scears 2-24.
The Sunday 1st XI secured their first Lords Chess Valley Division Two win after promotion last season when beating Ealing Hanwellians away.
Will Hodgins snaffled up 5-30, while Bailey (54) hit his second 50 of the weekend.
Batting first in the 45-over game, Hemel only faced 38 overs as star bowler Satinderjit Singh snapped up 5-8 in just six overs as Hemel were all out for 153.
In the reply the visitors must have thought they had the game wrapped up after Ealing slipped to 54-9.
But the hosts’ last pairing of Raheel (51) and Singh (36 not out) slogged their way to a partnership of 76 for the last wicket and Hemel nerves were fraying.
However, skipper Lewis Hodgins stepped up and in five balls had Raheel caught by his brother Will to get Ealing out for 130 as Hemel won by 23 runs to take four points.