A tough Saturday for Hemel Hempstead Town saw only one of their four teams emerge as victors, but club stalwart Neil Morgan brightened the mood by reaching a milestone.
Morgan completed his 10,000th run for Hemel in his 20-year playing career across all sides and competitions as Hemel 2nds enjoyed a comfortable away win at bottom side Langleybury 2nds in Saracens Herts League Division 3B.
Not only was Morgan among the runs, but he also had three catches as Town ran through the hosts.
Hemel batted first and openers Morgan (43) and Ed Grayson (35) put on 89 for the first wicket. The runs kept coming and Eranda Jayasinghe (62 not out) ended up putting on an unbeaten 51 for the seventh wicket with Dave Jenkins (20 not out).
Martin Botha (4-32) and Suren Perera (3-22) were the pick of the Hemel bowlers.
A few post-match beers were sunk in celebration of Morgan’s achievement. It’s believed he has played in 419 games since starting for Hemel in 1998. He is due to play for the 1sts this Saturday to help cover for holiday absences.
Meanwhile, Hemel 1sts lost ground in their chase for Championship glory when they were dominated at home by leaders Hoddesdon.
It had the potential to be a big game for fourth-placed Hemel, with just 26 points separating the top four sides going into the game but the visitors proved to be too strong. That gap is now 54 points.
A below-strength Hemel batted first, losing Lewis Hodgins in the third over and they struggled from then on.
Jack Bailey top-scored with 38. Number seven Will Langley (22) batted for an hour to hold the tail together before Hemel fell for 165 all out.
South African overseas player Jayden Broodryk has been a nemesis of late and this time he hit an unbeaten 60 from 76 balls as Hoddesdon strolled to 169-1 in 33 overs.
Hemel 3rds, who had won their last five, went down to the mercurial Bushey in Division 6A on Saturday.
Andy Turbutt (50) top-scored for visitors Hemel, while Irfan Khalifa (32) helped at the end but holiday time had left the team a few players short in their total of 152-9.
Bushey had little trouble chasing the target, four wickets down in 24 overs.
Hemel 4ths came unstuck when hosting Langlebury 3rds as Graeme Roe ground his way to an undefeated 67 to set up a winning score for the visitors.
Matt Scears took 4-46 and Tony Linfoot 2-33 for Hemel.
The hosts were all out for 103 to lose by 82 runs. Wicket-keeper Phil Smith top-scored with 53.
l Last Saturday’s washout put Berko in action on both days this weekend as the club’s struggles continued with defeat in the league to Chorleywood and a loss in the Putman Cup to rivals Northchurch.
Saturday saw Berko post a below-par 195, which Chorleywood chased down easily to win by six wickets.
The day after Berko hit 190-7 in their 40 overs (50s for Mark Costin, Luke Frey, Dan Chrispin), but Northchurch reached the target three wickets down to lift the cup.
Berko visit St Margetsbury in the Herts Saracens League 2A this Saturday in desperate need of a win to stay afloat.
With five games left, it looks like a three-horse race to avoid the drop between Totteridge, Old Elizabethans and Berko.