New club record set as first XI close in on second-placed side

Cricket
Cricket

Hemel Town collected four wins out of four on Saturday – the first time in a while that it has recorded a clean sweep.

The first XI won on the road at Langleybury in the Saracens Herts Championship to move up to third place in the table and just one point adrift of second-placed side Ampthill.

Hemel captain Nick Hodgins brought himself on to bowl in the 29th over of Langleybury’s innings and with the third ball removed Will Oxley, caught by Brett Penny.

In the next over with his second bowl, he got rid of pesky run-machine Nahim Amin for 65. After three overs Hodgie had taken two wickets for the loss of just one run which demoralised the hosts.

The skipper ended up with 5-31 from 15.4 overs as Langleybury were all out for 195.

In the Hemel reply, a new club record was set by Brett Penny (66) and Lewis Hodgins (73 not out) as they put on 133 for the third wicket in 17 overs.

It was a 21st century third-wicket record partnership in league cricket for Hemel, beating the 131 hit by Neil Morgan (57) and Martin Wright (65) in 2003 at High Wycombe.

The overall Hemel record, set in the last century, was the 195 made in 1984 between Ian Potton (52) and Martin Wright (145) at Luton Town.

Hemel tapped off the required runs in 27 overs.

This Saturday they host mid-table Reed while Ampthill entertain fifth-placed Dunstable.

Having as good as thrown away the reverse fixture away in May, Hemel’s second XI made no mistake this time around when hosting Langleybury II on Saturday.

They secured a four-wicket victory with 12½ overs to spare. The side are now undefeated in the league during July with four victories, which has propelled them to fourth place in Division 3B.

Putting Langleybury in, Hemel’s bowlers took wickets when and where necessary as the visitors were all out for 175.

Will Hodgins continued his good run of form since being moved up from the third team by taking 3 - 31, Sri Lankan Eranda Jayasinghe took 3-35, and Rory Fraser grabbed 2-16.

There were also wickets for Charlie Hoskins and Anjam Khan.

Craig Weston (69) led the Hemel reply and rapid mid-teen scores from the other batsmen saw Hemel home quite comfortably.

This Saturday they host bottom-but-one side Wheathampstead.

Hemel’s third XI beat Bovingdon away to keep up the pressure on the leaders in Division 6B.

In the earlier fixture at the end of May Bovingdon bowled Hemel out for a moderate score but were then removed even more cheaply as Hemel earned the win.

A similar scenario happened this time around at Bovingdon Green.

The hosts put Hemel in and bowled them out for 172.

A 30 from Ryan Bell and 29 from Ryan Wilson were the only double-figure scores and at 117-8 Hemel were in a bit of trouble.

But a 32 from Adam Moulster at number nine and a 17 from Ed Grayson at number 10 put on 50 for the ninth wicket as Hemel were able to get up to 172 all out.

Bovo got closer this time, but were eventually bowled out for 132 as the experienced bowling of Matt Petchell (5-13 from 10 overs) and Adam Moulster (1-24 from 10) drove the Hemel bowlers to victory.

Hemel remain in second place in the table, five points behind pace-setters Abbots Langley II with the last game of the season being between those two sides in a potential winner-takes-all denouement.

There was another crunching home victory for Hemel IV as they took advantage of the Heath Park Nursery Ground pitch to amass a large score when batting first against Herpenden V.

This time around it was Will Stokes (79) and Darryl Barnett (50) who scored the main runs as Hemel made 281-5 from their 50 overs.

A 38 from Jim Langley and 32 from Kaushika Ruwangalia seemed almost paltry in comparison.

Hemel’s bowlers then got to work quickly to bowl Harpenden out for just 72 in 22 overs.

There were a couple of wickets each for Dil Khan (2-15), Nic Benson (2-17) and Vinnie Liddar (also 2-17).

The triumph saw Hemel move up to fourth place in the Division 9B standings.