HITCHIN S match with Hoddesdon was one of only 14 completed games in the entire Saracens Herts Cricket League – and it ended in a seven-wicket defeat for the Lucas Lane side. Playing in persistent rain at Hoddesdon s Lowfield ground, Hitchin posted a scor

HITCHIN'S match with Hoddesdon was one of only 14 completed games in the entire Saracens Herts Cricket League - and it ended in a seven-wicket defeat for the Lucas Lane side.

Playing in persistent rain at Hoddesdon's Lowfield ground, Hitchin posted a score of 216-5 in 37 overs including 77 from debutant James Kettleborough, before a century from Hoddesdon's Rory Coutts guided the home team to only their second win of the season.

Given the damp conditions, many would have chosen to field first on winning the toss.

But Hitchin captain Craig Millwood decided to bat first and it proved to be a good decision as the opening pairing of Millwood and Kettleborough put on 59 for the first wicket.

Millwood fell leg before for 21, but Kettleborough was supported by Jimmy Lewis who also made 21 as Hitchin reached 98-2.

Despite losing Simon Mayes cheaply, Danny Fair then came to the crease, and decided to add some Twenty/20 flair to the proceedings by clubbing 60 off just 37 balls, in a knock that included 10 fours and two sixes.

He and Kettleborough added 89 for the fourth wicket before the opener fell leg before for 77 and Fair followed soon after as Hitchin passed the 200 mark.

After tea, Hitchin found things tough going but picked up wickets at regular intervals, leaving Hoddesdon on 101-3.

But with the game having a reduced number of overs, the home team needed to play some shots, and Coutts obliged, reaching an unbeaten 105 from only 85 balls, with Jaime Curtis also making a quick 50no as the pair saw Hoddesdon home.

Two wickets for Dave Moore and one for Ashley Hammond gave Hitchin a total of 13 points from the fixture, and they remain fifth ahead of Saturday's match at Berkhamsted.

Richard Middleditch scored 109 in Hitchin's Chess Valley Sunday League game with Hertford, but it was not enough to gain a victory as the visitors won by nine wickets.

Despite being dropped twice early on, Middleditch's ton was the backbone of Hitchin's total of 194-8.

The opener was ably supported by Elliot Stratton, whose brisk 31no included two massive sixes.

Hertford's top three made light work of the score. The opening pair put on 80 for the first wicket, before Pete Middleditch got one through opener Hemantha Abeywickrema defences to give Hitchin their only wicket.

After that it was one-way traffic, and the second wicket pairing of Will Gilbert (89no) and Jack Anderson (57no) bludgeoned Hitchin's bowlers to all parts, finishing the run chase in just 24.5 overs.

* Saturday's wet weather was a huge disappointment with not a ball bowled in the top of the table clash at Whitethorn Lane between Letchworth GC and Knebworth Park.

The only Letchworth side to play were the fifths in fact who visited Ware seconds on the east side of the county where the weather was slightly less unpleasant.

However, one has to wonder at the motives of the home side who put Letchworth in and then fielded and batted in the rain to come away with precisely no points!

Mark Flint (86), Harry Aitkenhead (40no) and Tom Morse (33) took Letchworth to 10 batting points as they declared on 200-3 before restricting the home side to 128-5 in reply.

Fortunately, there was more excitement on Sunday when the Garden City entertained Chesham in the Chess Valley League. The last time these two met it prompted a flurry of correspondence in The Comet after a strong Letchworth side had plundered over 400 for no wicket against what was basically a colts side.

Chesham were obviously in no mood for a repeat and made 262 off their 45 overs, with opener Emery making 130 and Arun Reed taking 3-52.

Letchworth had a strong batting line-up and were confident of chasing down the target, but things did not go according to plan and they were soon four wickets down. This included Dave Albon for a duck - in the last game he scored over 300!

However a good stand between Seb Franke-Matthecka and skipper Dom Chatfield put the home side back in contention but after Chatfield had gone for 36, Franke-Matthecka had to take on the visitors single handed.

When he was finally caught and bowled for 118, only Sam Booth (21) was able to continue the fight and Letchworth were all out in a flurry of run outs for 245 with five balls to go.

* Preston thirds were one of the few teams in the area to challenge the elements at Welwyn Garden City fifths and grabbed 30 valuable points.

The home side posted 181-7 in a restricted 43 overs, Graham Byford (2-35) and Nigel Biggs (2-33) the most successful Preston bowlers.

Dave Saunders hit a lusty 45 with Nigel Biggs playing anchorman on 33no, but the real hero was Jack Byford with 67 who had also kept wicket and bowled earlier on.

Preston reached the total with eight wickets and 10 overs to spare.

* Baldock thirds lost to their Wormley counterparts.

Wormley totalled 165-5 off 35 overs before Baldock were 117 all out off 37 overs. Under-14 player Sam Bonnet scored 35no and bowled an accurate spell of leg spin in his first game.