Hitchin back on top after another late show beats Sawbridgeworth
- Credit: KARYN HADDON
Hitchin moved back to the top of the Herts Cricket League Division One table with another narrow victory - this one over Sawbridgeworth.
They had headed south buoyed by their last-ball success over Leverstock Green seven days earlier and after being asked to bat in less than ideal conditions, they made 183.
Most of their batting line-up made starts but nobody could form a really big partnership.
The only batsman who seemed comfortable in the conditions was Saad Waqas whose 61 formed the backbone of the innings.
Like Hitchin, the home side started promisingly with 24 being put on for the first wicket.
A run out ended that stand and from there Hitchin made a good stab at finishing the contest early.
The first five wickets fell with 51 on the board but it was at that point that Michael Burrell strode to the crease.
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He suddenly turned a probable Hitchin victory into anybody's game with 56 from 82 balls, a knock that included eight fours.
He encouraged others to add a good stash of runs and when Luke Day had Matt Billings trapped leg before, there was 20 needed with two wickets remaining and four overs.
But Musa Ilyas proved the Hitchin hero as he added two more wickets to his earlier two, finishing on 4-26, as Sawbridgeworth were all out 13 runs short.
Murrell was the last man out, Ilyas's fourth victim, caught by Luke Day who, along with Waqas, helped himself to two wickets.
Ickleford also won to climb up to seventh in the division, beating Harpenden by seven wickets.
Captain Matt Baxter returned for his first game of the season after a serious shoulder injury and hit 19 not out to guide his team home.
Jak Phillips (25) and Eswar Krishnamurthy (33) had earlier scored 52 for the second-wicket while there was 4-14 in nine overs for Luke Marsden and 2-15 from Duncan Jenner.
It proved to be an excellent weekend for Ickleford as the seconds and fourths both won too.
The seconds beat St Albans to record their first win of the year. Fakhar Islam took four wickets and 14-year-old Leo Mason and Scott Crouch got two each while Tom Willoughby's 52 was beaten by 70 not out from Charlie Jupp to the top score.
The fourths also won for the first time, beating Datchworth by two wickets with Mark Nunnely scoring 40.
Baldock's winning streak in Division Five B came to an end at Boxmoor with a 35-run loss.
The bowlers did well to limit the hosts to 120, Adam Hewitt taking 3-23, but an accurate attack by the new second-placed side, one spot above Baldock, meant the visitors were all out for 85.
The seconds lost to Old Minchendinians by 116 runs, the returning Ron Pocock scoring 22, and the third team were cancelled due to the weather.
The fourths won again though, beating Wheathampstead by six wickets with 3-14 from Dave Brett and 32 for Rich Lawson.
And 17-year-old Cameron Dhar took 4-31 on his debut as the Sunday side lost to Rosslyn by 27 runs.