Struggles continue for Letchworth and Preston as defeats keep the relegation pressure on
- Credit: DANNY LOO
The likelihood of at least one of Preston and Letchworth Garden City being relegated from the Herts Cricket League Championship continues to grow after defeats for each side.
Letchworth sit at the foot of the table after a 98-run loss at second-place Old Owens while Preston are points above them after losing by 35 runs to Hemel Hempstead Town in third.
Preston did stretch that gap with four extra bonus points and they also closed to within two points of Shenley Village above them who lost to Dunstable.
Preston's four bowlers restricted Hemel to 213, Max Anderson and Peter Murrell both snaring three wickets each while the remaining four were shared equally between Callum Henderson and Casey Walker.
Only Brett Penny had any real joy against them with Hemel's opener making a fine 115 from 138 balls before being run out.
Jake George (37) and James Stevens (61) gave Preston a good start but once George Biggs (28) was out, wickets tumbled all too quickly and the end came in the 54th over.
Letchworth's defeat too came swiftly. They had put Old Owens into bat and the home side made 209-8 in 60 overs, Stephen Williams with 111 while Liam Bishton took 3-38 with a pair of wickets each for Harry Aitkenhead and George Crouch.
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However, in reply only a late flurry from Stephen Hughes (26) and Richard Stewart (25) helped Letchworth into three figures as they made 111.
Steve Gregory's Datchworth meanwhile bagged their fifth victory in a row in Division Three A, this one a convincing success over the visiting Luton Town & Indians.
Datch restricted Luton to 152 from 47 overs, Tom Bennett the pick of the bowlers with four wickets and in reply, an unbeaten 78 from Luke Bennett blew Luton away, the score his third 50 in five games.
Skipper Gregory, Tom Bennett and Spencer Bayford provided solid support too as Datchworth won by seven wickets in quick fashion.
Baldock lost at Mill Hill Village in Division Five B by 48 runs but still sit high up the table in second, just three points behind leaders Redbourn.
They had dispatched the home side for 136, Adam Hewitt again taking four wickets, but the fall of the first wicket in their reply set off a major collapse and in no time they had hit 60-9.
A belligerent last wicket stand of 27 between Alistair Jones (19*) and Shaun Baines (14) restored some pride as they got to 88. Dan Plumb was the top scorer on 20.
The seconds did beat MHV though by six runs in a tense finish.
They made 138-7, Kelvin Shiner scoring 49 and Phil Scott 41*, but it looked as if Mill Hill would be victorious when they reached 130-7.
Three wickets in an over though snatched the vital success.
The thirds too won for the first time against Letchworth, Kieran Lambert hitting 70 and ably assisted by 14-year-old son AJ, but the fourths lost to Hitchin by 66 runs, usual keeper Matt Williams taking 4-28 and Callum Heath scoring 46.