Hitchin close in on Division One title after vital win at Leverstock Green
- Credit: KARYN HADDON
Hitchin took a giant leap towards promotion and the Division One title in the Herts Cricket League with a six-wicket win over Leverstock Green.
The two teams had been separated by 15 points before the first ball at The Green but with a full squad for the first time in weeks, Hitchin fielded and bowled superbly.
Opening with the usual bowling partnership of Shaftab Khalid and Sam Rippington, Leverstock got off to a slow start from which they never really recovered.
Rippington took 2-22 in a hostile opening spell while seven overs from Saad Waqas brought 1-5.
At halfway Leverstock were 54-3 and despite an injection of pace, they could only get to 188, a long way short of a par score on a flat wicket with short boundaries.
Hitchin’s batting effort got off to an excellent start with captain Sanjay Chadarana and Luke Day putting on 67, Day out for an excellent 32 and Chandarana going on to make a well constructed 46.
A solid partnership of 67 between Khalid (55*) and Elliott Beard (26*) saw Hitchin home and gives them a 55-point lead with three games to go.
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Ickleford have slipped to the bottom of the table after a 10-run defeat at home to St Margaretsbury.
Preston and Letchworth also fell to defeats in the Championship.
Knebworth Park pulled off a brilliant but shock win over previously unbeaten Division Two A leaders Redbourn.
They had to chase down the visitors' 230-9 and did so with three balls to spare.
Josh Roseberry's swashbuckling 46 not out from number seven, saw them home by three wickets after opening bat Matt Inman has earlier struck a well-crafted 70.
Redbourn had been racing clear at 95-1 but Archie Stephens orchestrated the comeback with 5-31.
The win lifts Knebworth off the bottom of the table and out of the bottom two.
Baldock's first team suffered a pivotal defeat against nearest rivals Redbourn for the Division Five B title.
They lost by seven wickets, Tim Dean claiming 2-31 after a disappointing batting show.
The seconds also lost but the fourths won against Hatfield Hyde with an unbeaten 50 from Craig Kelly.