Swings and roundabouts for Hitchin and Ickleford as both record clean sweeps
- Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO
It was back to earth with a bump for Ickleford as they fell to a five-wicket loss at home to neighbours Hitchin.
Last week all three teams picked up victories. This week all three lost and the writing was on the wall early in the clash of the first teams.
Hitchin, who themselves would go on to pick up a clean sweep of wins this week, started with real fire in their bellies and having lost the toss and been asked to field, Shaftab Khalid and Rishi Chandarana removed both openers inside the first two overs.
Matt Baxter (32) and Stephen Money started the recovery with a quick partnership of 45 and the latter then added 76 for the fourth wicket alongside Jack Williams.
That was broken when Williams was dismissed for 34 by Hitchin’s U17 left-arm spinner Leighton Gibbs and when Money was out for 56, bowled by Luke Day, the end was nigh.
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The hosts managed to get to 183 with Khalid wrapping up the tail to take 3-43 while Day was on 2-25.
Saad Waqas got the other wicket with a miserly 1-7 from six overs.
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Any hopes Ickleford had of making an early breakthrough were soon forgotten as Hitchin’s response was perfectly measured and well paced.
All contributed to the chase with Day (20) and skipper Chandarana (29) nullifying the initial pressure and Khalid (25) and Waqas (21) continuing the momentum.
The stand-out batsman though was Kashif Nizami who scored a fluent 53 to take Hitchin over the finishing line.
Ickleford youngster Thomas Brown was the one bowler to give the Hitchin batsmen any discomfort and he was rewarded by figures of 3-32.
Sammy Fookes did pick up 2-24 with two late wickets and wicketkeeper Ben Whelan claimed three catches and conceded only one bye in a tidy performance.
Hitchin’s second team cruised to a nine-wicket win over Hatfield Hyde, Dave Moore claiming a fantastic 4-6 in 6.4 overs, and there were wins too for the third and fourth teams.
That fourth team win was by 26 runs over Ickleford’s third side, Chris White hitting 85 for Hitchin, and Ickleford’s second lost heavily to Radlett.
Sunday also saw a loss for Ickleford but there was a magnificent 176 from George Crouch, his maiden century.