Hitchin's promotion hopes move much closer after vital Watford win
PUBLISHED: 08:57 31 July 2018 | UPDATED: 09:02 31 July 2018
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Shaftab Khalid played a captain’s role as he fired Hitchin to the verge of promotion.
The skipper hit a fantastic 142 not out as they beat Watford Town by nine runs to move 52 points clear of the third-place team.
And the result keeps them two adrift of Herts Cricket League Division Two A leaders Preston.
Khalid’s knock saw him carry his bat, bashing 15 fours and three sixes along the way.
And his brilliant day continued when the visitors to Lucas Lane needed 22 off the final two overs.
But the skipper conceded just four runs in the penultimate over to see Hitchin over the line.
Hitchin’s 288-5 was an imposing total from their 50 overs.
Khalid and fellow opener Sanjay Chandarana (42) gave them the perfect platform, putting on 104 for the first wicket in seamless fashion.
The captain also received good double figure support from Saed Waqas, Kashif Nizami and Gurdeep Jandu to take the score to 204 with seven overs left.
But it was Danny Fair who produced the late fireworks, smashing six fours and two sixes as he reached 41 from just 26 balls.
The Watford openers started equally well in reply, adding 90 before Fair got the breakthrough.
From that point Hitchin kept control but without making any breakthroughs and a mid-innings rain break made Watford’s task easier, taking 40 runs off the target for the loss of just seven overs.
It got a bit too close for Hitchin but with the help of Haseeb Bajwa’s 2-45, they got through.
The seconds again grabbed victory from what looked like the jaws of defeat against Old Albanians.
Chris Maylin hit 91 in perhaps his most accomplished innings of the season and in partnership with Tim Porter (64 not out) they started to dominate the bowling.
Ashley Hammond’s amazing 34, made from just 10 balls, got Hitchin to an unimaginable 255-4.
But despite an excellent opening burst from Finn Norrington, Albanian were 180-1 and needing just 76 more from 18 overs.
However, as has been the way all year the Hitchin youngsters didn’t give up.
A superb catch by U15 wicket-keeper Will Guest off the bowling of brother Ben opened the door and from there they never let up.
Another U15, spinner Leighton Gibbs, took 3-37 with some spectacular boundary catches from Ben Guest and Harry Lanyon, and the experience of Hammond and Ian Goddard carried them to a six-run victory.
The third team were awarded the win in Division Nine A as Reed 3rds conceded their match.
The fourth team were involved in a breathtaking tie against St Margaretsbury.
Both teams scored with 43 from Chris Gwinnett and three wickets for Kian Postlethwaite the shining lights for Hitchin.
But there was no doubt about the weekend’s highlight for the club though.
It came in the Sunday team’s 50-run win over Breachwood Green and was a maiden adult century for Will Guest who scored a brilliant 113 not out.