Hitchin win, Letchworth GC go so close

Hitchin stayed calm to beat Berkhamsted at Lucas Lane by two wickets in the Saracens Herts League Division One. The visitors won the toss and elected to bat first and got off to a slow start with the new ball pair of Dave Moore and Steven Flint bowling we

Hitchin stayed calm to beat Berkhamsted at Lucas Lane by two wickets in the Saracens Herts League Division One.

The visitors won the toss and elected to bat first and got off to a slow start with the new ball pair of Dave Moore and Steven Flint bowling well.

Moore took two wickets from the Barleycorn End with the score at 22. The Berko middle order got in and started to score quickly and at the first drinks break were handily placed on 75-2 off 17 overs.

However, Ian Bowyer was introduced into the attack and with the first ball after the drinks break struck with a low full toss that was caught at mid on by Craig Millwood.


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The away team kept scoring regular boundaries and looked like posting a big score and at the second drinks break were 147-4 off 34 overs. Hitchin then dried up the Berko boundary hitting by fielding and bowling really well and taking wickets at regular intervals.

Within 15 overs after drinks they were all out for 198 with Moore taking 4-67 from 20 overs and Bowyer 5-54 from 16 overs.

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In reply, Hitchin got off to a good start with Millwood and Atul Ranade putting on 52 for the first wicket before both fell quickly for 20 and 30 respectively.

A partnership between Jimmy Lewis and Will Pugh then set up the victory as they took the score up to 155 before Pugh was bowled for 38. Lewis and Oliver Hammond then batted together and with 17 needed for victory, Lewis was caught at mid on for a well-made 61.

Hammond was caught and bowled for 19 with two needed and memories of the previous week's collapse came to the fore.

However, Danny Fair hit the winning runs as Hitchin took the 30 points for victory.

On Sunday, Hitchin played Bessborough in their first Chess Valley League game of the season.

Bessborough were 147 all out with Will McKeran and Craig Millwood taking three wickets apiece. Hitchin knocked off the runs with 20 overs to spare thanks to Atul Ranade's 80 and 60no from Ian Bowyer.

* Despite having six overs at the last pair, Letchworth GC could not force a win against Totteridge Millhillians at Whitethorn Lane but the 19 points they earned kept them top of the table.

Although disappointed not to claim all 30 points, it was still a fine team effort against one of the stronger sides in the league.

The visitors won the toss and invited the Garden City to bat on a wicket still damp from midweek rain.

Tom Cranston and 15-year-old debutant Tom Simmons looked in no trouble early on, but then Simmons was run out by a direct hit from the boundary and in quick succession, Seb Franke-Matthecka was bowled by left-arm seamer Sutaria and three balls later Simon Elliott suffered the same fate to leave the home side in trouble at 36-3.

Out-of-form skipper Steve March then joined Cranston and with March making a welcome return to form they added 73 before March was caught for 30.

Cranston was eventually caught behind off Sutaria for a good 77 and with Sam Booth becoming Sutaria's fourth victim, Letchworth were again struggling at 133-6.

Dave Albon struck some good shots in his 23 before being caught at cover, but then a good stand between Dominic Marsh and Richard Barclay took the score to 184-8 before Marsh was caught and bowled for 16.

Barclay went on to make 35 and take Letchworth GC to full bonus points as they closed on 208-9. Sutaria finished with 4-39.

The visitors took too long bowling their overs and were docked two overs in their reply and also lost a point in taking a wicket after the deadline.

Their opening pair of Jones and Gloucestershire and Ireland opener Will Porterfield lost no time in racing to 38-0 before Barclay trapped Jones leg before and soon afterwards Andy Newland bowled skipper O'Brien.

Letchworth claimed the prize wicket of Porterfield (33), whose fiercely struck straight drive was brilliantly caught by bowler Marsh.

After this, Newland and Marsh steadily worked their way through the visitors' middle order before Franke-Matthecka was brought back to try and grab the last two wickets.

He succeeded in removing the number 10, well caught in the gully by Barclay, but the last wicket pair proved too stubborn, resisting everything thrown at them for over six overs as Totteridge Millhillians hung on at 137-9. Newland finished his best spell of the season with 5-42 and Marsh 2-32.

The seconds, thirds and fourths had a bad weekend, but the fifth XI won again to maintain their unbeaten record.

The second XI visited Broxbourne where their attack was destroyed as the home side reached 239-2. Letchworth were never in the hunt but they hung on at 168-9, with contributions from Rob Cornell (52no), Richard Walsh (40), Richard Gillham (30) and Dom Chatfield (23).

The thirds were just down the road at St Margaretsbury and they were soundly beaten, being bowled out for 83 with only Jay Simon (29) looking comfortable and the home side had little difficulty in winning by six wickets.

The fourth XI made a competitive 208-6 at Fairfield Park with Scott Williams hitting 65 and skipper Andy Catherell 50, but Broxbourne made light work of the target, winning by six wickets.

The fifths had a better day at Flamstead with skipper Jeremy Gillham (64), Phil McEvitt (61) and Chris Hughes (51) all making half-centuries as Letchworth made 197-9 before bowling the home side out for 156 with James Goodwin-Davies taking 3-25 and Joe Hartley 3-21.

The Sunday first XI entertained Preston in their first Chess Valley League game of the season and with both sides fielding strong batting but weak bowling, it provided a feast of runs.

Preston reached 244-3 off their 45 overs with former player Adam Shelley hitting 111 against his old club. But it was never enough as Seb Franke-Matthecka smashed 131no, with good support from Simon Elliott (65) and Dave Albon (38no), as Letchworth won by eight wickets with 15 overs to spare.

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