Opening day wins for local clubs

Letchworth GC and Hitchin made a winning start to their Saracens Herts League Division One campaigns. There was a very comfortable win for Letchworth GC at Whitethorn Lane on Saturday against Dunstable. New Aussie off-spinner Dominic Marsh was the star of

Letchworth GC and Hitchin made a winning start to their Saracens Herts League Division One campaigns.

There was a very comfortable win for Letchworth GC at Whitethorn Lane on Saturday against Dunstable.

New Aussie off-spinner Dominic Marsh was the star of a solid all-round performance after the visitors had won the toss and elected to bat on a well-grassed wicket.

They made steady progress to 77-2 before Marsh took control with a fine spell of 6-22 as Dunstable collapsed to 123 all out, with Andy Newland giving good support with 2-26.

Tom Cranston got the home side off to a good start with a quickfire 22 as his opening partner John Hilliard played an anchor role. Simon Elliott made 19 and although Hilliard fell for 36 with six runs required, by then Seb Franke-Mattheke had taken control as he smashed 32no off 20 balls to take the Garden City to a seven-wicket victory with nearly 20 overs to spare.

The second XI came close to completing a double at Dunstable where they reached 219-9 off their 53 overs.

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They were led by an excellent 62 from 15-year-old Tom Simmons who received good support from Graham Bishton (27), Dominic Chatfiield (24) and Richard Gillham (23) before Tom Butler smashed 31no at the end.

Dunstable chased the total against a depleted seam attack, but they faltered when spin was introduced and Bishton (5-39) and Chatfield (3-60) nearly grabbed the full 30 points for Letchworth GC.

The thirds featured in a nail-biting finish at Fairfield against neighbours Hitchin seconds who scraped home by two wickets in the final over.

Letchworth GC had posted 202-9 with Josh Furness making 62 and skipper Jerry Dovey 30no. There were three wickets for Matt Bridge in an otherwise lacklustre Garden City bowling performance.

The fourth XI had a poor day at Northampton Exiles and returned pointless, but in contrast the fifth XI went to Old Owens and returned with a resounding 10-wicket victory. After bowling the home side out for 133, with all the bowlers chipping in, captain Jerry Gillham (68no) and vice-captain Michael Turner (56no) comfortably knocked off the runs.

Hitchin played newly-promoted Reed at Lucas Lane and won by four wickets.

The visitors won the toss on a warm afternoon and elected to bat first.

They soon found themselves in trouble against the new-ball attack of Dave Moore and Indian overseas player Atul Ranade, as they took a wicket apiece with the score at 7-2.

This brought Reed's Aussie overseas player Joe Curk to the crease and he immediately enjoyed the good batting wicket by scoring at six an over. He took the score up to 87-3 at the first drinks break.

Simon Bayston and Ian Bowyer were then introduced into the attack to take the pace off the ball.

This worked as Curk's scoring rate slowed down and Bowyer dismissed the other batsman Fulk leg before.

After the second drinks break with the score on 140, Ranade was brought back into the attack and he claimed the prize wicket of Curk for 87, well caught by Simon Mayes at mid on.

The loss of Curk and Bayston's tight bowling really slowed Reed's scoring rate down and they were bowled out off the final ball of their innings for 189.

Moore and Ranade took three wickets each and Bayston 2-31 off 19 overs.

In reply, the home side scored quickly but lost wickets and found themselves after 10 overs on 42-4.

But then a partnership of 79 between Will Pugh and Ranade (38) put Hitchin back on top.

Oliver Hammond then came to the crease and put on 55 for the sixth wicket with Pugh before being caught for 29.

Danny Fair then came in and hit three consecutive boundaries and the game was over with 10 overs to spare. Pugh finished on an excellent unbeaten 57.

The seconds beat Letchworth thirds, while the thirds beat North Mymms fourths by five wickets thanks to fifties from Alex Stoner and Mick Lee.

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