Pride’s at stake

PUBLISHED: 11:33 31 August 2006 | UPDATED: 10:45 06 May 2010

Letchworth’s Richard Jerome

Letchworth’s Richard Jerome

ONLY local pride appears to be at stake now as Letchworth host Hitchin in the Saracens Herts League Division One this weekend. The two sides are virtually out of contention for promotion with two games to go, the penultimate one being Saturday s local der

ONLY local pride appears to be at stake now as Letchworth host Hitchin in the Saracens Herts League Division One this weekend.

The two sides are virtually out of contention for promotion with two games to go, the penultimate one being Saturday's local derby at Whitethorn Lane.

The curse of Wardown Park continued to haunt Letchworth's batting on Saturday as they crashed to an astonishing defeat which ended their promotion hopes.

It all started well when hosts Luton Town and Indians decided to bat on a rain-affected wicket which had surprisingly been left uncovered.

With Andy Newland keeping one end completely closed, Ed Morse blasted out the Luton top order, picking up three quick wickets.

Newland then weighed in with three of his own and when Richard Jerome took over from Morse, he quickly despatched the last four to leave Luton skipper Dalvi not out on 23 as his side subsided to 87 all out.

Jerome took 4-24, Morse 3-35 and a vintage Newland performance ended with 3-17 off 24 overs.

All looked set for Letchworth to grab 30 points and boost their promotion chances, but having totalled 59 and 53 on their last two visits to Wardown Park they should have known better.

Hostile seam bowling from Murtaza reduced them to 1-2, with skipper Colin Letford and Simon Elliott both out for nought.

Dave Albon had been sent in to open to try and score quick runs to reduce the target and he had reached 16 when he became Murtaza's third victim to an excellent slip catch.

From then on it became a procession as panic set in and a succession of poor shots, not helped by an avoidable run out, saw Letchworth slump to 49 all out off 22.1 overs.

Murtaza finished with 6-28 and Letchworth's usual nemesis, left-arm spinner Parsooth, took 3-6 off eight overs.

Letchworth were left to contemplate what might have been if prolific scorers Steve March and John Hilliard had been available.

But they still had a strong batting line up and it was a thoroughly dismal performance, though they did note with grim satisfaction that Hemel Hempstead only managed 27 all out on the same afternoon.

Hitchin's hopes were hit as they were rained off for the second week running without a ball being bowled at home to St Margaretsbury.

But, on Sunday, they reached the Becker Cup plate semi-final with a 136-run victory over Old Albanian.

Hitchin batted first and made 243 with Oliver Hammond making 81 off 55 balls and Jimmy Lewis 42.

Dave Moore, Danny Fair, Will Pugh and Mike Baker all took two wickets apiece as Old Albanian were all out for 107 in reply.

There was a controversial conclusion to Hitchin second team's visit to Old Albanian in Division Six, which ended in a draw.

With 10 overs to go, Hitchin needed 42 runs to win but the light had deteriorated rapidly and it was raining heavily.

Both teams stayed out for six more overs and by this point, Hitchin needed just 20 to win with four overs to go and three wickets in hand.

Yet even though both teams wanted to continue, the umpires brought the teams off and the game finished as a draw.

Hitchin had matched the league leaders after captain Devon Woolley had won the toss and elected to bowl first.

They took wickets at regular intervals, with Ian Goddard, Martin Bidgood, Jack Thorn, Tim Porter and Chris Slack all taking a wicket each.

Gavin Bidgood was introduced near the end of innings and he claimed two quick wickets as Old Albanian posted a competitive score of 163-7.

After tea, Hitchin reached 93-5 with the game in the balance.

Alex Stoner made 61 as Hitchin brought up their hundred with 15 overs to go and continued to push towards their target.

Just as things were getting interesting and with all results still possible, the heavens opened and the players were brought off.


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