Stevenage's Nas is in fine form

Stevenage were back firing on all cylinders at West Herts after a couple of weeks with the top order batting stalling. Batting first, Gary Brown and Tanweer Sikandar got Stevenage off on the right track by posting a 52-run opening partnership inside 10 ov

Stevenage were back firing on all cylinders at West Herts after a couple of weeks with the top order batting stalling.

Batting first, Gary Brown and Tanweer Sikandar got Stevenage off on the right track by posting a 52-run opening partnership inside 10 overs.

Sikandar was unforgiving on Sanders' bowling hitting it disdainfully all around the ground, while Brown took the brunt of a good opening spell from former Leicestershire seamer Clark.

The pair complemented each other well and it was a shame for Brown when he edged one from Clark to Parlane behind the stumps on 14.

Sikandar accelerated to a fine half century, now in company with Ashley Bayes.

The first of three wickets to Smith's off-spin saw the end of Sikandar for 51 and his second wicket accounted for Bayes who made a promising 19, punctuated by a number of classical straight drives.

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At 98-3, although the run rate was healthy, the loss of three wickets was of some concern.

This concern was not fully eased by a short but sweet 25-run stand between Syed Ali Kazmi and Nas Ahmed, but it was followed by two more meaningful and consecutive half-century stands that put Stevenage fully in control.

The first stand was between Ahmed and Navin Seneviratne and totalled 68, with Seneviratne building on his excellent knock in the previous week with an equally impressive 37.

The other form batsman in the Stevenage middle order, Albert Sodhi, replaced Seneviratne and he and Ahmed shared the largest stand of the match at 69.

Sodhi contributed 23 and batted with intelligence which enabled Ahmed to put his foot down and cruise to his century.

At 260-6 when Sodhi was caught, five overs were left and Stevenage's target was the extra bonus point for reaching 300.

Scott Davies put on 20 with Ahmed, but both he and eventually Ahmed, who made a chanceless 112, were bowled by Sanders aiming for the 300 mark.

With two overs left, Azhar Ali joined David Carr with 283 on the board and they achieved the team's goal, Ali with a big six and a single and Carr cracking 11 runs from five balls faced to end on 301-8.

Despite needing 302 to win, West Herts showed no apparent concern about the total and approached the chase with early bravado in the form of New Zealander Neal Parlane and Clark, despite losing Fan caught behind by Carr off Sikandar.

However, Parlane was beaten through the air by Amit Dattani, who excelled again, and it was Dattani who, helped out by a spectacular diving catch by Sikandar at mid-wicket, shifted Clark (14).

With the top three now back in the pavilion, Dattani pulled off a stunning one-handed caught and bowled, cleaned up poor Chaudhury (17) and had Hodges (28) well caught by Kazmi. This left West Herts in the parlous state of 97-6.

Azhar Ali chipped in shortly afterwards picking up a leg before, but with Stevenage flying through their overs and with fielders swamping the batsmen, West Herts finally showed some resistance via Gurney (19no) and Jones (23).

With time running out Stevenage's frustrations grew and despite all sorts of bowling changes, including a short burst from Davies which saw a bouncer smash into Gurney's helmet, the eighth wicket was not forthcoming.

Only in the last over, when Jones aimed an attacking shot at Ali was the breakthrough made, Brown holding on at mid-on.

This left two balls to survive with two wickets in hand, the first went by without incident but the final ball of the day saw an edge dropped at slip.

This left West Herts a distant 138 runs short of their target and Stevenage a frustrating two wickets from victory, but claiming a handy 16 bonus points, which pushes them above Saturday's opponents in the league.

* Simon Roberts with 29 got the second XI to three figures on a flat wicket. But the season's gradually disappearing for the Stevenage side as they lost by seven wickets to their Harpenden counterparts.

The thirds were staring defeat in the face against Bushey seconds at 68-7. However, fifty from veteran Steve Cooley and a cool head from youngsters Charlie Court (20) and Dan Kilbey (17) got them to 168 with two wickets and 10 overs to spare.

Craig Whitworth (70), Terry Ashby (50) and Dylan Slater (36) were the foundations for the fourth team's 242-5.

Despite three wickets from Phil Ashby, the home side had to settle for a draw as dropped catches let visitors Old Owens thirds off the hook.

The fifths had an enthralling match against Parkfield and Headstone thirds, only losing by one wicket despite an excellent effort by skipper Richard Sullivan.

And the sixths recorded their second win of the season thanks to their youngsters.

Sixteen-year-old Ian Welch (31), 14-year-old Jack Nevill (37) and 15-year-olds Asad Khan (4-26) and Ryan Slater (3-22) forged a win against Preston thirds.

n Sunday's fixtures were cancelled due to the rain.

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