WGC Cricket Club march on with fifth consecutive win

Welwyn Garden City's Owais Shah.

Welwyn Garden City's Owais Shah. - Credit: KARYN HADDON

Welwyn continued their winning run with a fifth consecutive victory, beating Reed by four wickets at Digswell Park on Saturday, in their Saracens Herts Premier League game, to remain top of the division at the halfway point of the season.

With their nearest rivals Potters Bar and Radlett also both winning, they remain two points and 12 points ahead respectively, in what is going to once again be a close race for this year's championship.

After heavy rain the night before, and an overcast morning, stand-in skipper Owais Shah, deputising for the absent Dan Blacktopp who was attending the birth of his daughter, had no hesitation in asking the opposition to bat first, with Welwyn looking to again chase a total.

Having started with a fiery, accurate spell against Harpenden, Conor Emerton did the same again this week.

He removed both Wharton openers, Richard to a fast delivery that nipped back to have him LBW for 11, and Edward to a Andrew Nolan diving catch at deep coverpoint for 18, and Reed were 33-2 after six overs.

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Six overs later, Emerton picked up his third wicket, when Robert Lankester was given out caught by Matthew Hill at first slip for 14. After conferring, the umpires agreed that it was not a bump ball, but had been a straight forward catch.

Max Sanderson’s 31 ball stay for 6 ended when Andrew Nolan took another good catch to give Tom Whitton his customary deserved wicket and leave Reed 61-4.

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Skipper Tom Greaves and Jack Caine then put on a 40 run partnership, to see Reed to the lunch break without further loss.

If Reed thought they were going to kick on after the lunch break, they were sadly mistaken.

Jack Caine (15) was run out by Nolan/Champion going for a suicidal run, and Greaves (34) was deceived by Simon Bridgewater into giving him a return catch, and Reed had lost both wickets without a run being added.

Mo Rizvi then tempted Sunil Patel into giving Whitton a catch, and Bridgewater got his second wicket when Sean Tidy was also caught, this time by Emerton.

Reed had lost four wickets in seven overs for 6 runs.

Rizvi soon had Kapil Dave caught behind by Champion, and Giblin leg before, and Reed were all out for 128 in the 45th over. Emerton (3-45), Rizvi (3-17), Bridgewater (2-18) and Whitton (1-16) were the WGC wicket takers in another solid bowling display, backed up by some sharp catching.

Although they were chasing a low total, Reed’s bowling unit have had more success this year than their batting unit, and WGC knew that it was not going to be an easy task to chase down the total needed.

Louis Champion’s bad luck continued when he hit a good drive off Giblin, inches off the ground, only for Tom Greaves to take an excellent diving catch, and he was gone for 3.

The returning Matt Hill was also dismissed by a good Robert Lankester catch for 2 off Giblin, and WGC were once again wobbling at 38-2.

When Lankester got his second good catch to cut short a good looking innings of 41 by Rizvi, and Nolan was caught behind by Tidy for 7, giving Giblin his third and fourth wickets, Hewitt was then run out for a third ball duck, and WGC were 67-5 and in real trouble

 In the past few games, Owais Shah has had Dan Blacktopp to help him get the side over the winning line, but with Blacktopp indisposed, Shah was ably assisted by WGC ‘s 16-year-old rising star, Zaid Faleel, who shared a 42 run partnership with Shah, before he was caught and bowled by Tom Greaves for a confident 18, with 20 more runs needed for victory.

For the third match running Ed Tucker (8*) was not out at the end, while Owais Shah hit the second ball of the 36th over for four, seeing WGC home, and finishing on a chanceless 51 not out, which included 7 x 4’s and 1 x 6.

Giblin, bowling well for his 4-43, and Greaves (1-45) were the Reed wicket takers. For his all-round performance of three wickets and 41 runs, Mo Rizvi was named “LS Fabrications Man of the Match”.

After their slow start to the season, WGC will be well pleased to be leading the table at the halfway stage of the season. They have the chance to avenge their only loss of the season so far, when they entertain West Herts at Digswell Park next Saturday.

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