First loss for Welwyn Garden City as De Caires and Zareef batter them to submission
PUBLISHED: 09:27 28 May 2019
Welwyn Garden City's winning start to the season came to a halt away to Radlett as they were well-beaten by 51 runs - yet they manage to remain top of an increasingly tighter Saracens Hertfordshire Cricket League Premier Division.
No side is undefeated after three games and no side is still searching for their first win, meaning the gap from top to bottom is a mere 27 points.
City's hold on first place is down to the batting and bowling points picked up at Cobden Hill.
Winning the toss and electing to bat, Radlett probably thought they had made the wrong decision when they found themselves 37-3 with Joe Cooke, Kabir Toor and Nathan Smith all back in the pavilion and only eight overs gone.
The beneficiaries of some rash shots were WGC's opening bowlers, Alex Chalker and David O'Sullivan, but they found no such luck against 17-year-old opener Josh De Caires and Muhammed Adil Zareef.
As soon as they got in tandem, the runs started to flow with the Welwyn attack hit to all parts of the ground.
They put on a partnership of 127 in only 85 balls to take the score onto 216 and with 16 overs still to go.
Matthew Grant managed to put the breaks on Zareef but only after he had bludgeoned 70 in 43 balls, complete with seven fours and five sixes, and he also finished De Caires' innings.
However, the teenager was still able to complete his maiden century, ending on 107.
With the breakthrough made Radlett were all out for 260, Grant finishing on 3-67 and O'Sullivan, Chalker and Simon Bridgewater all taking two wickets each.
However, WGC made a similarly poor start, losing both their openers as they got to 33-2 after nine overs.
With nothing to fear from the pitch, all that was needed was a partnership to rebuild the innings.
But with Radlett bowling line and length, the run rate steadily increased and that desperately needed partnership never arrived.
There were some decent contributions, skipper Andy Nolan top-scoring on 44 and eight of the batsmen getting to double figures, but that was not enough to get them close to Radlett's total and they finished all out for 209.