Groundstaff share plaudits as WGC close in on double

PUBLISHED: 10:13 14 September 2017 | UPDATED: 10:13 14 September 2017

WGC CC V Radlett - Owais Shah bowling for WGC. Picture: KARYN HADDON

WGC CC V Radlett - Owais Shah bowling for WGC. Picture: KARYN HADDON

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Champions Welwyn Garden City moved to within one game of successfully defending their Saracens Hertfordshire Cricket League Premier Division play-off title with a four-wicket win against Radlett.

Having already wrapped up the league title, the playoff crown is next in WGC’s sights.

But with their Digswell Park gorund resembling a lake barely 12 hours earlier, this win owes as much to the ground manager and his team of willing volunteers than it does to the team.

By the time the match started, the pitch was still a bit green but fairly firm.

And given the potential for spin towards the end of the match, and slight moisture on the outfield, Radlett decided to bat first on winning the toss.

It seemed a good decision too as openers Fraser Crawford (47) and Tom Jenkins (44) added 85 for the first wicket until Jenkins was run out by Andrew Nolan.

Joe Cooke and skipper Kabir Toor added some useful runs but some silly run outs and excellent bowling from James Southgate (3-36) in the middle overs saw the visitors to Digswell Park slip from a comfortable 140-3 to 171-8.

It required Charlie Nicholls to ensure the innings lasted the full 50 overs rather than trying to accelerate the total forwards but his 20* did just that and Radlett finished on 202-9.

In reply, WGC lost Adil Arif early but partnership’s of 35 between Dan Blacktopp and Owais Shah and then 52 between Southgate and Shah, seemed to give the hosts the upper hand.

And at 105-3 with less than 25 overs gone, the game was Welwyn Garden’s to lose.

The introduction of Fakir Dungaria and the return of paceman Randeep Sanghera saw WGC lose three wickets in quick succession and when Conor Emerton joined Shah, WGC were still 66 short of victory and with only four wickets in hand.

Emerton is probably one of the best number eight’s playing anywhere in club cricket at the moment and Shah is one of the most experienced.

Together they tamed the Radlett attack, and calmed the by now boisterous spectator’s nerves, and in the end got WGC over the line with nearly seven overs remaining.

A club spokesman said: “A good result but the job is only half done and we will need to play just as well when we host Totteridge Millhillians in Saturday’s final.”

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