Hatfield & Crusaders sweep the board in style with four wins from four
- Credit: DANNY LOO
The sun shining for the first time this season was only one part of the reason it was a good weekend for Hatfield & Crusaders Cricket Club - as they completed a clean sweep of four victories from four matches.
The first team won for the first time after a close contest with Cheshunt Rosedale at home in Division Four A.
Skipper Ben Clark won a crucial toss and opted to bowl first on a damp wicket, which made life difficult for the batsmen throughout.
Aman Sofat (2-16) struck first with a simple caught and bowled before a magnificent delivery with the very next ball trimmed the top of off stump.
Ian Golder claimed the other opener cheaply, thanks to a fine catch from Clark running back from slip, and Cheshunt were struggling at 5-3 after seven overs.
This was part of a remarkable spell from Golder who exploited the conditions perfectly to bowl eight maidens in a 10-over stint, which yielded just four runs.
There was no let-up from the first change bowlers, as Clark (3-33) and Gareth Wynne (3-6) combined wicket-taking deliveries with consistent accuracy.
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Wicketkeeper James Davies more than played his part too, with a stunning catch diving low to his right.
Cheshunt Rosedale were 38-8 when drinks were taken and only some lusty blows from the tail saw them reach 61 all out.
Wynne joined Golder in claiming particularly remarkable figures, as he bowled 5.3 economical overs.
But despite having a comparatively low total to chase, the Ascots Lane-based cricket club did not find the going easy either.
They themselves slipped to 11-4 after 12 overs following two excellent opening spells from Cheshunt, with Niro Sritharan’s 3-12 the standout performance.
Heath Bond (18) was the only player who reached double figures, and looked to have settled the nerves in a brisk partnership with Clark. However, Bond’s dismissal provoked a mini-collapse, and with the score reading 40-7, Cheshunt were right back in the contest.
Fortunately for the home side, one more substantial partnership was enough, and their target was ultimately reached with two wickets in hand.
The seconds won their trip to Allenburys & County Hall II in a much more comfortable fashion, as an impressive all-round performance led to a seven-wicket win.
Allenburys opted for first use of a good wicket and reached 82-2 despite good opening spells from Andy Foster (3-26) and Rory Gethin-Golder (1-19).
The middle-order fell cheaply, however, as Allenburys slipped to 105-7, the wickets shared between the rest of the attack, Urvish Mistry (2-22), Alan Jakes (1-44) and Tony Jakes (1-39) all contributing.
A useful, unbeaten 44 from Kieran Barnaby saw Allenburys finish 150-8 from their allotted overs.
Hatfield & Crusaders started well in reply, as Lewis Wynne (17) and Keven Whitehead put on 34 for the first wicket and after Wynne’s departure, Rory Faraday (41) produced a controlled innings to break the back of the target, striking seven fours in the process, before he was caught.
Whitehead continued undeterred, only slightly inconvenienced by an injury which caused a runner to be required, and eventually fell for a fine 54 with the winning line in sight.
The seconds remain undefeated after four league games and are third in Division Six B.
The third team also produced a fine display as they visited Letchworth Garden City.
The side made the most of a good pitch after skipper Barry Phillips won the toss and there were several useful contributions.
Martin Webster hit 17, Keyur Mistry 25 and there was 29 for Nikhil Jonnalagadda and 27 from the captain as they reached 150 with five overs remaining.
That was just the prelude to an extraordinary innings from Hasitha Colobage who smashed a remarkable half-century from number 10.
He launched two sixes and six fours in an astonishing display which saw Hatfield & Crusaders reach an imposing 210-9 from their 40 overs.
That target was far out of reach for Letchworth who were bowled out for just 80 in reply.
All the bowlers contributed with Prasanna Jadu (1-10), Jonnalagadda (2-14), Don Purohit (2-3), Arun Bonam (1-17) and Rohan Vodapally (4-22) in the wickets.
The Sunday side completed the perfect weekend against a talented and youthful Wheathampstead.
Neither side were obviously in the ascendency throughout a close contest until H&C sealed the win from the final ball of the last over and with just one wicket remaining.
Specialist finisher Gareth Wynne deserves special mention as he fully merited his promotion to number nine with a characteristically composed 15 not out before Andy Foster pulled the vital boundary over square leg.