Welwyn off and running at last with impressive win at Stortford
- Credit: DANNY LOO PHOTOGRAPHY
Welwyn Garden City finally got their Herts Cricket League season moving forwards with an impressive win away to Bishop's Stortford.
After two heavy defeats in their opening two games, the six-wicket success at Cricketfields was a complete contrast, with controlled bowling and good fielding setting the platform for the batsmen to start firing on a difficult pitch.
The coin toss went the way of the hosts but with pacemen Connor Emerton and Aiden Watterson opening the bowling together for the first time, the first few overs gave a big hint as to what was to come.
Both started off with maidens before Emerton struck in the ninth over, bowling Stortford skipper Joe Burslem.
He ended up with 1-22 from eight overs and although Watterson was left still looking for his first league wicket, his accurate and unchanged 10 overs conceded just 22 runs.
Spinners Kapil Dave and Mo Rizvi continued to put the batsmen under pressure and even if they remained just one wicket down, it took 31 overs for the hosts to get to 98.
Rizvi got the first wicket, bowling Masoor Khan for 41 and in the next over Dave had Ben Twohig caught by Umesh Valjee for 40.
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Again the bowlers went through and their replacements, Jason Lewis and Alex Chalker, then came in to take two wickets each as the hosts limped to 168-7 after their 50 overs.
Welwyn felt happy with their efforts but were still unsure if that was a below-par score and they were put on the back foot too when Valjee and Rizvi was dismissed in the first five overs with the score only on 18.
It was clear though that Welwyn were going to take the attack to Stortford and both Chalker (38 from 31 balls) and Owais Shah (33 in 42) quickly pushed the score up to 96-4 in the 22nd over.
That brought skipper Dan Blacktopp and Dylan Van Der Westhuizen together and they soon calmed any fears about the match being in the balance, putting on 73 in 136 balls to guide Welwyn to victory inside 45 overs.
Blacktopp finished unbeaten on 58 while Van Der Westhuizen managed 27 not out.
The result lifts Welwyn up to ninth but just 31 points behind leaders Radlett, with Potters Bar at Digswell Park on Saturday.