At last! Park get deserved win as Hitchin are put to the sword in emphatic style
PUBLISHED: 14:17 05 August 2019 | UPDATED: 14:17 05 August 2019
Knebworth Park's long wait for a victory eventually arrived and in style - as they laid neighbours Hitchin out with a devastating and deserved success.
Their performances had been steadily improving and but for a bit of good fortune the first win would have arrived much earlier.
But it was worth the wait as they first put on an above-par 233-7 before dismissing their Lucas Lane hosts for just 86.
It doesn't move them off the foot of the Division One table but they are now just 12 points behind Kings Langley and 32 adrift of Sawbridgeworth.
They won the toss and elected to have a bat, even though the pitch seemed set-up to favour the bowlers.
Their spirit may have been damaged by those narrow defeats in recent weeks but it was not destroyed, evidenced by a stand of 51 for the opening wicket between Adam Sergeant (16) and Mo Asif (46).
There was then an all too familiar stutter which saw them fall to 91-4 but Archie Stephens stabilised the innings with a vital 31.
And both he and Ollie O'Brien (12) supported Louis Clayton who led the way in building a challenging total.
Crucially Clayton and Gareth Jones raised the bar in a match-defining stand of 88 for the seventh wicket that lifted them to their total, one that was always going to be tough to chase.
Clayton, who batted beautifully in hitting his first half-century for Knebworth's first team, finished unbeaten on 57 while Jones, continuing his improvement with the bat, was eventually run out for 38.
Hitchin's run chase took a big hit early on as Park opened up with medium-pacer Sibet Hussain. He grabbed three early wickets and would finish with 3-23 after six overs.
The hosts' skipper Shaftab Khalid batted skilfully to reach 50 while 10 from Steve Flint got them to a slightly better 63-3.
But from there the innings soon went downhill.
Knebworth captain Charlie Randall brought his spinners into the attack and it proved Hitchin's undoing.
Flint and then Khalid were both dismissed by Sunny Iqbal, who went on to claim a wonderful 5-12 and Asif chipped in with 2-22 as the home side were all out just shy of the halfway point.
Knebworth will look to continue the momentum when they host Harpenden 2nds on Saturday.