Welwyn Garden City back in the winning groove with Hertford success
PUBLISHED: 17:42 25 August 2019 | UPDATED: 17:42 25 August 2019
Welwyn Garden City made sure of their spot in the end of season play-offs as they found the winning touch again at home to Hertford.
They still harbour slim hopes of finishing top of the Herts Cricket League Premier Division but they are still 26 points behind Radlett.
However, after five games without a win the success was much needed and still keeps them in the hunt for a home semi-final place.
Matthew Grant set WGC on their way second five-wicket haul of the season, and making it 32 wickets this term, before Owais Shah gave another batting masterclass, as he fell just four runs short of this third century of the season.
Hertford had won the toss and chose to bat on what looked like a perfect batting track and the plan got off to a good start with 72 in the opening 14 overs.
Jamie Riddle was the dominant partner, scoring a run-a-ball 50 before he fell for 51 courtesy of a good diving catch from skipper Andy Nolan off a Simon Bridgewater delivery.
And the spinner struck with the very next ball too to remove Richard Leather before William Ray and Ian Harris put on 57 for the third wicket.
Ray was eventually caught and bowled by Jamie Southgate for 49 while Harris fell for 37 to Shah.
From there Grant took over and from 160-4 Hertford were all out for 202 in the 49th over, Grant finishing with figures of 5-30.
Shah's return after a two-game absence was a blessed relief but any hopes Welwyn had of chasing down an under-par total with ease were quickly doused by the visitors.
The hostile pace of James Leather together with the accuracy of Andrew Knight saw Louis Champion, Dan Blacktopp and Southgate all removed with just 31 runs scored.
Jamie Hewitt provided some support to Shah but he fell for 14 to leave Welwyn in trouble on 68-4.
But in came the skipper to play his best innings of the season.
With an aggressive brand of cricket, he began to drive the ball to all parts of the ground to keep pace with Shah.
And together they put on an unbeaten partnership of 140 in just 20 overs, winning the game with more than 17 overs remaining.
Shah finished on 96 not out, scored off the same number of balls with 12 fours and four maximums in among the score.
Nolan meanwhile got to 69, slightly quicker as he faced just 63 balls but with 58 of them scored via boundaries.
Leather was Hertford's best bowler with 2-48.
Next up for WGC is a home game against already-relegated Bishop's Stortford before travelling to West Herts on the final day.