Bad start officially over as Welwyn Garden City win third straight game

Skipper Dan Blacktopp had plenty to celebrate as Welwyn Garden City beat West Herts.

Skipper Dan Blacktopp had plenty to celebrate as Welwyn Garden City beat West Herts. - Credit: KARYN HADDON

Welwyn Garden City's poor start to the season is quickly being consigned to memory after a third straight win thrust them into the top half of the Herts Cricket League Premier Division.

They had opened their campaign with two defeats, leaving them bottom of the pile, but Saturday's 39-run success at West Herts means they are now fifth, just 13 points behind second-placed North Mymms.

Both sides wanting to field first in the overcast conditions but it was the hosts who got the call right, putting WGC into bat.

No Alex Chalker meant another new opening partnership, this one consisting of Matthew Hill and Aiden Watterson, and it proved to be the most successful of the lot.

Watterson was particularly savage, hitting the first ball of the match for four and reaching his half-century in the ninth over.

He was denied going on to get his first three-figured score in Welwyn colours by the fist ball of the 20th over. He had reached 82 by that point, made off 78 deliveries and containing eight fours and four sixes.

The runs did not dry up though and Owais Shah and Dan Blacktopp kept the momentum going with an 87-run partnership.

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It ended with Shah caught for 63 but he departed with Welwyn on 210-4 and a little more than eight overs to go.

However, the innings spluttered slightly from there and nobody could stay with Blacktopp long enough, the final wicket falling on the final ball with the score on 250.

The skipper did reach his half-century though, ending on 51 not out.

West Herts also got off to a good start, and it took until the 13th over before WGC got their first breakthrough.

As he did last week in the win over Potters Bar, Kapil Dave proved to be the catalyst for positive change, taking two wickets in the space of four balls.

He also got the key wicket of opener Alastair Lewis for 66, as he claimed 3-33 in his 10 overs.

Spin-twin Mo Rizvi also finished on three wickets, going for 43 runs in his spell, and Blacktopp claimed three stumpings, the last of them the one that removed Lewis with West Herts on 138.

The hosts limped to the conclusion but were never in contention and finished on 211-9, boosting the confidence of WGC further ahead of next week's trip to fourth-placed Totteridge Millhillians.