Welwyn continue meteoric rise up the table as Owais Shah takes centre stage again

Owais Shah batting for WGC Cricket Club

Welwyn Garden City's Owais Shah leads the batting charts in the Herts Cricket League Premier Division after a second century this season. - Credit: KARYN HADDON

What a difference a few weeks make.

After just three weeks of the season Welwyn Garden City found themselves in unfamiliar territory, stuck second from bottom of the Herts Cricket League Premier Division.

Fast forward another three weeks and successive victories in each of them have catapulted WGC up to second.

And while that lowly position in the opening moments of the campaign were most definitely unfamiliar, the manner of the latest success against Hoddesdon was straight from the Digswell Park club's playbook.

A fine team performance in all aspects of the game was capped off by another dominant innings by Owais Shah, seeing them to four-wicket win.

The former England and Middlesex batsman had scored 124 in Welwyn's first win of the season and put himself top of the division's batting list with another 102, taking his overall tally to 452 in seven innings.

Hoddesdon skipper had set them 220 after being bowled out in the 58th over, skipper Rob Walters the main reason for that.

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He was the last man out but only after hitting 128 from 157 deliveries, a knock which contained 16 fours and two sixes.

Six Welwyn bowlers took wickets, Simon Bridgewater coming in late on to take 2-3, but even here it was Shah who stood tall, finishing with 3-55.

He was brought to the crease slightly earlier than he would have anticipated though, Welwyn losing both Mo Rizvi and Alex Chalker in the opening six overs.

Shah and Louis Champion (30) settled things down somewhat although Simon Monger from the hosts had other ideas, taking the first five Welwyn wickets with 109 runs on the boars.

But at this point Shah was joined by skipper Dan Blacktopp, playing down the order because of a leg injury, and if the match had been in the balance at 109-5, a 72-run partnership between the pair changed all that.

Shah upped the pace too and after 55 balls had taken him to his 50, he only needed another 29 deliveries to reach his 13th century for the club.

His final tally included three fours and a whopping 11 sixes with his departure coming in the 37th over and WGC on 181.

It took another 11 overs to get the win but Ed Tucker and Blacktopp saw to that, the skipper smashing a six to finish it as he finished unbeaten on 44.

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