Welwyn Garden City still searching for first victory

PUBLISHED: 15:06 24 May 2011 | UPDATED: 16:48 24 May 2011

WGC captain Aaron Laraman

WGC captain Aaron Laraman

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WELWYN Garden City's poor run of form continued away at their 'bogey' side Oxford when the home side achieved a two-wicket win.

It is now seven games in the Home Counties Premier League without a win and although the side has performed well at times, the magnificent start to last season seems far away.

They made Oxford fight all the way on Saturday and it was heartening to see the ‘lower order,’ namely Ray Hodge and Simon Greenall enjoy a lot of time batting and make such a vital contribution.

Oxford won the toss in the Home Counties Premier League Division One clash, and put WGC in to bat, a decision Aaron Laraman would have welcomed remembering the last time WGC batted second at Oxford.

Jamie Hewitt and Louis Champion made a confident start adding 45 runs for the first wicket in the opening 10 overs.

But the next five overs saw a reversal of fortune as Hewitt was bowled for 25, Champion lbw for 26 and Matt Hill lbw for four.

Nick Walker and Jamie Southgate had to begin again and they did so competently against accurate bowling, adding 53 runs in 10 overs.

At 111-3 after 27 overs, WGC were quite well placed but Nelson struck and both batsmen were dismissed at that score; Walker for a 24-ball 29 and Southgate for 21.

Laraman batted really well until he unluckily chopped in to his own wicket adding 37 runs with Chris Grant.

But then there was a major collapse with WGC’s innings slumping from 148-5 to 161-9 as Laraman, Grant, Andy Nolan and Paul Barker all fell.

Things looked bleak but coming together in the 43rd over and batting all the way through to the 66th, Ray Hodge with 53 and Simon Greenall, who finished unbeaten on 20, put on 66 runs to give WGC a defendable total of 227.

The impetus remained with WGC as they rushed out three Oxford batsmen in the opening 12 overs for only 32 runs with Laraman and Walker taking the honours.

At tea Oxford were 61-3 with 31 overs left in which to make 167 runs.

Laraman’s spell of 4-33 in 15 overs put WGC on top but after tea no bowler could maintain the same control as runs came freely.

Walker’s five overs after tea cost 42 runs, Grant’s four cost 30, Southgate’s 5.3 cost 29 and Hewitt’s seven cost 46.

Wickets were taken but Oxford had plenty of time and overs to spare losing their eighth wicket with the scores level and the game, in all reality, won.

Ironically the loss and the points gained from the match, 11, improved WGC’s league position but a win is still desperately needed and the next opponents are league champions Henley at Digswell Park.

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