Second place finish for Welwyn Garden City as they prepare for Potters Bar semi-final

PUBLISHED: 18:13 08 September 2019 | UPDATED: 18:13 08 September 2019

Louis Champion just missed out on his second century of the season. Picture: KARYN HADDON

Louis Champion just missed out on his second century of the season. Picture: KARYN HADDON

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Welwyn Garden City made sure of a home play-off semi-final even after a below-par score against West Herts.

The Digswell Park-based cricket club finished the Herts League Premier Division regular season in second, just nine points behind Radlett in the title race.

But they never truly hit the heights in the 42-run win in Watford, a result which was enough to lift West Herts above Luton Town & Indians in the battle to avoid the relegation play-off.

The home side won the toss on a chilly and overcast morning and opted to bowl first.

It was a decision which Welwyn's Owais Shah and Louis Champion were clearly more than happy with the pair putting on their third opening century partnership of the season, getting to 101 after 20 overs.

Shah was the first to go on 44 with Matthew Smith taking a flying catch off the bowling of Bill Gage but Champion carried on his merry way, finally getting to 94 off 97 deliveries in an innings that contained 12 fours and a six.

He was the second to go after left Welwyn on 164 but from there the visitors' assault faltered with only Dan Blacktopp (30) and Andy Nolan (21*) able to reach double figures.

In the end they were only able to add 70 more runs to finish on a slightly disappointing 234.

Connor Emerton got them off to a good start with the ball by bowling Craig Sanders for nought and along with good lines from Shah, they restricted West Herts to just 41 runs in 15 overs.

Shah dismissed Vinesh Gorasia (15) and then Arjun Patel with the first two balls of the 18th over and the run rate had gone out to eight an over when Matthew Smith (29) and William Jones (41) fell victim to Shay Emerton and Jamie Southgate respectively.

Late order hitting from Richard Mason (16) and Gage (21) allowed West Herts to get to 192 all out in the 48th over, with the bonus points accrued more than those collected by Luton in their loss to North Mymms.

But they were always up against it when it came to the overall win thanks to the potent bowling attack.

All six WGC bowlers took wickets, with Simon Bridgewater (2-18), Shah (2-22), Connor Emerton (2-25) and Southgate (2-48) the best of them.

Shay Emerton and Matthew Grant got the other two wickets.

In-form Potters Bar, without a defeat in the last 11 games, now stand in the way of a fourth championship in Saturday's semi-final.

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