WGC enjoy more away-day success to keep pace at top
PUBLISHED: 16:30 04 July 2019
Welwyn Garden City continued their good form in the Saracens Herts League with a comprehensive win at Bishop's Stortford.
And the nine-wicket success at Cricketfields Lane leaves them just five points behind Premier Division leaders Radlett, with the two teams opening up a 40-plus point gap over third-placed Luton Town & Indians.
Buoyed by their win at Hertford a week earlier, WGC won the toss and chose to field in the hope of getting an early breakthrough and keeping things tight with their spinners.
Connor Emerton trapped Joe Burslem lbw with only nine runs on the board, but Stortford's Eddie Ballard and Reece Hussain looked in little trouble at they moved the total along to 41.
Emerton then had Hussain caught behind the stumps by Daniel Blacktopp and when Matthew Grant removed home skipper Dominic Chatfield for just eight, thanks to a sharp catch at short leg by Hemang Ramlaul, WGC were on top.
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Grant turned one sharply to dimiss Ballard for an impressive 42, as Alex Chalker took a diving slip catch and Jamie Southgate ripped through the middle order as the hosts slumped from 73-3 to 74-7.
The last three wickets fell for just 19 runs after lunch as Stortford were all out for 99 in 42 overs, with Emerton (3-36), Southgate (3-8) and Grant (3-16) combining to superb effec with the ball.
With a long day in the field avoided, WGC showed their strength in depth in the absence of Louis Champion and Owais Shah - who had scored 587 runs in the last three matches between them.
Ramlaul fell to a good ball from Travis Hussain for just three with the score on 13, but Blacktopp joined captain Andrew Nolan in an unbroken second-wicket stand of 92 to seal victory in some comfort in the 24th over.
Blacktopp finished unbeaten on 49 from 74 balls, after hitting six fours, as Nolan (50 not out) hit Ballard for his seventh four and a six to complete his first half-century of the season in style from 62 deliveries.
WGC return to their home base this weekend to host West Herts, who lost by 153 runs to Totteridge Millhillians on Saturday, with Harpenden the visitors a week later in the first of the return fixtures.