Popular century from Yugal Kalaskar keeps Hatfield & Crusaders flying high at top

PUBLISHED: 08:02 11 July 2018 | UPDATED: 08:06 11 July 2018

Sam Edge was among the runs and the wickets as Hatfield & Crusaders beat Preston 2nds. Picture: DANNY LOO

Sam Edge was among the runs and the wickets as Hatfield & Crusaders beat Preston 2nds. Picture: DANNY LOO

©2018 Danny Loo Photography - all rights reserved

Yugal Kalaskar was the star of Hatfield & Crusaders’ 94-run triumph over Preston 2nds as the Ascots Lane-based cricket club stayed clear at the top of Saracens Herts Cricket League Division Five A.

A popular man around the Ascots Lane-based cricket club, he hit his first ever century in their colours finishing after a spectacular 116.

He got his chance early as stand-in skipper Heath Bond won a priceless toss in searing conditions and chose to bat.

Basement side Preston did strike early to leave the hosts 22-2 after 10 overs but that brought Kalaskar and Amit Singh to the crease and they took full advantage of a benign pitch and a lightning-fast outfield.

Singh maintained his excellent run of form, reaching a fourth league half-century in an extraordinary season.

He was eventually bowled for a brisk 67 in the 36th over in an innings that included 11 boundaries but at the other end Kalaskar continued to defy the exhausting conditions.

He was ruthless in punishing any short or wide deliveries, hitting 19 fours in total before finally succumbing to the heat and being forced to retire.

A late flurry got H&C up to 261-5 and Sam Edge, partly responsible for that, returned to claim an early scalp with the ball.

Crucial breakthroughs followed from Amit Singh (4-26) and Preet Singh, including the wicket of top-scorer Rehman for 41, and characteristically miserly spells from spinners Deepak Hasiza (2-24) and Andy Foster (2-17) maintained the pressure to leave Preston all out for 167 in the final over of the innings.

A depleted second team fell to a narrow defeat after another close contest at Abbots Langley 2nds.

They did well to restrict Abbots Langley to 235 from their 50 overs with opening bowler Alan Jakes taking 2-23 in 10 unchanged overs.

He was ably supported by Hari Rathakrishnan (2-68) and Tony Jakes (2-42).

They made a good fist of the reply too with the top order all making starts.

Keven Whitehead (35) and Matt Jennings (78) combined as they reached 157-3 in the 32nd over before Abbots stepped it up and despite defiant knocks from Amit Shamal (32*) and Alan Jakes (23), the visitors fell 18 runs short.

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