Sawbridgeworth end title-winning cricket season on a high as they completed their Saracens Herts League, Division One campaign with an unbeaten record
Sawbridgeworth's remarkable season ended on a high as they beat St Margaretsbury by 79 runs to ensure they completed their Saracens Herts League, Division One campaign with an unbeaten record, writes Richard White.
Steve Ashman's side recorded their sixth successive league win – their best sequence since their double winning season of 2003 – and seventh in total to finish 59 points ahead of runners-up Hitchin.
Their performance was arguably the most impressive of the truncated campaign as they won handsomely despite being without the experienced Danny Wilson, Michael Burrell and Joe Holland, who boast a combined total of 590 first XI league appearances for the club.
After electing to bat first, the champions looked in trouble at 91 for 5 after 20 overs but were rescued by George Kenny and Owen Groves, who produced a magnificent sixth-wicket partnership of 114 to take the game away from the visitors.
Kenny's run-a-ball 73 included eight fours and three sixes while Groves completed his maiden first-team half-century off the final ball of the innings to finish unbeaten on 52. With Matt Billings smashing a brace of maximums in a cameo 18 not out from 10 balls, Sawbo scored 71 off their final seven overs to finish on 233 for 6.
Kenny was equally as good with the new ball, dismissing both openers to take 2 for 21 in six overs before David Murphy (23) and ex-Sawbo all-rounder Charlie Rudkin (20) took the score to 68 with a third-wicket partnership of 36.
Some superb bowling from Vibhor Yadav (9-0-27-3) and Sean Black (6-1-24-2) reduced them to 102 for 7 and the visitors were eventually all out for 154.
Billings took 1 for 16 off five overs before victory was completed in the 40th over with Kenny taking the final catch off the bowling of Jack Timms.
Meanwhile, the second XI finished on winning note as they defeated Boxmoor by two wickets with seven balls to spare to ensure a fourth-place finish in Division 5B.
Chasing 232 to win, Alex Syed (46), Reheem Sohail (56) and Kieran Morgan (33) provided excellent top-order contributions before Mason Kirby hit the winning six following a middle-order collapse from 198 for 4 to 226 for 8.
Usman Jan, who finished 35 not out, had earlier taken 2 for 27 from his nine overs with Romesh Paktsun (3 for 23) being the pick of the bowlers as Boxmoor scored 231-8 from their 45 overs.
The third XI made it a clean sweep of wins for the club as they ended their season with a 35-run friendly victory over Thorley II at Leventhorpe School.
Alfie Burrell scored his maiden half-century for the club with an unbeaten 73 as Sawbo recovered from 24 for 4 to reach 195 for 6 from their 40 overs. James Bovaird and Phil Hyam added 39 apiece.
Burrell later took 2 for 27 in 3.1 overs, but the star of the show was Andrew Dongworth, who took career-best figures of 7 for 22 – including a hat-trick – as they dismissed the visitors for 160.