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Sawbridgeworth lose to Letchworth Garden City in Saracens Hertfordshire Cricket League, Division One promotion race

Sawbridgeworth missed the chance to move back into the Saracens Hertfordshire League, Division One promotion places as they suffered a disappointing 14-run defeat to a resurgent Letchworth Garden City at Town Fields on Saturday, writes Richard White.

Chasing 192 to win on a difficult batting surface, the home side slumped to 32-4 before Rehman Ahmed (28) and Amit Gupta added 67 for the fifth wicket.

Gupta struck 10 fours and a six on his way to top-scoring with 62 off 57 balls before he unluckily played on his leg stump to young left-arm spinner Joe Davidson with the score on 126.

Michael Burrell (24) and George Kenny (12) added 31 in six overs, but Sawbo were all out for 177 off the final ball of their 50 overs.

Earlier, Sawbo’s bowlers had taken the last nine Letchworth wickets for 66 runs as

the visitors collapsed from 125-1 to 191 all out after David Sprittles (51) and Praveen Bhatti (53) had featured in a second-wicket partnership of 116.

Skipper Matt Billings (2-7), James Frans (2-26) and Sayed Aziz (2-45) all struck twice with the other wickets falling to Gupta (1-20), Kenny (1-19) and Burrell (1-49) and a run out.

Despite their winless run extending to a month, Sawbo are still only six points behind second-placed Luton Town & Indians.

However, they are still being chased hard by a resurgent Letchworth, who are unbeaten since July 1 and are now only five points adrift of Billings’ side.

There was also disappointment for the second XI who remain third from bottom in Division 5B as they lost to Berkhamsted on the DLS method.

Jack Dougall (5-28) took his maiden five-wicket haul at this level as they dismissed the visitors for 178. Kieran Morgan took 2-21 and there was a wicket each for Will Offer, Nick Dale and Sam Shemwell.

Sawbo were 73-5 in the 22nd over of their reply when rain curtailed proceedings, but they took 10 bonus points for dismissing their hosts, leaving them 23 clear of Northwood II who remain in the second relegation place.

There was a comprehensive win for the third XI as they defeated Nazeing Common II by six wickets to move up to third place in Tees Herts & Essex Border League, Division One.

Alfie Burrell (3-14), Charles Robinson (2-38), Romesh Paktsun (2-19) and skipper Adam MacDonald (2-33) helped dismiss their hosts for just 148.

James Bovaird (53 off 50 balls) and Burrell (28) came together at 33-2 as they added 75 before Robinson (16no) and Chris Cooper (15no) ended proceedings in style with Sawbo reaching 149-4 in 20 overs.

This was the side’s first win under the captaincy of MacDonald, who will lead the side on a permanent basis in 2024. They are only one point behind second-placed Braughing and face a huge game against leaders Willingale on Saturday.

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