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Bishop's Stortford begin new Saracens Hertfordshire Cricket League season with defeat to Old Owens

Jonny Gaffney's half-century could not prevent Bishop's Stortford suffering defeat in their first game in the Saracens Herts League, Championship Division at Old Owens.

Having lost the toss, Old Owens lost their first wicket to a smart piece of fielding by Stortford captain Tommy Burslem with the score on 13.

But the hosts slowly got a grip on proceedings and a fourth-wicket partnership worth 112 helped get them to 226 for 6 from their 45 overs.

Matt Pike (1 for 32 from nine overs) was the pick of the bowlers while Chris Hall claimed figures of 3 for 50.

Stortford's top order stumbled in reply before Burslem (37) and Gaffney (51) turned the game around with a 93-run stand.

But requiring 82 runs from the last 10 overs was always going to be a big ask and they were all out for 173, 54 runs short of the victory target.

At Cricketfield Lane, the second XI played out an exciting Division 4A game against Hatfield & Crusaders that ended in a tie.

Stortford were asked to bat after losing the toss and new recruit Ross Daynes (51) and young Benjy Furrer put on 61 together before the latter was caught, resulting in a flurry of wickets to leave them 87 for 6.

A sensible partnership of 77 between Hugh Williams (46) and 16-year-old Sam Robinson (31) steadied the ship as they went on to post 179 all out.

The visitors' reply progressed steadily, but Robinson bowled well and wickets also fell regularly. At 127 for 6, the game seemed to be Stortford's for the taking.

The away side's lower order had other ideas and with five overs remaining they required just five runs while Stortford needed one wicket.

Stortford conceded three runs in the 41st over before Williams bowled a maiden. A single from the first ball of the 43rd over was followed by a sharp catch by wicketkeeper Joe Leak as the hosts were also dismissed for 179 to result in a dramatic tie.

In the new Tees Herts & Essex Border League, the third XI battled back to claim a Premier Division victory over Potter Street & Church Langley by 17 runs.

They recovered from 57 for 5 to post an excellent 204 for 7 largely thanks to Joe Clune's unbeaten 57.

Clune (3 for 29) also starred with the ball and had support from juniors Matt Foster, Jack Fraser-Andrews and Thomas Howes, who all took two wickets, as their opponents were removed for 187.

The fourth XI were also victorious when they took on Harlow Town III in Division Three.

Jay Ward (51) and Fred Hussain (34) punished the bowling as they raced to 94 without loss and, despite losing a few wickets, posted 201 for 8 from 40 overs.

Harlow were never really in the hunt as Zach Ahmed, Ward and Jake Anders all took two wickets apiece to bundle them out for 122.

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