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Sawbridgeworth promotion destiny out of their hands in Saracens Hertfordshire Cricket League after Leverstock Green game abandoned

Sawbridgeworth’s promotion hopes are now out of their hands after heavy rain denied them a chance of gaining a crucial victory in Saracens Hertfordshire League, Division One on Saturday, writes Richard White.

Visitors Leverstock Green were 199-9 with 11 balls of their 50 overs remaining when the players were initially forced off by thunder and lightning before a torrential downpour left the outfield virtually unplayable.

Under league rules, play had to restart by 5.12pm to enable Matt Billings’ side to face a minimum of 20 overs, which would constitute a match, and, under the DLS method, they would have required 117 runs to win. However, the conditions did not improve significantly enough and more rain swept in less than 10 minutes after the decision was taken to call the game off.

To add to their frustration, Sawbridgeworth dropped to fourth in the table after their three nearest rivals – Chorleywood, Letchworth and Hitchin – managed not only to escape the worst of the weather but also secure victories in rain-affected matches.

Sawbo travel to Hitchin on Saturday knowing they have to win and hope in-form Letchworth not only lose at home to Leverstock Green but pick up fewer than 15 bonus points. On the flip side, victory for Hitchin would see them go back up, provided their near neighbours get fewer than nine points. Both sides need to go all out for victory, but Lucas Lane has been a happy hunting ground recently for Sawbo, who have won their last three visits.

As for the action that did take place, Leverstock Green reached 167-3 after being put in. Opener Nahim Iqbal (82) added 84 for the second wicket with skipper Dayle Littlejohn (27) and 60 with Tor Burrowes (27).

James Frans, who had removed opener Sol Tomlinson (4) with his second ball of the day, returned to take three wickets in 10 balls as he recorded league-best figures of 4-33. George Kenny (2-28) struck twice in his second spell, with one wicket falling to Amit Gupta (1-36) and two run outs.

In contrast, it was a good day for Sawbo II as they recorded a crucial five-wicket victory over their Langleybury counterparts, who replace Sawbo in the Division 5B relegation zone and are 12 points adrift of Harry Gale’s men going into the final round of matches.

Gale’s decision to bowl first paid off handsomely as they dismissed their hosts for 160, with Andrew Dongworth taking 4-32 in his 10 overs. Matthew Jones took 2-32 and captain Gale was one of four players – along with Jack Dougall, Tommy Hamilton and William Offer – to take one wicket.

Offer later featured in a fourth-wicket partnership of 117 with Brad Oakes (72). The pair rescued Sawbo from 14-3 after they were set a revised target of 143 in 33 overs, with Offer scoring 45. Rhys Ashman hit the winning runs with two overs to spare.

Meanwhile, Sawbo III travelled to High Beach in Tees Herts & Essex Border League, Division One and fell short by 14 runs in a high-scoring encounter.

Chasing 263 for victory, they were given a marvellous platform by David Pinner, who made a whirlwind century, hitting 20 fours and a six on his way to scoring 108 from just 78 balls.

He featured in a second-wicket partnership of 119 with Kieran Morgan (42 off 35) before being third out with the score on 173. Josh Ramsay went on to contribute 44, but, apart from opener James Bovaird (10), no other player made double figures and they were all out for 248.

It had been a historic day for the Morgan family with Kieran – who earlier took 1-13 in his eight overs – lining up with his son Travis and brother Rob in the same team for the first time.

Travis claimed two of the three run outs which occurred in the home side’s innings as High Beach piled up 262-8 in their 40 overs. Ramsay (3-40) and Bovaird (1-65) were the other successful bowlers for the visitors.

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