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League history made at Town Fields as Sawbridgeworth Cricket Club host both first and second XI fixtures with Old Albanian

League history was made at Town Fields on Saturday when Sawbridgeworth hosted both first and second XI fixtures with Old Albanian, whose ground was unavailable.

All Saracens Herts League matches down to Division 6B are 45-over contests in the truncated 2020 season, but, after discussions with the league, the clubs agreed to play a unique double header of 30 overs each to ensure both fixtures got played.

Both games were won convincingly by Sawbridgeworth, starting with the seconds in 5B as they ended a barren run of 619 days without a victory. The side lost every league match in 2019 and have suffered back-to-back relegations, so the 80-run success was very welcome.

A magnificent display of batting by Alex Syed (115 not out) and Owen Groves (73 not out) saw the pair rack up 221 without loss after they had been asked to bat first. Syed recorded his maiden league hundred, scoring 15 fours and four sixes from 95 balls, while Groves struck 11 boundaries from 88 deliveries.

In reply, the visitors raced to 89-1 off 11 overs, but after Paul James (6-1-31-2) ended a second-wicket partnership of 63 between Zahir Ahmed (27) and Matt Burman (28), it was Harry Gale who ripped through the middle order with career-best figures of 6 for 28 from his six overs. William Jones (2-29) wrapped up the innings as the visitors were all out for 141.

Travis Hussain marked his first XI league debut following his arrival from Bishop's Stortford with a century as they won by 58 runs.

Sawbridgeworth enjoyed an excellent first day of the season
Sawbridgeworth enjoyed an excellent first day of the season

He scored 103 off just 77 balls and shared a fourth-wicket partnership of 121 with Jack Timms (47).

Sawbo racked up 234 for 7 with Joe Holland contributing a very useful 35 not out off 17 deliveries at the end.

It was 58 runs too many for Old Albanian, who replied with 176 for 8 as Vibhor Yadav, who is back following a brief spell at Sawbridgeworth in 2012, took 5 for 22 in five overs.

The third XI were not able to make it a clean sweep of wins for the club despite making a brilliant start to their Tees Herts & Essex Border League, Division Two campaign against Ardeley Walkern.

Andrew Dongworth took three quick wickets in a terrific new-ball spell of 3 for 14 from eight overs before the visitors' Ryan Blaker took over, the Australian hammering 214 not out in a total of 279 for 5 from their 40 overs.

In reply, Phil Hyam's side lost a clatter of early wickets before slipping to 130 all out, with Joe Rickett's patient 57 not out and a hard-hitting 28 from Adam MacDonald the highlights.

Sawbo entertain last year's Herts Division One champions Preston in the National Village Cup on Sunday, with the 40-over contest beginning at 1pm.

Matching Green recorded an emphatic 103-run triumph at home to Nazeing Common I in the new Tees Herts & Essex Border League, Premier Division.

After being inserted on a fresh pitch, teenagers William Cutlan-Smyth (31) and Olly Hartnell (27) led the way for the hosts.

Graeme Bowerman also chipped in with 27 as the hosts made a respectable 179 all out.

Nazeing's reply got off to a jittery start and they struggled with the left-arm pace of Charlie Bass (3 for 7) and Jonny Taylor, before the latter's brother Matty kept up the pressure with 2 for 16.

When the Matching skipper introduced spin, the pressure was too much to bear and Dan Sibley (4 for 29) and Simon Hartnell (1 for 2) quickly wrapped up the game as Nazeing were 76 all out.

The Sunday XI were also victorious when they entertained Netteswell & Burnt Mill.

Peter Liversidge finished with three wickets and there were good performances from youngsters Lorcan Neville, Joel Moscow and Max Smith as the visitors posted 183 all out.

Teenagers Cutlan-Smyth (33) and Olly Hartnell looked solid along with Moscow (28) at the outset of the reply, before a flurry of wickets left the innings in tatters.

But skipper Liversidge, who had held himself back, produced a quickfire and unbeaten 49 coming in at No 8 as they fought back to win by three wickets.

He was brilliantly supported by teenager Max Smith, who kept his nerve and finished with a fine 30 not out.

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