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Saracens Hertfordshire League: Sawbridgeworth's promotion bid falters with third defeat in four games

Sawbridgeworth’s promotion bid continues to falter after Saturday’s five-wicket defeat against St Margaretsbury saw them drop to fourth in the Saracens Hertfordshire League Division 1 table, writes Richard White.

A third loss in four games leaves Steve Ashman’s side 25 points behind second-placed Broxbourne and 50 adrift of leaders Hitchin. They managed only eight bonus points against their near neighbours, meaning they have been replaced in the top three by Leverstock Green.

Sawbo were 44-4 off 16 overs after being put in to bat before an hour’s delay reduced the game to a 40-overs-a-side affair. Joe Holland, who was forced to retire hurt on 27, returned to top-score with 45 from 43 deliveries as Sawbo were dismissed for 143 with three balls of their revised allocation remaining.

St Margaretsbury produced a disciplined bowling display as they conceded just six wides, with veteran Darren Shanley taking 3-35 in 7.3 overs and former Northants keeper David Murphy taking four catches and a stumping.

In reply, they reached their target in the 33rd over after Mark Willis (30*) and Toby Jennings (19*) added an unbeaten 48 for the sixth wicket, comfortably the highest partnership of the match.

Michael Burrell (2-33), Vibhor Yadav (1-21), Paul James (1-32) and Matt Billings (1-38) were the wicket takers for the home side, for whom Billings was making his 100th first-team league appearance.

It was also a disappointing day for Sawbridgeworth’s other league teams.

The second XI travelled to Mill Hill Village, where they lost the toss and were bundled out for just 85 in 26 overs. Brad Oakes top-scored with 31 with Luke Garratt (12) and Charlie Mann (10*) also making double figures. In reply, the home side reached 86-5 in 19.2 overs with Sean Black (3-18), Saad Naveed (1-26) and Andrew Dongworth (1-26) taking the wickets for Sawbo, who stay third from bottom in Saracens Herts League Division 5B.

In the Tees Herts and Essex Border League, the third XI were all out for 65 against Division Two leaders Bengeo, who completed a comfortable eight-wicket victory. Phil Hyam’s side remain sixth in the table.

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