Bishop's Stortford Cricket Club relegated from Saracens Hertfordshire League, Premier Division after defeat to Totteridge Millhillians
Bishop's Stortford's relegation from the Saracens Hertfordshire League, Premier Division was confirmed with another agonising defeat at home to Totteridge Millhillians.
Opting to bat first, Stortford reached 50 with the only loss being the out-of-form Eddie Ballard, but another batting collapse saw five wickets fall in quick succession taking the score to 104 for 6.
Then Stortford's youth policy shone through as 18-year-old Joe Burslem (53) scored his maiden fifty for the first team and 19-year-old Matt Pike (20) joined him in adding 69 runs for the seventh wicket, helping the home side reach a respectable total of 189.
Totteridge then struggled with the bat in much the same way as North Mymms had in Stortford's previous match. Jonathan Miles was caught by Ballard at point with the score on seven and Shaun Webster skied to mid-on where Adrian Wacey took the catch off Tim Smith to leave them 21 for 2.
Matt Pike produced two excellent deliveries to clean bowl both Graeme White and Shaun O'Brien before captain Dom Chatfield dismissed the dangerous Ben Howgego with the first ball of his spell. Suddenly Totteridge were in real trouble at 73 for 5.
Ben Lederman became Smith's second victim, but Steve Selwood was batting sensibly at the other end as Totteridge reached 97 for 6 with little batting to come.
Selwood found a partner in Flynn McGraw and they added an important 37 runs after Matt Fletcher had fallen to the bowling of Sam Davis, before McGraw was caught behind off Chatfield with Totteridge just 28 runs short of the Stortford total.
Unavailability had left Stortford short of bowling and, at this stage, it became crucial as the main bowlers had completed their allotted 10 overs. It left Selwood to plunder the remaining runs against the back-up bowlers as he steered Totteridge to a winning 192 for 8.
"We have held match-winning positions in the last two matches, but a lack of front-line bowlers meant we were unable to take the final few wickets," said Chatfield. "It has been a disappointing and frustrating season."
The second XI, who are bottom of Division 3A, scored 150 all out which Bayford & Hertford chased down for the loss of five wickets.
The third XI were set a tough total of 257-5 to chase at home to Theydon Bois in Tees Law Herts & Essex League, Division Two and they reached 227 for 7 in reply when the overs ran out.
There was happier news for the fourth XI as they completed an easy Division Five win by skittling Thundridge out for 88 and then cruising to 89 for 1 in just over 11 overs.
Stortford Ladies suffered a heavy defeat against Women's Southern League, Premier Division table-toppers Finchley who scored 259 thanks to Beth Morgan's 93, with Stortford bowled out for 96.
Sawbridgeworth plunged back into the Saracens Division One relegation zone after suffering a major setback in their bid to avoid relegation for the third time in four seasons.
Saturday's 164-run home defeat to Old Albanian was chastening enough until news filtered through that fellow strugglers Kings Langley had pulled off a shock one-wicket win over leaders Preston to move them 17 points clear of Steve Ashman's side.
Sawbridgeworth now need to win their last two matches to have a chance of staying up. But if they lose to Hitchin this Saturday they will go down if Kings Langley beat bottom side Knebworth Park and Harpenden take five bonus points from Langleybury.
Saad Naveed (2 for 43) had given Sawbo hope for optimism with two early wickets which reduced the visitors to 34 for 2 in the eighth over.
However, a superb third-wicket partnership of 279 between skipper Usman Farooq (171) and wicketkeeper Rob Goldstone (108) helped Old Albanian close on 324 for 6 from their 50 overs. Also amongst the wickets were Sean Black (2 for 49) and Harry Gale (1 for 55).
Sawbridgeworth were all out for 160 in 41.5 overs in reply. Joe Holland top-scored with 31 after Ashman and Owen Groves (30) had put on 47 for the first wicket. Rob Sanders (21) was the only other batsman to pass 20 as they lost by 164 runs.
In terms of runs, it was their fifth-biggest defeat in the 601 league matches the first team have played since 1984, while they also conceded their highest total in all league games.
The second team lost by 133 runs to Hitchin II, who piled up 299 for 5 in their Division 4B contest with Peter Bell being run out two short of his century.
Kevin Youngs, who took 1 for 39 in his 10 overs, later top-scored with 51 as the visitors were all out for 166. Nick Dale and Rehman Sohail contributed 32 and 30 respectively.
In Tees Division Four, the third XI lost by nine wickets to their Ilford Catholic counterparts. Tony Marshall top-scored with 81 in their total of 159 for 7, with skipper Andrew Dongworth taking the only wicket to fall.
More by this authorMichael Vaughton