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Sawbridgeworth beat Langleybury to move back into Saracens Hertfordshire Cricket League, Division One promotion places

Sawbridgeworth moved back into the Saracens Hertfordshire League, Division One promotion places after cruising to a comfortable eight-wicket victory at relegation-threatened Langleybury on Saturday, writes Richard White.

Matt Billings’ side recorded their first league win since July 15 to go up to second place and know that victory in their final two matches – at home to Leverstock Green and away to Hitchin – will see them return to the Championship for the first time since 2018.

This is because leaders Luton Town & Indians and third-placed Chorleywood face each other in the penultimate round of matches, with just six points separating the top three clubs. The latter are level on points with Sawbridgeworth and placed lower due to their inferior scoring rate in completed matches, based on runs scored per wicket lost (21.18 to 28.23), but the way the fixtures fall means this tiebreaker will not determine the final standings in a fortnight’s time.

The visitors produced a superb bowling performance after Billings won an important toss as Langleybury were dismissed for 177 in 47.1 overs.

James Frans was the pick of the Sawbo attack, taking 3-24 in nine overs, with the other wickets being shared by George Kenny (2-42), Luke Monger (2-25), Amit Gupta (2-29) and Sayed Aziz (1-39).

In reply, the visitors needed just 31 overs to reach 181-2 and complete their first league win in seven visits to Hunton Bridge since 2005.

Steve Ashman (11) and Rob Sanders put on 52 for the first wicket in 10.4 overs, with the latter going on to score 40 before being trapped lbw by Gus Ball.

Rehman Ahmed (59no) and Hamish Wardell-Johnson (55no off 36 balls) hit unbeaten half-centuries as the visitors cruised to victory with 19 overs to spare to secure a league double over their opponents this season.

In contrast, the second XI slipped into the Division 5B relegation zone after suffering a nine-wicket hammering against Botany Bay at Town Fields.

Kasey Harris was the main destroyer for the visitors, taking 6-32 in his 10 overs before scoring an unbeaten 98 out of his side’s total of 185-1 as the Bay cruised past Sawbo’s total of 181-9 midway through the 33rd over.

Earlier, Rhys Ashman (33) and Tommy Hamilton (25) had featured in an opening partnership of 67 for Sawbo, who slipped to 118-6 before Sayaad Hussain top-scored with 35.

The third XI also lost by nine wickets as they were comprehensively beaten by Tees Herts & Essex Border League, Division One leaders Willingale.

James Bovaird (35), Oliver Bruton (32) and Gary Barnett (19no) were their only players to reach double figures as the hosts were skittled out for 138 in the 31st over.

The visitors needed only 22 overs to reach 144-1 to seal promotion back to the top flight while Sawbo slipped back to a mid-table position.

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