Chorleywood secured a top-half finish with a 42-run win over Old Finchleians on Saturday

Watford Town Thirds are celebrating again following their latest promotion.

Watford Town Thirds are celebrating again following their latest promotion.

First published in Sport by , Group Sports Editor

Championship

Chorleywood secured a finish in the top half of the Championship with a comfortable 42-run win over bottom-of-the-table Old Finchleians.

After choosing to bat first, Wood were a little disappointed to be bowled out for 214 in 48.2 overs in what looked like ideal conditions. Opener James Rose top-scored with a patient 65, and Will Pendred hit 48, but a flurry of quick wickets lower down the order saw Wood bowled out without using all their overs.

Pendred then continued his fine game by picking up his third five-wicket haul of the season as he finished with figures of five for 42 from his 9.4 overs - taking wickets at the top of the Finchleians order and then returning to finish off the match. Jonathan Rice also put in a good shift, taking three 45 from his ten overs as the visitors were bowled out for 172 in the 44th over.

Wood skipper Tom Smithson said afterwards: "I’m proud of the way we performed today - there was some anxiety around at the start as we could still have been dragged back into the relegation zone, but once the game started we were all business and were much the better team.

"To finish fifth in a difficult division like this is a great achievement and all of our players should be proud of themselves."

Premier Division

Hemel Hempstead finished the season one place outside the play-offs in fifth after a comfortable 38-run win over Letchworth Garden City.

Having been put in, Brett Penny (40) and Hem Ilangaratne (27) put on 77 for the first wicket. No major contributions followed, but 36 from Gareth James and Jay O'Nien's 31 helped the hosts to 204 all out.

Hemel's bowlers meant business though. O'Nien removed opener Nathan Sprittles with his fouth ball and Penny dismissed Will Bates and Tim Graham in his first over to leave Letchworth in deep trouble at five for three after two overs.

The bowlers kept chipping away to wrap up victory, as only three opposition batsmen made it into double figures.

Division One

Although Kings Langley lost to promoted Botany Bay by seven wickets, they secured enough points to maintain their Division One status.

Batting first, Kings were in trouble at 61 for five but Ricky Mohamed (63) helped by staging a recovery as they reached 185 for nine, with good contributions also coming from Andrew Burnell (29 not out), Mark Brazier (27) and Matt Wells (25 not out).

Bay soon got on top of the Kings bowlers but were reduced to 69 for three. But opener Kasey Harris (93 not out) and Daniel Kastelik (57 not out) put on 117 to see their team to victory. Burnell took two for 29 and Matt Wells one for 36.

Division Two

Watford Town beat Ickleford by four wickets to remain in the thick of the promotion hunt going into the last weekend of the season.

Town are third in the table, five points adrift of St Margaretsbury, while leaders Old Albanian are also still within mathematical reach. However, the odds appear to be in the second-placed side's favour as they are at home to bottom-of-the-table Baldock tomorrow (Saturday), with Town ending their campaign against Northwood at Woodside.

The Ickleford openers got off to a steady start and Watford did not make the important breakthrough until Pavan Chesetty (four for 34) came on to bowl, producing his best spell of the year. Along with ever-reliable Muhammed Abid (three for 43), the home side, backed by some good fielding, restricted the score to 155 for nine.

Watford lost an early wicket but the partnership between Obbaid Shahid (57) and Gulfraz Riaz (36) meant the total was chased down without too much trouble.

Abbots Langley secured their safety by one position in the table after a nerve-jangling three-run win over Met Police Bushey.

Batting first, Abbots were in all sorts of trouble and at 55 for five, their situation looked bleak.

However, last-minute replacement Michael Burgess stood firm and powered his way to a belligerent 61. Helped by Mat Dunstone and Jack Bishop, who both made 17, they eventually mustered a modest 158 on a good track.

Met Police were equally adrift early on, but Langley let them back into the game. Steve Wallis (two for 38) and Jimmy Davies (two for 18) then swung the game back Abbots' way.

It all ended in a frantic finish, with the Police needing 13 to win with two wickets in hand and two overs to go. Abbots skipper Dunstone had other ideas though, finishing with five for 54 to confirm his side's status.

Two fine individual performances helped Northwood to a convincing 96-run win over Redbourn.

Dan Rodgers made 108 out of Wood's total of 185 all out. Redbourn were then unable to cope with James Lewis' pace as he took six for 42 as they slumped from 23 for four to 92 all out.

After a rocky couple of weeks, a game against bottom side Baldock enabled Hemel Hempstead Seconds to return to winning ways as they romped to a 131-run victory.

Skipper Graham Clark rediscovered some form with 51 and Matt Potton struck 63 as Hemel declared on 201 for six.

Baldock were in trouble from the moment they lost one of their openers off the first ball of the reply, as Billy May (three for 15), Adam Moulster (two for 32) and Richard Morton (four for 14) helped dismiss them for 70.

Division Three

There were celebrations on Saturday as Bushey got the win they needed to secure promotion and second place in the table after defeating Stevenage Seconds by five wickets.

Having elected to field, Farouk Khan (two for 19) took two early wickets, before another fine bowling partnership between the dependable Farrok Hameed and Derek Walsh. The latter produced a hostile spell, getting the ball to rise sharply off a good length to claim two for 28, but it was Hameed who once again stole the show with his latest five-for, taking five for 34 as Stevenage were dismissed for 146.

Having lost the consistent Chandan Sharma for a duck, Nomaan Ilyas and Naren Gogna put together a good partnership before the latter fell for 16. Another good stand followed, before Ilyas went for 32, but Lakhmir Singh and Mike Foley then dominated the bowling to see Bushey close to the finishing line.

Foley fell for 50, but Singh remained unbeaten on 34 to see his side into Division Two next season.

Division Four

Chorleywood Seconds banished any chance of being dragged back into a relegation fight with a tense 13-run win in a low-scoring game at London Colney.

Wood were put in to bat and struggled from the outset as they were bowled out for just 108 in the 39th over. Only Wood’s number three, Rohan Lee, was able to cope with some tight bowling as he hit 41 and only two more batsmen reached double figures. Wood though, were grateful for the hosts conceding 22 extras, which proved vital as the game went on.

The bowlers then stepped up to the mark and put London Colney under immediate pressure by reducing them to 15 for three early on, with both openers dismissed without scoring. Jamie Smithson was the star for Wood as he recorded his best figures for the club, taking six for 29 from his marathon 24 overs. It fell to spinner Harry Brooks (three for 21) to pick up the final wicket in a dramatic conclusion, with Colney 13 runs short of their target.

Division Five

It was tight run but Hemel Hempstead Thirds sneaked a win at Hatfield & Crusaders Seconds with one ball and one wicket remaining.

Batting first, Hatfield crawled along to 167 for five, thanks mainly to tight bowling from the experienced Phil Freebrey as he claimed one for 16 off 14 overs, including seven maidens.

But the hosts' bowlers ensured Hemel's batsmen were soon in the same lack of runs trouble. Chris Nuttall made 36, as did Gus Scott-Morriss, but it was skipper Anjam Khan's 64 not out at number six that was pivotal in shepherding his side to the run alongside last man Rory Fraser (four not out).

Division Six

Kings Langley Seconds secured a convincing 125-run victory over Botany Bay Seconds.

Tom Clark top-scored with 52 and other good contributions coming from Andrew Colquhoun (46) and Richard Whitlock (34), Kevin Rolfe (30) and Rob Clark (25 not out) enabled Kings to post 230 all out.

Kings then bowled their visitors out for 103, with Rob Clark claiming four for 24, Radleigh Tant two for 14 and Ben Joyce two for 32.

There was a fourth successive defeat for Abbots Langley Seconds after they were beaten by 42 runs by Rickmansworth Seconds.

Former Abbots player Jon Cox came back to haunt his old side with a fine 94, as Rickmansworth reached 208-8. George Aguis was the best bowler with three for 43, while Lewis Hodgins and Jerry Graves picked up two wickets apiece.

When Abbots batted, they lost wickets regularly, as only Kuldip Hayer (40) and Nakul Hirani (33) were able to make an impression on the bowlers, as their side were dismissed for 166.

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