NORTHWOOD began the defence of their Slazenger Chess Valley League Division One title with a convincing seven-wicket win over Berkhamstead on Sunday, June 16.

A fine-all-round bowling performance led by Wijesuriya, who picked up three wickets including the main run-scorer, helped Northwood dismiss Berkhamstead for a below-par 106.

Northwood lost just three wickets in pursuit of their target as Nigel Hussey, with 46, and Ranjit Latchman, unbeaten on 32, saw the Ducks Hilll-based side home with plenty to spare.

Chipperfield commenced their Chess Valley League season with a defeat away at North Mymms.

The mis-firing Chipperfield batting line-up again failed to produce the goods as they were dismissed for just 122, with 31 of the runs coming in a last-wicket stand between Ian Veith and Steve Durrant, who each scored 15.

Mymms had no such problems in their run chase with Byam, the Mymms' opener, being particularly severe to some wayward Chipperfield bowling as they coasted home by seven wickets.

Hemel Hempstead Town tasted defeat in the opening round of fixtures as they went down by five wickets at home to Wembley.

Only three batsmen managed to reach double figures as Hemel posted a sub-standard 120, with captain Duncan Howard top scoring with 35.

Five Hemel bowlers all picked up a wicket apiece, but it was not enough to stop Wembley's march to victory.

Meanwhile, in the corresponding second XI fixture Hemel romped to a ten-wicket win over their Wembley counterparts.

Carl Chapman took three wickets in Wembley's total of 124, which Nick Yates (58 not out) and 15-year-old Kevin West (55 not out) made light work of.

Kings Langley, last season's runners-up, opened their account with a four-wicket defeat of Tring Park.

Veteran bowlers Tony Thompson (4-44) and Roy Barter (3-32) helped restrict Tring to 179-9, which was reached in the last over thanks largely to a rapid 45 from Richardo Mohammed.

Meanwhile Watford Town got off to a winning start to their Chess Valley Division Two campaign with a two-wicket win over rivals Langleybury at Hunton Bridge.

Opting to bat first, Langleybury, forced to field a second XI due to their Village Championship commitments, only managed to muster 129, which was largely thanks to 38 from South African Aiden Grove and a patient 28 from Mick Dobner. Josh Costello picked up three wickets for Watford.

In Town's reply, a wayward opening spell from Lee Newman was punished by Safraz Iqbal, who scored a rapid 38, but Newman, a left-armer, eventually found his radar to pick up six wickets, including that of Si Sampat, who went for a duck.

Town were eventually guided to victory in the 37th over by a boundary-littered 34 not out from tail-ender Imran Shah.

The father and son partnership of Duncan and Matthew Watson bowled Chorleywood to a 54-win over Finchley.

Having set Finchley, making their debut in the competition, 177, thanks to Daniel Ret, 32, Duncan Watson, and 35 from Alex Hodgkinson, the Watson's took four wickets apiece, with 14-year-old Matthew's controlled leg spin presenting wicket-keeper Andy Orange with three stumpings to dismiss Finchley for 123.

In Division Three, Clarendon suffered their second defeat of the weekend with a 61-run reverse in their opening Chess Valley fixture with Preston.

Nigel Cousens' side claimed two early breakthroughs in the Preston innings, as Rory Howarth bagged two wickets in successive overs.

Cousens removed the other opener, and then tight spells from Marcus Coultrup (2-9) and Phil Wise (1-38) prevented the innings from gathering any momentum.

Chasing 156 for victory, Clarendon lost both openers early in their reply, but Cousens and Charlwood batted without alarm to move the score to 61.

The demise of Cousens brought about a familiar Clarendon collapse that saw them lose their last seven wickets for 50 runs and crash to defeat.

June 21, 2002 12:00