Admiral performance from Akbar after a stunning spell with the ball at Letchworth
- Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO
Fahim Akbar produced one of those never to be forgotten performances as Shenley Village kept the titanic battle at the top of the Herts Cricket League Championship bubbling nicely.
He finished with 7-52 after a devastating opening spell that saw the Villagers win by 75 runs at Letchworth Garden City.
The result leaves Shenley second in the table, 10 points behind leaders Hoddesdon with Reed a further seven points behind following their loss to Hemel Hempstead.
Skipper Lloyd Willingham won the toss for the visitors to Whitethorn Lane and chose to bat first.
It seemed a decent decision as they made 235-9 in their 60 overs, thanks in the main to an excellent 81 off 78 balls from opener Charlie Thurston, putting on 83 with his captain for the second wicket.
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They were also helped by a fine fifth-wicket partnership of 76 between Morgan Stanley (36) and Matty Evans (37).
But all that was just a preamble to Akbar's big day.
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Without seasoned bowlers Kris Nissen and Kiel van Vollenhoven, he opened the bowling for Shenley alongside Richard Turpie and the pair bowled good economic overs to hold Letchworth to just 25 after 10 overs.
The hosts used the 11th over to stretch their legs, taking nine runs off Turpie who had conceded just six in the previous five overs.
But on 34-0 Akbar struck, trapping William Aitkenhead leg before in a wicket maiden over.
Just to show that was no fluke he took three similar dismissals in three balls to claim a hat-trick before bowling George Denman, all four wickets coming in the same over.
He was 5-15 after seven overs and in over number eight he bagged a sixth wicket, leaving Letchworth on 40-6 at tea.
His six wicket haul had come in a 12-ball spell and had been at the cost of just one run.
And he took a seventh wicket shortly after the resumption to be 7-23 after 10 overs and Letchworth on 50-7.
They took their foot off the throat and the home side came within severs overs of forcing a draw before Turpie returned to claim the last wicket and leave Letchworth on 160.
Leverstock Green provide the opposition on Saturday back at the Cricket Centre.