Burger takes five as Radlett claim historic win at Banbury

Home Counties Premier Cricket League Radlett 149-10 (54.3) Banbury 100-10 (51.5) RADLETT delivered another fantastic team display to defeat Banbury away from home for the first time in HCPL history. Conditions on Saturday were ideal for bowling

Home Counties Premier Cricket League

Radlett 149-10 (54.3) Banbury 100-10 (51.5)

RADLETT delivered another fantastic team display to defeat Banbury away from home for the first time in HCPL history.

Conditions on Saturday were ideal for bowling and when Benji Hector, the Banbury skipper, won the toss he had no doubts about bowling first. Radlett's opening combination of James Lewis and Graham Dill seemed to have things under control and, at 30 without loss after seven overs, the decision to bowl first by Banbury looked at a bad one.

The introduction of ex-England player Paul Taylor to the attack changed that feeling very quickly as he picked up two wickets from his first three balls. The situation went from bad to worse for Radlett when they found themselves 78 for 7 at lunch, Taylor being the chief destroyer with five wickets.

The break could not have come at a better time for Radlett as it gave them time to reflect and decide how they were going to get themselves out of trouble and post a score that could be defended. It was the turn of new recruit Felix Walker and the young Mike Crocker to show what they could do.

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Together the two of them batted with great maturity and a good understanding of the game situation. They took the score to 136, with a partnership of 58 before Walker was caught for a well-played 44 at short leg by a ball that bounced off a length. The next two wickets did not last very long and the innings came to an end with the score on 149, Mike Crocker finishing on a well played 22 not out. Taylor picked up 7-18 for Banbury.

Radlett would have believed that they could defend the low total as the wicket was assisting the seamers and the outfield was thick and wet.

Middlesex all-rounder Gareth Berg took the new ball along with his skipper Shane Burger and together the two of them bowled a magnificent opening spell, conceding only 21 off 16 overs and taking four Banbury wickets in the process.

Rob Watson was brought into the attack and kept the scoring to a minimum from the one end while Burger toiled from the other. Watson did a fantastic job conceding only five runs from his five overs before Paul Barker replaced him and struck almost immediately with two wickets to leave Banbury at 39 for 7 at tea after 33 overs.

After tea, the runs moved along slowly and the Radlett bowlers kept hard at work. Skipper Burger brought himself back on to finish the innings and picked up figures of 13.5 overs, five maidens, with five wickets for just 16 runs. The Radlett skipper said: "It is never easy defending a low total but we believed as a team that we could win and it was great to see everyone working together. The spirit is great and I am really chuffed that everyone contributed to another great win."

The win moves Radlett into second place on the HCPL table, a mere 10 points behind last season's champions Oxford.

Radlett will look to continue their superb form when they take on impressive Hertfordshire rivals Welwyn Garden City at Cobden Hill on Saturday with an 11am start.

Radlett II took 30 points again on Saturday when they defeated Abbots Langley at Cobden Hill to rise to third position in Herts Division Two.

Abbots were probably unfortunate to run into one of the strongest Second XIs that anyone could remember Radlett fielding with most of the side having played senior representative cricket for minor or first class counties in their career.

Abbots chose to bat first on a damp pitch and there was something in it for the Radlett bowlers throughout. Richard Cameron bowled very economically without much luck and it was Stuart Brown who profited at the other end, picking up 3-28 off his 12 over spell.

John Barr was introduced to find some swing and produced a great nut to claim his single victim. It was then time to turn to the spin of Kabir Toor and the returning Haydn 'H-Bomb' Smith. Middlesex youngster Toor claimed two wickets almost immediately and Smith was probably the pick of the bowlers on the day with figures of 2-9 from nine overs. Cameron returned to mop up the tail and claim two well deserved wickets.

Chasing just 129 to win, Radlett were away quickly with Jim Chaudry and Cameron capitalising on anything loose. Abbots worked hard in the field and Cameron fell for a well-made 64, leaving Barr (16 not out) and Robinson (9 not out) to guide the side to victory on 130-3 off 22.1 overs.

Radlett II will look to continue their fine recent form when they go away to Northwood Town on Saturday.

In a day of extraordinary games, Radlett III put on a fine show away from home at West Herts II in Division Four.

It was humid and overcast, with a damp strip, so winning the toss was likely to be crucial with the slow wicket difficult to score on before quickening later for the second batting side.

Radlett lost the toss and were inserted. Ashley Tillet hit 12 from his first eight deliveries on this slow wicket, then Sheilen Patel hit 23 at almost a run a ball. At the other end, Dom Ingram grafted for 21 and Lee Fortis batted well again with Amjad (23), unluckily run out when he could have taken the score up to 200.

Radlett managed only 149 all out from 52 overs, probably 20 short of what they wanted as a minimum.

When Radlett bowled, Fortis was almost unplayable, even when the wicket was drying, but with a couple of missed catches, West Herts got to 90 for 2 chasing 150, with 25 overs left.

Fortis (3-61) and Prabhu Arumugam (3-25) bowled a few maidens, pressure built, lofted shots became catches, and West Herts crumbled to 118-7.

From a Radlett viewpoint some good, sharp fielding proved crucial as Josh Rose and Simon Gray were outstanding. Fortis, bowling superbly, could have taken eight wickets. Josh Rose (1-22) also beat the bat consistently and Ross Carpenter was unlucky not to get wickets. West Herts finished on 142-7 off 48 overs for the draw.