Saints hold off Letchworth

HCPL Division Two (East) St Albans 204-5 beat Letchworth 200-9 by five wickets A SUPERB individual performance from Murtaza Hussain saw St Albans record their first league victory since the second week of the season. Letchworth won the toss and elected t

HCPL Division Two (East)

St Albans 204-5 beat Letchworth 200-9 by five wickets

A SUPERB individual performance from Murtaza Hussain saw St Albans record their first league victory since the second week of the season.

Letchworth won the toss and elected to bat they were rewarded with a good start with John Hilliard and Tom Simmons looking comfortable against the Saints' opening bowlers.


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After eight overs Surrey star Hussain was introduced into the attack.

He had little success early on with both openers playing him comfortably, especially Simmons who hit him straight back over his head for six as the pair moved on to 92 without loss, before St Albans skipper Martin Jones brought himself on and snapped up three quick wickets just before lunch.

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Jones had Hilliard caught behind for 40 and Letchworth skipper March followed in identical fashion for six two overs later before Seb Franke-Mattecka padded up and was given lbw without scoring.

Five minutes before lunch Simmons tried to again lift Hussain back over his head and was caught and bowled for 47 leaving the visitors to go to lunch at 110-4 having lost four wickets for eighteen runs.

After lunch Michael Neser and Richard Walsh took their partnership to 41 and looked to be restoring Letchworth's position before Walsh called for an ambitious single and was run out for nine.

Dom Chatfield joined Neser and again looked very solid before Neser became Hussain's second wicket for 49 and he claimed two more quick wickets, having Sam Booth lbw for 0 and Adam Jenkins stumped, also for 0.

Chatfield stood firm with 26* and, although Ed Morse was run out for three by a direct hit from the boundary, the Garden City managed to reach 200-9 off their 60 overs.

In reply St Albans really struggled early on against a hostile opening spell from Morse and, with the score on 14, he struck twice in two balls, having Douglas Muzawazi and then Matt Barnes caught behind by Booth.

The turning point came two overs later when his first ball was gloved high over the keeper for four by Hussain and the sixth ball found the outside edge, but Booth was unable to hang on to a difficult chance low to his right.

Hussain made Letchworth pay as he helped opener Ed Hart to add 103 before the introduction of Chatfield's off spin caused a collapse.

First he had Hart lbw for 60 and two balls later Kyle Sharp was caught behind. Then with the score on 136 he bowled Jim Chaudry for three and Letchworth were back in the match.

However, Phil Caley came in at seven and, with Hussain, knocked off the total with few alarms.

The only suspense at the end was whether Hussain would reach his century, but he eventually fell one short, being not out on 99 as the home side secured the points.

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