Wheathampstead lose opening day thriller to Baldock

Wheathampstead lost an opening day thriller against Baldock in Division 3A, with the game going down to the final over.

Chasing Wheathampstead’s 169, Andrew French and Julian Muir batted with composure to put Baldock within six runs of victory, with one over remaining. They only needed one more ball to cap of a superb eight-wicket partnership.

Todd Houlahan was the catalyst in Wheathampstead’s batting attack. Last year’s top scorer for the seconds, hit a brisk 55 in an 87-run stand with Alistair Sykes for the fifth wicket.

It was a much-needed respite for the hosts after Matt Corran went for two to a well-placed yorker, Chris Martin was late on his first ball and captain Sam Ledger was gone for 10.

Tim Dean removed the dangerous Houlahan LBW and Sykes followed soon after.

David Dabare upped the run-rate with a quick-fire 25 before he was caught swinging for the rope to end Wheathampstead’s innings.

Sanjay Chandarama punished the opening bowling attack with a number of cover drives.

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The spinners came on and stemmed the tide of runs quickly with Keith Martin and Dabare taking two wickets apiece while surrendering 18 and 21 respectively from their 10 overs.

Martin entered proceedings and, although found it hard to control the swinging ball, took three wickets, with two clipping the top of off stump.

That brought French and Muir together and, with the new format meaning draws are no available at this stage of the season, they batted Baldock to victory.