While Hoddesdon’s 3rd and 4th teams were rained off, Hoddesdon’s 1st and 2nd teams extended their winning ways in the League on Saturday. At the end of the first five weeks, both sides have won all five of their matches and sit at the top of their respective divisions. Having put paid to Hemel Hempstead the previous Saturday at Lowfield with ease, the Firsts travelled to Letchworth and found themselves batting first, having lost the toss, in match reduced by rain to 42 overs aside.
The difficulty of the wicket was reflected in the innings of in-form Jayden Broodryk who, in four previous innings had scored 410 runs for twice out scored at a rapid rate. On this occasion he laboured to 12 off 37 balls as Hoddesdon struggled to 56- 3, the equally in-form Rob Walters departing for 38. With the top order having failed for the first time this season, it remained to be seen how the middle order would fare. Will Steward and Todd Sturdy did not disappoint. Initially with great care and then with increasing freedom and authority, they combined to take Hoddesdon to a total of 226 -3 off the 42 overs, in an unbroken partnership of 170.
A total of 226 seemed way above par, at least it did before Letchworth’s openers had put on 50 in 7 overs. But thereafter Hoddesdon began to wrestle back control, first through economical spells from the spinners Walters (1-26 off 9 overs) and Harry Mason (1-34 off 9) and then through the medium-pacers Micky Burrell (1-41 off 8) and Max Murray (1-43 off 7), the latter pair performing brilliantly in the final ten overs to keep Letchworth in check. At the end of the innings, Letchworth had fallen short by 10 with seven wickets down. This was a game in which Hoddesdon had been put under pressure but showed the resilience to come through.
Back at Lowfield an extraordinary game unfolded as the 2nd team took on Luton Town & Indians. Batting first on a good wicket kept dry from heavy rain, Hoddesdon found themselves in trouble at 39-5, victims of a combination of poor shots and some surprising umpiring decisions. However, Craig Handy with a magnificent 107 and Shaun Brown (39) effected major repair works in a stand of 150. This allowed the tail, notably Louis Purves (29 not out) and Matt Young (25 not out) to wag. Hoddesdon’s 247 -7 represented an almighty come-back. Luton Town & Indians responded aggressively and at 160-2 Hoddesdon’s total seemed inadequate. However, Joe Duke (3-45) and Adam Sturdy (3-41), supported by the admirable Matt Young (1-30 off 9), led a remarkable fight-back and, as the pressure intensified, the opposition crumbled to fall a dozen short. The Seconds are developing a useful habit of winning tight games!
On Sunday the 1st team lost in a tight game in the 3rd Round of the National Club Competition at Finchley having won relatively easily in previous rounds against Winchmore Hill and Southgate. Choosing to bat first, Finchley scored 254-7 off their allotted 40 overs, with Jake Milton (105) and Hassan Khan (70) the major contributors. Hoddesdon were always in contention for as long as Jayden Broodryk was at the crease and in imperious form. But when he fell for 116 of just 93 balls, caught on the boundary, 57 were needed off the final 9 overs. Despite the efforts of Todd Sturdy (30), the tail could not get us over the line. A couple of run-outs did not help as Hoddesdon fell short by 15!