The latest round of fixtures in the Herts Cricket League had its usual ups and downs - although for two youngsters of Preston, the weekend was most definitely on the better side of good.

Oscar Welch hit the first 50 of his senior career at the tender age of 13 as Preston fourths earned victory over Ickleford thirds by seven wickets.

The knock, showing plenty of maturity and class, is believed to make him the youngest to reach the milestone in club history.

His performance was matched by another youngster, Dillon Beattie shining with the ball to take 4-36, and importantly taking some key wickets.

Ickleford made 168-7 batting first, a partnership of 90 between James Dermont (52) and David Baker (39) the mainstay of the innings.

However, the reply was reached in 37 overs, Welch finishing on 58 not out with Preston skipper Dan Phillips adding 38.

Elsewhere a Knebworth Park youngster was also having an excellent day on a personal level.

Louis Hobbs, an U16 fast bowler, grabbed a hat-trick for the seconds on his way to 4-37, Harry Byron also chipping in with 3-32.

Their efforts weren't enough though as Park lost away to Aldenham by 83 runs.

Knebworth's first team had a disappointing result too, their five wicket loss to Kings Langley dropping them off the top of the Division Two B table and down to fifth.

At 88-3 after 20 overs they were sitting comfortably thanks to sound contributions from the openers Louis Champion and Haydon Bartlett-Tasker and a hard-fought 32 from Rob Morley.

But thereafter wickets kept falling regularly and they limped to a way below par 144.

And in spite of a determined bowling effort, Kobie and Alex Richmond each getting two wickets, the Park couldn't break the back of the visitors batting.

The thirds were well beaten by nine wickets away to Hitchin, Ryan Hassall (53) and Trent Hildebrandt (23) their top scorers, Andy Beaton getting three wickets for Hitchin with 50s for Stuart Gadsden and Ben Hammond.

But Knebworth fourths won for the second week running, beating previously unbeaten St Margaretsbury by 10 runs.

Ian Pickering scored 40 while Dave Mantle claimed 3-24.

Stevenage are still searching for their first win of the season in Division Two A, beaten this time by five wickets at home to Berkhamsted with Conor Crosland top scoring on 41.

Ickleford suffered a loss away to Bushey in Division Three A, going down by 77 runs.

The home side batted first and made a very respectable 264-9 with Sedat Sheraz's 3-42 the pick of the Ickleford bowlers, although Sam Draper managed 2-36.

Ickleford then had to bat with a man down as George Crouch needed to go to hospital for work on a dislocated shoulder.

And while he is safely on the mend, his team-mates could only reach 187-9, having recovered from being 7-4.

Eswar Krishnamurthy got 31, Sedat 34 and Draper 40, but the best of them was Charlie Jupp's well-timed 53.

The seconds lost by two wickets to Hatfield & Crusaders.

Adam Ross (31), Tom Willoughby (22) and Richard Brown (21) all got runs but the 132 they reached was not enough, even if Mark Schumann took 3-19 and Michael Day 3-28.

The Sunday team lost to Oaklands.

Richard Peareth got 34 but was edged out by 38 from Harry Saunders as top scorer in Ickleford's 160.

Saunders also took two wickets, as did U13 Leo Chan and Peareth, but the opposition got over the line eight down, plus a retirement, in the 35th over.

Datchworth are up to third in Division Three A after a six-wicket win at Letchworth seconds.

They had the runs of Luke Bennett (108) and Tom Vits (72) to thank for their success.

Third is the same position that Preston find themselves in the Championship after a commanding 137-run win over St Albans.

Both skipper Jake George (97) and vice captain Ed Wharton (93) fell short of centuries but Preston still got up to a dominant 320-4, Justin Powick also chipping in with 65.

St Albans struggled to push on in reply and they ended the day on 193, Peter Murrell scooping 3-56 with Wharton and Luke Marsden each getting two wickets.

Chris Cole walks off after making 63 for Preston against Reed. Picture: PRESTON CCChris Cole walks off after making 63 for Preston against Reed. Picture: PRESTON CC (Image: Preston Cricket Club)

Preston seconds tied with Reed in Division Four B, both sides ending on 237-7.

Chris Cole got 63 for Preston and young Jake Williamson manged 46 as they batted first. 

They felt the score was competitive but perhaps slightly under-par.

Reed opener Stuart Smith almost punished them, making 96 before falling to the second ball of the final over.

With him at the crease, Reed had seemingly moved into pole position, needing just 10 from the final two overs.

His departure left Reed needing five from the final four balls but in the end they needed a leg bye on the final delivery to snatch the tie.

The thirds lost by five wickets to Harpenden, Callum Blair making 55 and evergreen John Garnham, promoted from the fourths, crashing a classy 96 in a total of 200-3.

However, Harpenden's opener Anuj Behl made 101 and supported by a decent 69 from Oliver Jones, they won in the 39th over.

Preston also exited the National Village Cup at the regional final stage, losing by nine wickets to Reed as they were bowled out for 58.

Letchworth lost by 44 runs at Hoddesdon, leaving them ninth in the table.

Joe Davidson took 3-24 but they were the bowled out for 182 in the 48th over, David Sprittles having got to 60.

Hitchin were in the winner's circle again after beating Redbourn in Division One by four wickets.

Sam Rippington set the platform with 5-34, at one stage leaving the visitors at 23-4, although they did recover slightly to finishing on 191.

An opening partnership of 58 from Sanjay Chandarana and Luke Day was backed up by a superb 73 not out from Shaftab Khalid, who remained resolute as wickets fell at the other end, guiding them home in the 44th over.

It was a good day for Hitchin as only the sixths lost in the five matches played.

The seconds won away to Leverstock Green, puttin on 240-9 with another substantial innings of 94 by Rory Ingram.

And the home side were never really in the hunt, bowled out for 167 with three wickets each for Ben Bayley and James Barker.

And aside from the fourths win at Knebworth, the thirds tied their game at Harpenden Dolphins.

The hosts got to 118-9 in their 40 overs, three wickets coming for Pete Bell.

In reply Hitchin felt comfortable at 110-5, skipper Jamie Clarke making 36, but getting the final 19 runs proved difficult with wickets falling in a rush, leaving the final two batsmen, Elliott Oughton and Lewis Chandler, to get the scores level.

Baldock finally got off the mark with a two-wicket win at Ampthill in Division Six A. 

They held their hosts to 147, three wickets coming for each of Tim Dean, James Rist and James McCall, and Baldock got home after a fine unbeaten 58 from stalwart Alistair Jones, his first half-century for seven years.

McCall with one not out channelled his inner Jack leach to help add 33 for the ninth wicket.