Harpenden Cricket Club
Weekly Update 12
Harpenden go 7 from 8 on another glorious weekend
The sun continues to shine ever more strongly, and readers with longer memories might recall the summer of 1976, and images of Michael Holding pounding across the totally parched Oval outfield as he destroyed England with a ferocious 14 wicket haul. It feels very un-English to look forward to Saturday’s Summer Party with almost guaranteed glorious weather. I understand over 100 tickets have been sold, and it should be a wonderful occasion. I’ll see you by the Gin stand.
Another highly successful weekend for the Club. Five of the six Saturday teams were victorious, as were the Women’s team, and last and certainly least, news of a comfortable win for Harpenden Vets – our over 50s team.
Let’s get the sole defeat out of the way. Harpenden 1s were visiting league leaders Potters Bar and on a hot day we lost the toss and were in the field. It was a tough day all day in the field on a flat wicket and a fast outfield which enabled PB to set 293 for 6 off their 60 overs. The bowlers put in a good shift in tough conditions and Alex Gosling had the most impressive figures with 3 for 38 off his 10 overs.
With 55 overs to chase the runs the team had a lot to do. We scored at a good rate throughout the chase but regular wickets pegged the team back. In the end the team had to try and defend for the draw and unfortunately couldn’t hang on and were bowled out with 2 overs to spare. The team finished 239 all out. Standout performers with the bat were Chad Barrett with 63 and Nick Lamb, who played well but was left high and dry not out on 39.
The 2nds hosted St Margaretsbury 1sts at The Common and nobly invited the oppo to spend the first three hours of the afternoon fielding in scorching conditions. We got off to a good start, with Usman Farooq and Dom Tulett putting on 72 for the first wicket, but after Ussie fell for 34, we lost wickets at regular intervals, slipping to 129-5. Tulett and Ollie Tuck (24) added 56 for the sixth wicket, but a competitive total again looked out of reach as we stumbled past the 200 mark, seven down in the 43rd over. However a rapid eighth wicket stand of 78 pushed us to a healthy 284-8. Tom Atkinson finished 21no and Dom Tulett fell in the final over for 150.
St Margaretsbury’s reply got off to a similar start to our own innings, the new ball bowlers having the toughest role on the day. We quickly moved to take the pace off the ball, and Jack Doyle (2-34) broke an opening stand of 67 early on in a typically miserly spell. That brought the oppo’s skipper, former Northants pro David Murphy, to the crease for the key passage of the game. Max Latter, not fussed by reputations, bowled a perfect leg-break to snick off Murphy for 21, well held by Tom Platts behind the stumps. Latter then ran through their middle order, knocking the wind out of their chase, finishing with a very impressive and well-deserved 5-34, before Usman Farooq (3-5) mopped up the tail to give us a hugely satisfying 134-run win.
A little editorial context is needed here. Dom Tulett is our second team correspondent, and as well as crafting superb match reports, clearly he can bat a bit too! It’s been a summer for outstanding batting performances already, and Dom joins the likes of Latham, Bradley, Newton and Sambrook on the proverbial honours board. Played Dom!
The 3s were away to Holtwhites Trinibus, and were invited to field after losing the toss.
On paper we had an extremely strong looking bowling line up, and it did indeed prove too strong for the oppo on the pitch as well in restricting them to 153…everyone bowled well but the pick was Guy Watts who showed his class with an almost faultless 4 for 15 from his 10.
Concerns the pitch might completely break up in the second innings were alleviated by Josh Sambrook and Phool Abbas, who both scored classy unbeaten 60s, to see us home to a resounding 9 wicket win.
After winning the toss on a dry looking St George, the 4ths elected to bat first and posted an excellent 234-7. Ollie Hubbard led the way with 74 ably support by 26 from Michael Voigt, 31 from Matt Marven and 22 from Harry Robinson.
Some powerful hitting at the end from debutant James Wood who made 42 including 23 from the last over even more impressive given he’d taken a painful blow (you can guess where) in the penultimate over.
A strong bowling performance saw Totteridge Millhillians reduced to 44-5 and 110-9 with a number of players remarking that it would be good to get to the bar early. Unfortunately the opposition had decided to save their best batsman for last, a tactic I know has been used by many captains or at least that’s what our number 11s consistently tell us. A 51 run last wicket partnership was broken by a smart low catch at cover from Chris Karunaratne and they were all out for 161.
The bowling was led by James Wood’s 4-25 supported by Harry Robinson’s 2-20 and Alex Card’s 2-36.
30 points and back up to 3rd in the table.
The 5s played Stevenage 5s at Graveley CC, a charmingly bucolic setting nestled in the fields above the village. Skipper Simon Caunce won the toss and shrewdly elected to field first on what looked like a minefield of a pitch. And so it proved. The bowling unit keep to their task, never allowing the oppo to exploit the short and eccentric boundaries and parched outfield. Everyone bowled well but Dave Talbot (2-27) and JT (3-25) dipped their bread in the gravy late on to help restrict the oppo to 125-8.
Our reply didn’t get off to the best of starts as the ball started to misbehave and keep horribly low. 21-4 became 59-6 and it was proper squeaky bum time. But Mick Eames was playing an intelligent and decisive knock (39*), keeping out the good balls and cashing in on the loose stuff. He was ably supported by Nick Bailey (24) and JT (12*) and from 96-8 we hauled ourselves over the line to win by 2 wickets.
The 6s were at home against Baldock 3s, looking for revenge after our first day defeat. We lost the toss but unexpectedly they chose to field with 10 players! We managed to post 230 in 39 overs with Henry Pollard-Beeton scoring 74 and 30+s from Krish and Andy Elledge. They had a couple of good stands during their chase, but our bowling was super with 31 overs from our colts today. The wickets were shared around and we bowled them out for 196. Top effort again in that heat and very short boundary.
On Sunday Harpenden Women were away to Abbotts Langley. Captained this week by Kelsey Toner who provided great support and guidance to another very young side. Harpenden won the toss and elected to bat. Our opening batters were Sami Renwick and Lauren Rickard (both under 15s) Facing some, at times, erratic bowling they formed a superb partnership and had 111 on the board before Lauren retired injured. Sami stayed in the entire innings and was 56 not out, superb! Harpenden finished on 175 for 1.
Abbotts Langley went into bat and our bowlers gave away very little in the way of extras., with the home team mustering only 84-4. Great bowling from all. Well done to Lucy Evans who stepped up last minute to keep wicket. Harpenden dominated the match from start to finish. A brilliant performance all round.
The final report of the weekend comes from the Common, where our over 50s team entertained our counterparts from Redbourn. Batting first on a glorious afternoon in a 30 overs per side contest, Harpenden posted an intimidating total of 215 for 4, with runs for Messrs Sprowson, Francis, Josephs and Bailey. In reply Redbourn never looked like running us close, and finished on xxx for x. Wickets for all those who bowled, with ultra veteran Paul Cramer arguably the pick of the bunch. Given we’re talking about a bunch of opinionated over fifty year old men, you can be sure that claim will be contested by the other wicket-takers (Taylor, Latham and Talbot).
We may not be able to run as fast as we once could (although Whiteley was pretty rapid around the boundary), we may not be able see all that much, but my word we had fun and thoroughly enjoyed our outing on the Common. Thanks also to club stalwart Mike Platt for a stoical umpiring stint in the heat.