Harpenden Cricket Club
Weekly Update 18
16 down, two weeks to go
There is an unmistakeable golden hue to the setting sun this evening, and darkness is creeping forward relentlessly into the evening. After a glorious summer in which more overs have been lost to heat rather than rain, the melancholic tentacles of autumn are unmistakably clawing into the cricket season.
Much still to be decided before stumps are pulled for the final time, not least in various promotion and playoff races.
Our first team hosted Radlett in a 2nd vs 3rd clash in the Herts Premier League. The team won the toss and chose to chase after good recent performances with the bat.
A good all round bowling and fielding performance restricted Radlett to 253-9. The standout bowler was Alex Gosling who finished with 3-35, who bowled with real pace.
In response the team stared well and with 21 overs to go they were 131-2 needing 123 more. Unfortunately in the next few overs the side lost 3 wickets in quick succession. This turned out to be the turning point and the side ended up falling short on 210 a/o trying to go big at the end. James Latham top scored with 53.
The team ended up taking 10 points from the game leaving then needing to win one of their last 2 games to secure a playoff spot.
The 2nds hosted Sawbridgeworth 1sts at St George’s and chose to bat first on winning the toss. The comforting combo of Barney Francis (43) and Mike Howard (53) set up a solid platform, then handed the baton to Nick Reeves (76) and Tom Platts (46) to push us towards a really big score, before a hat-trick saw off the end of our innings a couple of over early, as we finished on 290 all out.
Sawbridgeworth got their chase off to a lightning start, before the introduction of John Card (2-40 off 10) put a squeeze on things in the middle overs. But that was as good as it got. We took the game deep - thanks is no small part to a gutsy, committed display on a treacherous outfield - but couldn’t find the wickets we needed to sufficiently slow their chase. We bowled without luck and whilst you’ve got to applaud Sawbridgeworth for chasing down our score for the loss of only four wickets, they did it with a staggering amount of playing-and-missing, particularly off our spinners. Still, we picked up 14 points to edge closer to safety.
The 3rds travelled to Langleybury and, having won the toss, elected to bowl on a pitch that was both green and dusty brown in patches! Their batting was slowly dismantled over 30 overs as we bowled them out for 94, pick of the bowling being Mohammad Umar’s 3 for 17 from his ten. George Thomas took the last three wickets, all clean bowled, in one fast straight over. Sam Calladine and Chris Karunaratne also bowled commendably.
Bryn Luffman was the mainstay of our reply with 36, supported by Simon Williams (17) and Matt Ball (17*) who finished a rather dull game with a big six!
Harpenden 4ths entertained Kings Langley at Rothamsted. On a decent strip our skipper won the toss and had no hesitation in opting to bat first. Unfortunately we struggled to keep the scoreboard ticking and by the time they made their first change we had already lost two wickets. However their first change bowler was also their game changer. Somewhat quicker than one’s average Div 8 bowler he ripped through our middle order, leaving us reeling at 42-6! Only some determined batting from Sho Dasgupta and Tom Huntley and a very accomplished 70 from Paul Eames eventually saw us post a below par, but potentially defendable 169-9 from our 40 overs.
Our confidence levels were lifted even higher when Harry Robinson found the edge of their openers bat on the second ball of their innings, a chance gobbled up by Hughes at first slip. Enter Mr game changer, who followed up his earlier five for with an equally rapid 50 from just 20 balls. Despite George Chadney bowling said batsman soon after with an absolute jaffa, we never really bowled tight enough for long enough, and despite having them 7 down they passed our total with some four and a half overs to spare!
Having just looked at the league table I see that fortune has shone on us and results have certainly gone our way this weekend such that we remain in third place (by a single point) and have closed the gap on second place to just 34 points. With just two games left everything is still to play for! Bring on next Saturday!
The 5ths were away to Markyate and Luton Town, who are 2nd in the league and pushing for promotion. Harpenden lost the toss and Markyate chose to bat . We did not start too well but managed to keep them down to 185 with best bowling spells from Pat Bissett 1-21, Dave Talbot - 2-22 and Alex Card - 4-44, but dropping 6 catches on the way did not help our cause.
We managed to start off well but fell short with being bowled out for 113 - Field 29 and Card not out on 18. Still, 12 points means we are 4th with a potentially decisive game against the team placed 3rd in the league to look forward to.
The 6ths were in the park today, as Harpenden hosted 4 home matches!
We played top of the table Hatfield Crusader 3s, lost the toss again and fielded. We bowled, fielded, and caught very well restricting them to 190 for 8. Henry Pollard-Beeton taking an extraordinary catch and Charlie Moxham getting 4-46.
Our chase was generally good but we had a flurry of key wickets in the middle and fell just short at 187 for 6. The Moxham brothers nearly saw us home at the end. (Krish Kalathil 55, Simon Caunce 50 and Charlie Moxham 37 not out). Great team effort, and we’re still 3rd in the table.
Today, Sunday, our women’s team made the short trip t0 Redbourn.Batting first we struggled to get going, only Kelsey Toner with a hard earned 30 impacted the score as we closed on just 63 for 6 in our 20 overs.
We bowled OK, but in truth never had enough runs to defend, Redbourn winning by 5 wickets. Abi Hitchen was the pick of the bowlers with 2 for 8.
This was our final game of the season, but there is lots to look forward too with some planned coaching improvements in the pipeline for next season. Women’s cricket is going from strength to strength across the country, and Harpenden plans to be at the heart of that growth.
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