Harpenden Cricket Club
2023 Weekly Update 16
First teams keep up top of the table pressure, seconds bounce back
Happily we’ve enjoyed some better weather, and there was a full weekend of cricket to report upon. Here goes!
The first team were away at Radlett needing a win to keep the hopes of winning the league alive. Skipper Jimmy Latham lost the toss and we were inserted into the field. Radlett started strongly being 50-0 off 9 overs, before a quick couple of wickets steadied the ship. Consistent wickets and good bowling meant the batsmen were never able to get going on a somewhat difficult surface, which resulted in us bowling the opposition out for 204. Arthur Garrett picking up 3 wickets with Andrew Neal and Harry Seagrave both getting 2 each.
Unlike the usual good team starts we have seen this year, we found ourselves in a sticky situation at 12-3 off 7 overs. With a small rebuild required, Chris Swanson and Danyaal Khalid batted sensibly up to drinks before Chris was eventually dismissed leaving us 84-4. Andrew Neal counterattacked getting a fast 36 before himself being dismissed leaving the team needing 59 runs to win with 5 wickets remaining. Usman Farooq came to the crease, taking the game away from the opposition with important boundaries ending up on 34* off 23 balls. Meanwhile, a very mature and impressive innings from Danyaal was the main reason for our successful chase, ending up 97* meaning we won the game by 5 wickets with 6 overs remaining! Two games to go and still only 5 points off top.
HCC women hosted Luton women on Sunday, hoping to put the disappointment of the Lionesses defeat to bed. We batted first and after an early loss, Hannah Stobbs & Willa Stanley built an excellent stand of 170, Willa perishing on 49, 1 short of her maiden half century. Hannah completed her 2nd ton of the season, finishing on 113 not out, as we posted 194.
We had a fabulous cream tea in the interval, with home made scones, cakes & jam a plenty.
Luton never threatened our reply and the game was wrapped up by Edie Stanley, taking a hat-trick as we bowled them out for 101. We remain unbeaten and top of the table with 1 game to go.
The 2nds, in desperate need of a win as relegation fears grew, welcomed Stevenage to The Common and promptly lost the toss. Stevenage chose to bat first, which looked a bold choice as new ball bowler Joel Stewart nipped the ball past the openers’ edges three times in the first over. In his second over he found the edge, twice, and good teamwork in the cordon secured our first wickets. Stewart (4-44) bowled with control and threat throughout his opening spell, with James Wood (1-52) an excellent foil at the other end. With the pitch favouring seam, skipper Reeves scoured the line-up for a right-arm fast medium bowler and spotted Ollie Tuck. Tuck didn’t really go in for the ‘fast’ part, but he did pick up a wicket in a useful spell of 1-4 in three overs as Stevenage stumbled to 72-6. Spin triplets Preet Bhawan (3-34), Sam Calladine (1-34) and Ben Griggs (0-35) then took over, bowling with control as the pitch flattened out and the visitors tried to fight their way back into the game. They succeeded, reaching a competitive 210 all out.
Openers Ollie Tuck (20) and Dom Tulett (20) got the chase off to a solid start, but after both fell a collapse saw us crumble from 51-1 to 51-5. That became 68-6 and we feared a heavy defeat, all the talk turning to how many batting points we might be able to scramble. Jack Killen and Joel Stewart had other plans however, batting watchfully, then purposefully, then fluently, then majestically. Fear realised it wasn’t welcome and racked it off; hope turned up for a bit, but quickly scarpered; belief rocked into town. Jack and Joel were climbing the hill. Stewart passed fifty with boundaries all around the ground before Killen notched his own half-century. Batting points were forgotten in the pursuit of the full 30 for the win. The opposition, previously full of buzz and chirp, fell silent as the partnership soared past 100. With evening shadows stretching out across The Common, Killen (55no) hit the winning boundary to seal a 144-run stand and a vital four-wicket win. Stewart followed up his immaculate bowling display with an exceptional unbeaten 89. Not a bad day for him.
The 3s had a long drive to North London to take on Northampton Exiles. It’s a mystery what they had been exiled for, arriving at the ground though we suspected it might be for crimes against Cricket pitch preparation.
We inserted the oppo on winning the toss and bowled them out for 58…Pat Bissett finding the weeds on a length masterfully in picking up his maiden 5-fer! 5-30 from his 8 overs - well bowled Pat! Harry Robinson chipped in again with 3 for 8.
The chase was a struggle but we managed to get over the line 6 wickets down. Anuj Behl top scoring with 18, which was as good as a fifty on an actual cricket pitch, and Michael Smith finishing things off with 13*. Not one for the purists, but 30 points nonetheless!
So after four reports, we have four wins. Can our 4th team join the party?
In much need of points, Harpenden IV’s entertained 2nd in the league Dunstable III’s on Saturday. A perfectly prepared batting strip belied the fact that the outfield looked more like a wild meadow, with grass so long one could hardly see the boundary markers! A thousand apologies later and we had lost the toss and we had been inserted. To say the outfield made things difficult was an understatement! 2’s, 3’s and 4’s were all 1’s or 2’s, and had it not been for a couple of gritty knocks from Matt Marven (35)and Simon Caunce (31) we would have struggled to make the giddy heights of 95 all out in 35.2 overs.
We guessed we may have been 30 or 40 light of par given the strength of their batting, but we resolved to get out there and throw everything into earning a few points!
When Jo Gill bowled their top bat 3rd ball up and John Kerley opened his account first ball next over, we began to smell an upset! John ended up the pick of our bowlers (8-2-17-4) as wicket after wicket fell.
Jo Gill (7-1-12-2), Alex Card (4.1-0-17-2) and the Skip (3-0-6-1) all bowled incredibly tightly and with Ceri Luffman as sharp as ever behind the stumps and H “bucket hands” Hussain snapping up several catches and stumpings between them, we wrapped the 30 points up in just 22.1 overs, conceding just 52 runs!!
It was probably more than we had hoped for at the half way stage but it just shows what is achievable with positive attitude! This victory leaves us on the brink of safety for this season, but we need to make sure of this with two more strong performances in the remaining weeks. We go again next Saturday!
So that’s five from five…..
A 5ths team with a family feel (3 fathers playing with their offspring) made the long trip over to Kimpton on Saturday. An uncovered wicket meant whoever won the toss was likely to bowl. Unfortunately for us Kimpton won the toss and put us in.
It was tough going early on and at the mid point of our innings we were 53-3, but we kicked on well in the second half to close on a creditable 157-8. Major contributions from Jim Gill with 47 and Paul Eames with 35 and other chipping in around them.
Going out to field we knew we need to bowl and field well to defend our score. The opposition started well and were 30-0 after 5 but tightening our lines meant we put the pressure back on the batsmen to hold them to 37-1 after 12. Two wickets in the first 2 balls of the 13th over, a sharp piece of field from Jim Gill then a flying catch from Ben Sutherland put us on top. Kimpton battled back and needed 21 from the final 5 overs. A great effort from the bowlers and in the field pushed it to the final over, but unfortunately we could quite get over the line. Good bowling throughout with Toby Sutherland 2-32 and Chris Karunaratne 8-4-14-0 the pick of the bowlers.
Our 6th team returned to Rothampsted Park after 4 weeks away, another toss won and we chose to bat. We weren’t frantic like last week. In fact we were pedestrian! Slow stuff but a good 25 from Jawahar Nalluri up front and a rapid 38 from Rich Bailey at the end saw us post 141 for 9 off 40 overs.
A solid performance with the ball saw us well in the game but we needed to get out their good opener…. Sadly we dropped him 3 or 4 times, he made 93 not out and they got home after 33 overs for the loss of 7 wickets. Good bowling from Jawahar 2-28 and Jamie Karunaratne 2-22. Batting improved, catching next…
The Wizards travelled to Datchworth and played their 4’s on their second square.
Captain Phil Waters won the toss and inserted the opposition to bat on a good pitch with a slow outfield. They raced to 59-0 off 11 and we feared the worst. However an attempted bouncer which didn’t bounce dismissed their opener and the opposition became bogged down by accurate bowling in particular from Nathan Bashford (8-1-18-1) and veteran Paul Cramer (8-1-25-1). Datchworth crawled from 59 off 11 to 101-4 off 28. A rush of runs followed but this was stopped by the captain himself (3 wkts) and by a hat-trick from Sri Nalluri (who finished with 4 wickets) their last 6 wickets fell in the last 5 overs and the final total was 162 all out off the last ball of the innings. Also of note were two excellent stumpings from under 13 keeper Harry Edward standing up to the seamers.
162 was a gettable target.
In return we started solidly but after Bratin Roy was miraculously caught in the outfield for 25 we got bogged down by some accurate bowling and a spell in which we scored only 4 runs in 6 overs meant we were always against the clock. Late hitting from Sumit Bhatia, Elliot Stevenson and Tim Rogerson gave us a ray of hope but they got out and we needed 24 in the last over which proved beyond reach. Good match though which either team could have won.
So even in the midst of the holiday season we played eight games of senior cricket this weekend – an amazing achievement on many levels.
The Week Ahead:
Next weekend – Saturday 26th August
- First team away at West Herts
- Second home to Abbots Langley (12 noon)
- Third away home to Redbourn II (12 noon)
- Fourth team away at Cockfosters
- Fifth team home to Royal Herts (1pm)
- Sixth team away at Bengeo
- Senior Awards Evening after our final league games on Saturday September 2nd
- Junior Awards Day on Sunday September 3rd
David Josephs (Communications Director)