Harpenden Cricket Club
2023 Weekly Update 17
Final Weekend Thriller Beckons
The weekend just gone was the penultimate week of the season, but there is still lots to play for! Our first team can still win the league while the second and sixth teams hover just above relegation. All other teams are firmly safe in their current leagues. We seem to have mentioned the weather a lot this season, and this week turned out to be no exception, with every match rain-affected to some extent.
The 1st team were away at West Herts where skipper Jimmy Latham won the toss and put us in to bat. We started strongly, however, 50-0 turned into 55-3. After a steady rebuild, the heavens opened (yet again) and we were off for rain, thunder and lightning for an extended period of time. Once the rain stopped and the pitch was dry(ish) thanks to the hard work from our own Scott Galloway, we had 2 more overs left to bat in our innings. Chris Swanson and Andrew Neal managed to hit much needed boundaries meaning West Herts would need 140 to win in 23 overs having taken Duckworth Lewis into account.
West Herts started their reply positively before throwing away a few cheap wickets being 55-2 off around 8 overs. Alex Gosling came on and was the pick of the bowlers for Harpenden, bowling tightly and getting some very important wickets. We managed to squeeze well, taking the game to the last over with West Herts needing 9 runs off the over with 2 wickets in hand with Harry Seagrave to bowl. Taking a wicket with the first and Last ball of the final over, we managed to pick up the win taking the battle for the title to the last week of the season. (Pick of the bowlers Alex Gosling 5 overs 3-12)
Onto the second team, and it was a rare win of the toss at home to Abbots Langley, after which Dave Whiteley (42) and skipper Nick Lamb (42) set us up well, before rain and wickets interrupted our progress and we closed on 207-7 in an innings shortened to 47 overs. Duckworth-Lewis then set Abbots Langley a generous looking 121 to win from 20 overs. We took wickets at regular intervals, but Abbots could afford to chance their arm and they got home for the loss of 6 wickets with an over and a bit to spare. Will Downes (2-11) the pick of the bowlers. However, despite the defeat, results elsewhere meant we are safe.
The 3s hosted top of the league Redbourn 2s with the hope of not having a repeat of the away performance earlier in the season which saw us bowled out for 55.
Redbourn won the toss and we were inserted. After a few early wickets we were fearing the worst at 24 for 3. However, after a couple of strong partnerships in the middle overs, that 24-3 turned into 165-6 after 43 overs before the rain came that ended our innings. Matt Ball and Harry Robinson scored 26 and 27* but the main runs came from Ben Griggs who ended on 80 not out. Robbed by the rain.
After a lengthy delay for rain, Redbourn began their chase. However, after a lively start, it only took 4 overs for the rain to return which ultimately ended the game. Points shared.
The 4s travelled to third-placed Cockfosters, via a short - ahem - ‘detour’ via Old Elizabethans, needing a strong performance to ease any remaining concerns about staying in the division. Skipper Mike Hughes won the toss and inserted Cockfosters 2s on a wicket that looked ‘sporting’ but with one very inviting square boundary. John Kerley continued his rich vein of form with the ball (2-22), ably supported by a strong spell from Joe Gill. JT (1-38) and Alex Card (1-15) continued with the ball until an almighty downpour and thunder/lightning halted proceedings for quite some time. The oppo finished on 122-4, thanks in part to some decent catches, including a stunner at long-on from JK.
Once the soggy outfield had drained, our revised target was 123 off 28 overs. We quickly lost Humunaye Hussain, run out to what looked like a poor umpiring decision, but Matt Marven (12) and the skipper (8) pushed us along and then Simon Caunce (26) and Ollie Jones (18) batted with great diligence to take us to 81-4. Joe Gill (12) and Belal Hussain (12) kept the momentum going before JK struck three quick boundaries to ease us over the line with 3 wickets and nearly 3 overs to spare.
The victory (our fourth in a row) guarantees our place in the division and leaves us a comfortable fifth in the table. In a competitive division, the 4s have now beaten the top 3 in the table - no mean feat. We play relegation -threatened Boxmoor 2s in our final game of the campaign next Saturday.
Our fifth team anticipated a tough game as we took on a strong Royal Herts who had bowled us out for 26 earlier in the season. However they were missing their opening bowler who had taken 7 wickets in the previous encounter. They won the toss and surprisingly chose to bat despite the likelihood of rain.
The started steadily with their batsmen, aggressively attacking anything wide or short. Chris Karunaratne and Arjan Saini consistently beat the bat with little luck before Chris flattened their opener’s off stump and Arjan removed their other opener with the final ball of his spell. The thunder and then rain came with them 85-2 after 17 and the game well poised.
With the game reduced to 31 overs a side they came out aggressively and before the 2nd rain break piled on 114 runs in 9 overs to be 199-3 after 26. We had our chances to stem the runs, but regrettably dropped 6 catches including 3 off Alex White’s first over!!! His figures of 1-37 should have been much better.
The rain lasted until the cutoff point and we came out need 154 to win off 20 overs. We lost opener Henry Pollard-Beeton early on to a low catch, but Siddharth Sathwara(31) and George Chadney (34) put on a 70 run partnership in 12 overs to give us a platform. We added 64 in the final 6 overs to get close but 30 off the last 2 was too much for us as we finished on 143-5. Dave Talbot gave us a chance with a hard hitting 26 including 3 massive leg side sixes one of which very nearly hit our captain’s car.
A much improved performance from last time and we pushed a good side very close.
Sorry to say Harpy 6s had a bad day at the office, nothing really clicked, away at Bengeo 2s.All out for 118 (Paul Streeton 26). They then knocked it off in 18 overs between the rain.
However, Well done Josh Hill for his 1st league wicket.
The Week Ahead:
Next weekend – Saturday 2nd September
- First team home to Bishops Stortford (11.30am)
- Second team away at Berkhampsted
- Third team away at Bayford & Hertford
- Fourth team home to Boxmoor (1pm)
- Fifth team away at Old Albanian
- Sixth team home to St Albans (1pm)
Sunday 3rd September
- Women’s team away at Abbots Langley (1pm)
Our men’s first team could win the league this weekend – do please think of coming down to the Common on Saturday and lending your support to James Latham’s impressive team.
Then, in the evening, it’s men’s Awards Evening in the Pavilion, so we hope as many of you as possible will join us as we celebrate the 2023 season.
On Sunday, we host Junior Awards Day.
And last but very much not least, we wish our women’s team continued success on Sunday afternoon as they look to win their league.
David Josephs (Communications Director)