Harpenden show steely resolve to frustrate Welwyn Garden City in Herts Cricket League Premier Division

PUBLISHED: 13:19 25 July 2018 | UPDATED: 13:25 25 July 2018

Harpenden's Andrew Neal bowls in the match between Harpenden and WGC. Picture: DANNY LOO

Harpenden's Andrew Neal bowls in the match between Harpenden and WGC. Picture: DANNY LOO

©2018 Danny Loo Photography - all rights reserved

Harpenden had to face three more overs than usual but showed plenty of steely determination to hold Welwyn Garden City to a draw.

Harpenden's Arthur Garrett bowls in the match between Harpenden and WGC. Picture: DANNY LOOHarpenden's Arthur Garrett bowls in the match between Harpenden and WGC. Picture: DANNY LOO

Having lost the toss and been put into the field, Harpenden would usually have expected to face 55 overs in reply but this time they faced 58.

Harpenden's Will Downes prepares to bowl in the match between Harpenden and WGC. Picture: DANNY LOOHarpenden's Will Downes prepares to bowl in the match between Harpenden and WGC. Picture: DANNY LOO

However, despite being seven wickets down and more than 100 runs behind the Saracens Hertfordshire Cricket League Premier Division champions, Ben Clements and George Garrett saw out the final overs.

Harpenden in the field in the match between Harpenden and WGC. Picture: DANNY LOOHarpenden in the field in the match between Harpenden and WGC. Picture: DANNY LOO

It was Harpenden’s fifth draw of the campaign and leaves them two points behind Bishop’s Stortford in the battle to beat the drop.

Alex Axon in the match between Harpenden and WGC. Picture: DANNY LOOAlex Axon in the match between Harpenden and WGC. Picture: DANNY LOO

Clements was the undoubted star with the bat.

Harpenden's Arthur Garrett runs down a ball in the match between Harpenden and WGC. Picture: DANNY LOOHarpenden's Arthur Garrett runs down a ball in the match between Harpenden and WGC. Picture: DANNY LOO

The former skipper finished unbeaten on 76 after hitting 11 boundaries and facing 127 balls.

Harpenden in the field in the match between Harpenden and WGC. Picture: DANNY LOOHarpenden in the field in the match between Harpenden and WGC. Picture: DANNY LOO

And he was part of a decent start for the hosts which saw Jake Pankhurst and Gregg Cooper make 59 for the first wicket.

Harpenden celebrate Alex Chalker's wicket in the match between Harpenden and WGC. Picture: DANNY LOOHarpenden celebrate Alex Chalker's wicket in the match between Harpenden and WGC. Picture: DANNY LOO

And after both were out, Clements and Alex Axon added 63 for the third-wicket.

Welwyn Garden City's Alex Chalker chips a ball up and is caught by Harpenden'sArthur Garrett in the match between Harpenden and WGC. Picture: DANNY LOOWelwyn Garden City's Alex Chalker chips a ball up and is caught by Harpenden'sArthur Garrett in the match between Harpenden and WGC. Picture: DANNY LOO

Axon’s departure for 25 left Harpenden 126-3 but from there WGC tightened their grip and Clements found partners unable to stick around for any length of time.

Andrew Neal tried his best facing 33 balls from his nine runs while Gus Laws-Mather made an important 16.

But Clements was in fine form and George Garrett did a superb defensive job for his one run which came off 26 balls.

WGC’s spin kings had done the damage with James Southgate (3-56) and Matthew Grant (4-84) taking all the Harpenden wickets between them.

Harpenden’s bowlers found Southgate almost as difficult to face as the batsmen would as the in-form WGC man made 109.

Debutant Hemang Ramlaul, promoted to the City first team after a string of fine performances for the seconds, scored a pleasant 24 before being run out by a direct hit from Ben Frazer.

Neal and Laws-Mather both finished with two wickets as WGC finished on 315-8, a target that looked good but still proved not enough to clinch the win.

Harpenden go to former league leaders Totteridge Millhillians on Saturday, having been toppled off the summit by North Mymms.

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