Ward bows out with incredible show to secure draw for Herts against Suffolk

PUBLISHED: 11:53 28 August 2008 | UPDATED: 13:34 06 May 2010

Minor Counties Championship Suffolk 364-2 Herts 174 and 373-7 HERTS finished a disappointing campaign on a positive note with a battling draw against a good Suffolk team, who are chasing the Eastern Division title. The ground at Bury St Edmunds surprising

Minor Counties Championship

Suffolk 364-2 Herts 174 and 373-7

HERTS finished a disappointing campaign on a positive note with a battling draw against a good Suffolk team, who are chasing the Eastern Division title.

The ground at Bury St Edmunds surprisingly withstood torrential rain to ensure a start time of 12noon on Sunday, August 17.

Herts won the toss on what looked like a good wicket, even though it had been sweating under the covers for a good 12 hours, and decided to bowl. An early breakthrough from Welwyn Garden's Aaron Laraman raised Herts hopes but that changed all too quickly as dropped catches and poor fielding started to give Suffolk the upper hand. Suffolk finished their 90 overs with 364-2, with Ben France, ex-Derbyshire, scoring 91 and Hassan Adnan, also ex-Derbyshire, 105 not out.

Herts' batsmen struggled from the off against some aggressive short-pitched bowling from the two ex-Essex men Andrew McGarry and Justin Bishop. The only innings of any note came from Rhys Wynne who scored a gritty 46 on his debut, Aaron Laraman (30) and skipper Andy Lewis (25). Herts were bowled out for 164 and immediately were asked to follow on after tea.

Again Suffolk came out hard and Herts ended day two on 80-4, with hopes resting on Welwyn Garden City wicket keeper-batsman Dan Blacktopp, who was on 55 not out on his debut, and his club colleague Nick Lamb.

On a sunny day three, Blacktopp and Lamb showed how to take time out of the game with some hard work and good judgement. Lamb fell early after lunch, and Lewis joined Blacktopp, who went on to reach his maiden hundred before falling for 109 trying to hit the ball out of the ground.

Laraman came and went quickly and so in came David Ward to complete his final innings for the county after an illustrious 12-year career in remarkable circumstances. The 45-year-old former Surrey star, who had announced his retirement earlier, had suffered a chipped bone and damaged ligaments in his ankle but was determined to bat one last time.

He and Lewis took the game and the chance of victory away from Suffolk, with some fine striking. Both passed 50 and started to build a lead, much to the frustration of the whole Suffolk side. Lewis finally fell for 87 looking to work the spinner for a single, adjudged lbw. David Ward was finally dismissed for 75 after showing all the required passion, pride and determination asked of the players and left to a huge round of applause.

Andrew Hicks and former St Albans player Simon White continued the hard work with good concentration, seeing Herts through to 6pm when the game was concluded as a draw on 373-7.

Herts: G. Brown (Stevenage), H. Ilangaratne (Hemel Hempstead), D. Blacktopp (WGC), R. Wynne (North Mymms), A. Lewis (North Mymms), D. Ward (Old Whits), A. Laraman (WGC), N. Lambs (WGC), J. Southgate (WGC), S. P. White (WGC), A. Hicks (North Mymms).

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