Blacktopp rescues Harpenden from defeat again

Dan Blacktopp scored his second century of the season on Saturday. Picture: Alastair Cowe

Dan Blacktopp scored his second century of the season on Saturday. Picture: Alastair Cowe - Credit: Archant

Dan Blacktopp saved Harpenden from defeat again on Saturday, scoring a century to earn a draw against Hertford.

It’s been a running story for Harpenden this season - staring at defeat, Blacktopp comes through when it matters to keep his side within reach of the Saracens Herts Premier Division league leaders.

Last weekend, he scored 77 to salvage a draw at bottom of the table Hemel Hempstead. Against Potters Bar on May 23, he came to the crease at 0-1 and promptly scored an unbeaten 130 as Harpenden reached 263-7, a score Bar got nowhere near, and he notched up a match-winning 67 against Welwyn Garden City on May 16.

His performances for Hertfordshire have been equally impressive, amassing 458 runs in eight games. He is the county’s second highest scorer by 55 runs behind Eddie Ballard, whose figures are inflated by his unbeaten 248 against Buckinghamshire.

All in all, it’s been an superb year for Blacktopp, and there are no signs of him slowing down.

On Saturday, he scored 13 fours in a match-saving 117 as he batted out a draw at Hertford. Coming in at 18-1 after Gregg Cooper was clean bowled by Will Van Der Matt for 15, he put 107 runs on the board with captain Nick Lamb. They were at the crease for 24 overs, which proved vital in earning a draw.

Lamb chipped Scott Ruskin to Chris Cook to walk for a well-made 42, leaving the score at 125-2.

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The rest of the order struggled to hang around, but Blacktopp, who has an average of 76.33, held the innings together and made his second century of the season.

He was not the game’s only centurion. Hertford’s Steven Gale made 121 off 129 balls, including the only six, as the innings closed on 314-7. Will Ray added 76 from number three and was part of a 147-run stand with Gale for the second wicket.

It was Hertford’s highest score of the season, but it wasn’t enough to earn them their third win of the season thanks to Blacktopp’s brilliance.