Blacktopp’s heave over extra-cover wins it for Harpenden

Dan Blacktopp batting for Harpenden.

Dan Blacktopp batting for Harpenden. - Credit: Archant

Dan Blacktopp heaved Bishop’s Stortford’s Simon Lindop over extra-cover off the penultimate ball of the game to give Harpenden an eight-wicket win in their final pre-season game.

The right-hander had put 73 runs on the board when he faced Lindop needing six runs off two balls. He only needed delivery as he finished the day unbeaten on 79.

Stand-in captain Jake Pankhurst said: “It was great to get the win. It’s all about momentum going into the league season which is exactly what we wanted.

“I’m really pleased for Daniel Blacktopp finishing on 79 not out. He hit the shot of the day with that six over extra cover. Probably a bit tight for comfort but we got there in the end.

“More importantly it was great to get the win bearing in mind we were missing a few key players which allowed other players to step up and contribute. That’s the biggest plus from today to see the strength of the club coming through.”

After winning the toss and electing to field, Harpenden’s opening bowlers, Matthew Harper and Guy Watts, looked dangerous and gave very little away.

Stortford’s first wicket stand of 102 was broken in the 25th over when Eddie Ballard (58) hit one straight to Jack Killen at mid-off. Shortly after, Richard Darwin got in on the act as he got down low for a caught and bowled to dismiss Ryan Wells (34).

Most Read

Darwin was able to tie up an end, squeezing the pressure on the middle order. He picked up his second wicket of the afternoon when Dominic Chatfield (9) ran out of patience and hit one up in the air to Jake Pankhurst at mid-wicket.

Reece Hussain provided a late attack for Bishop’s Stortford. Cashing in on the short boundary, he sent some poor deliveries into the nearby allotments.

However, Harpenden finished strong when Harper and Watts returned at the end of the innings. Watts’ effort was finally rewarded with the wicket of Matt Rodgers (51), which was taken brilliantly by Alex Spencer standing up to the stumps. In the final overs Harper claimed the wickets of Hussain (38) and Alex Palmer (6) which saw Bishop’s Stortford’s innings finish on 221 in 45 overs.

In response, Harpenden started positively with openers Gregg Cooper and Ed Washington. The left and right hand combination allowed the left-handed Washington to capitalise on some leg-side boundaries but he soon fell LBW to the experienced Tim Smith for 20.

In came Blacktopp who saw off the accuracy of Smith with the occasional stroll down the wicket. Both Blacktopp and Cooper looked very comfortable in the middle overs, dispatching anything they didn’t merit.

As Cooper’s innings progressed so did his confidence as he looked to hit the spinners over the top. Cooper and Blacktopp put on 117 before Cooper was stumped off the bowling of Simon Lindop for a brilliant 86, leaving Harpenden needing 49 off 6 overs.

With 12 runs required off the last over something special was needed to get Harpenden over the line. Blacktopp provided it.