Burger knock lights up derby
Radlett skipper hits unbeaten 115 but rain curtails contest
Match abandoned due to rain - draw
THE Great British Summer curtailed what was shaping up to be a thrilling end to the local derby between Harpenden and Radlett.
Radlett skipper Shane Burger scored a magnificent 115* off just 119 balls as his side posted 275-7 and despite Harpenden being five down when the rain set in there was a feeling all results were possible.
Big derby matches often fail to live up to their billing but this one didn’t with some superb strokes played, disciplined bowling and excellent work in the field, the icing on the cake being Burger’s century.
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The South African’s innings was brilliantly crafted, happy to drop the ball short and take a quick single when the fielders were out and driving superbly to the boundary when the opportunity arose.
It had started brightly for Radlett with Sheilen Patel and Kabir Toor playing nicely at the top after the early dismissal of James Lewis (4) caught at point by Ben Frazer off the bowling of Ben Mahoney.
Toor has been out of the runs of late but played fluently and was happy to play the role of the aggressor while Patel dug in and grafted hard.
Frazer was dispatched to the boundary for two 4s by Toor in the 13th over and Nick Lamb received the same treatment in the 18th.
The Middlesex man was looking at a well-deserved half century when he came forward to a Lamb delivery that breached his defences and sounded the death rattle to end his innings on 42.
Toor’s dismissal bought Burger to the crease and the South African wasted no time in getting into his rhythm firing Lamb for four to the mid-wicket boundary.
There was one scare for the visitors before lunch when Burger pushed for a risky second but Lamb was unable to collect Gregg Cooper’s throw allowing Patel to get home safely.
After lunch Radlett upped the ante but it could have been so different had Will Bates been able to hold onto an edge from Burger at slip while the Radlett man was on 22. As it was the visiting captain made the most of his reprieve launching Frazer over the pavilion for six and hitting Foster for three 4s in four balls.
The boundaries weren’t exclusively for Burger with Patel playing a crisp cut to send Frazer to the fence. The Harpenden captain fought back though and tempted Patel to flash at a wide delivery, wicketkeeper Chris Bennett- Baggs collecting the thin top edge behind the stumps to end Patel’s innings on 49.
Frazer claimed his second victim shortly after thanks to a superb piece of work by Bennett-Baggs. The youngster is a supremely talented gloveman and showed his brilliance with some great handling to stump Mike Crocker for 2.
A quick single off Frazer bought up Burger’s half century and from then on the Radlett man cut loose. The first two balls of the 53rd over where hit for six, this first a pull shot over mid-wicket the second fired down the ground and into the car park, giving the car owners an anxious few seconds.
Graham Dill (31) bought up the 200 for Radlett with another 6 but his resistance was bought to an end by Lamb, trapped in front lbw. Haydn Smith (6) soon joined him back in the pavilion caught superbly at long-off by Ben Clements to give Pat Foster his first wicket of the contest.
Heath Paynter scored 17 from just 14 balls as Radlett set about adding some late order runs but he too was the victim of another good catch this time from Cooper off the bowling of Lamb.
At the other end Burger remained resolute, punching Lamb to long-off for one to bring up his century much to the delight of his team-mates and for which received a sporting handshake from Lamb.
With the innings ebbing towards its conclusion there was still time for Burger to add to his 6s tally dispatching Foster for maximum scores off the last two balls of the innings as Radlett closed on 275-7.
Radlett’s score looked like a big challenge for Harpenden especially considering the disparity in overs that the league’s rules create layout.
With a good start required the home side went with experience at the top of the order with Lamb and Frazer opening.
Frazer (4) had picked up one boundary when he was adjudged lbw to his opposite number Burger as the hosts fell to 4-1.
Lamb and Clements, Harpenden’s two in-form batsmen, worked their way into their innings nicely, Lamb punishing Matt Corran with three consecutive 4s off the last three balls of the third over.
The 23-year-old will be disappointed by the manner of his dismissal though skying Paynter to Crocker at long-off for 35.
Clements has proved an excellent acquisition for Harpenden this year and he set about rebuilding the innings with Bates.
The Australian dispatched Paynter with a beautiful cut shot past Toor at mid-wicket which went for 4 and Bates drove Smith for 4.
Bates had a scare when he fired Smith at Toor but the Radlett man spilt the catch at mid-off.
Toor responded with the ball claiming the important wicket of Clements for 32, excellently caught at slip by Burger.
Things didn’t get much better for Harpenden when Bates (28) became Smith’s first victim caught behind by Ben Charles.
Adam Winchester and Cooper steadied the ship with a partnership of 13 before Cooper was caught by Burger at slip off the bowling of Toor in a carbon copy of Clements’ dismissal.
Winchester (15*) has been in excellent form this season with the bat and played a great shot to turn Toor for 4 down to fine leg but with the rain setting in play was bought to a halt.
After a short delay to see if the weather would improve the game was abandoned denying the spectators a thrilling finish to an absorbing contest.