Clear daylight between Harpenden and WGC

Nick Lamb plays at a Paul McGee delivery

Nick Lamb plays at a Paul McGee delivery - Credit: Archant

Nick Lamb’s unbeaten knock of 50 gave Harpenden clear distance between themselves and third-placed Welwyn Garden City with the play-offs just two weeks away.

Harpenden and WGC went into week 16 on equal points but Jamie Hewitt’s side suffered their second successive loss to open the door for Lamb and co to take second place outright.

And they weren’t to be denied, dismissing Stevenage for 108 in 34.2 overs before surpassing the total in an hour and 20 minutes.

Stevenage opted to bat first at Ditchmore Lane and Charlie Whitworth (26) got off to a flying start. His opening partner, Gary Brown, was a lot cagier and had only scored three runs before he beaten by the 20th ball he faced, bowled by Guy Watts (1-22).

At 17-1, Whitworth and Shadrach Gittens-Browne (33) put Stevenage, seemingly, on their way to a competitive total with a partnership of 43 off 61 balls.

However, when Whitworth was run out by Gregg Cooper in the 18th over and Gittens-Browne was caught by Watts off Ben Frazer (3-18) four overs later, either side of Jason Chapman’s one-ball stay in the middle, Stevenage collapsed spectacularly.

From 60-2, David Carr’s side lost the next eight wickets for 48 runs to give Harpenden a lowly total to chase.

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Dan Wightman shared the top wicket-taking honours with Frazer after taking three scalps.

In reply, Frazer, opening with Cooper, face one delivery before he was on his way back to the pavilion, Zach Shaw (2-29) finding the gap to remove his stumps. James Latham had a similarly short stay at the crease, facing just five balls before departing without scoring.

Stevenage’s bowling, however, was far to inconsistent and they surrendered 30 runs in extras, half of them coming from wides.

In the face of such bowling, any chance of a Harpenden slip-up quickly diminished as Lamb found his stride to score an unbeaten 50 from 59 balls. Jake Pankhurst partnered his skipper to the end to carry his bat for 16 and move Harpenden into second place.

With just two weeks left and games against WGC, who face leaders Radlett on the final day, and Sawbridgeworth, the play-off standings are going to go down to the wire.