Draw ensures last day battle for survival

HCPL Division One

HCPL Division One

Henley 225-5 dec

Harpenden 140-9

Match drawn

HARPENDEN caught a strong Henley side on a green ‘un on Harpenden Common and gave the HCPL high flyers a real fright at 27-4 with Pat Foster (13-4-28-2) and Ben Mahoney (17-3-54-2) giving the away side plenty to think about.

Teams in this division have great strength in depth though and number three Jonno McLean (108*) played an innings of high class to get his team out of trouble supported by his captain Bjorn Mordt (69). Both players survived chances in a total of 225-5 and an early declaration.

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This was another demonstration of how hard wins are to come by at this level. Harpenden were missing their captain, Ben Frazer, who was getting married as well as last weekend’s centurion Rob Fahrenheim to the rugby season and Jake Pankhurst to a pre-match warm-up injury. All of these omens were enough to see the home side slip to 56-6 in the reply but Ed Washington (35) followed his second XI ton from last week with another mature innings in a fine season for him and Foster (44 at number nine) saw out enough time so that when the rains came Harpenden scraped home with a draw at 140-9. Mathematically Harpenden can still avoid relegation but a comprehensive victory is required away to Potters Bar on the last league weekend.

Harpenden II had reason to curse the weather and the coin toss away at Redbourn.

Ready to do anything for the win Harpenden were asked to bat first by their mid-table opponents but took on the challenge positively. The experience of Barney Francis (65* in 99 balls) allowed others to bat around him so that Harpenden knew they had posted a challenging target by declaring early at 188-4 at exactly halfway. This left the toss winning home side to show their belligerent intent with the same number of overs to be bowled in reply. The chase never really got in to first gear.

After 28 overs the score was a meek 62-3 as the rains came to put an end to any hopes Harpenden had of trying to force the result. Chris Roe (8-5-11-2) and Mike Howard (6-4-6-0) could at least be well pleased with their efforts with the ball.

Other weekend results would have helped Harpenden’s position but a draw here was never going to produce the necessary points even though Harpenden took the only ones available from the match. Harpenden now look likely to miss out on promotion again in Division Two and will make another assault on the summit next season.

Bishop’s Stortford II made 173 all out in 52.3 overs against Harpenden 3rd XI as two tired sides splayed out an archetypal end of season draw. Stortford had number nine Alex Layer (51) to thank for rescuing their innings with Joe Peck (22-6-58-4) being the pick of the Harpenden bowlers. Harpenden’s interest in the division 3 promotion places went on a package tour holiday last week leaving Simon Wade’s team to close quietly at 131-8 with Duncan Gilson (40 in 78 balls) top scoring.