Eighth wicket pair take game away from Harpenden

PUBLISHED: 11:56 08 July 2013 | UPDATED: 11:56 08 July 2013

Nick Lamb flicks the ball through the leg-side against Slough. Picture by Michael Boyton

Nick Lamb flicks the ball through the leg-side against Slough. Picture by Michael Boyton

Archant

HARPENDEN were handed just their second loss of the season on Saturday in a game captain Nick Lamb saw slip away as an eighth-wicket pairing punished the bowling.

With the ball nipping around, Chad Breetzke and Lamb led with the bat, scoring 79 and 56 respectively, as Harpenden put 243 runs on the board in 66 overs.

It looked to be too high a target for Slough as they lost five wickets with just 76 runs on the board. And if nearly a dozen appeals had gone Harpenden’s way, the game could have been over soon after.

However, Nabil Shah smashed 71 runs in 51 balls as part of a 99-run partnership with Shazad Rana (28) to take the game away from Harpenden.

After the game, Lamb said: “We’re disappointed because we set a good total and had Slough 100-5; from that position we should have won.

“We had to dig in for our innings with the ball nipping about off the pitch and it flattened by the time Slough were in, and the umpires were frustratingly inconsistent but there is no excuse, we should have won.”

Having won the toss and decided to bat first, it was evident runs were not going to flow freely was the ball moved off the seam, causing problems for openers Gregg Cooper and Dan Blacktopp.

Blacktopp (10) attacked the bowling in the second over, hitting two consecutive fours, but he fell to the first ball of the third. The dismissal brought Breetzke to the crease.

Breetzke got off the mark with a four straight back down the ground, but after than found runs hard to come by – after 10 overs the score with 19-1. Nine overs later, Cooper (14) was given out LBW with the scoreboard showing 45-2.

Ben Frazer joined Breetzke but his stay was short-lived as a mix up saw both batsmen at the non-striker’s end and Frazer was run out for eight.

Breetzke and Lamb saw Harpenden through to lunch, pushing the score up to 89-3.

After the interval the pair looked to up the run rate, adding a 72-run partnership to the total before Breetzke was beaten by ball than nipped back off the seam to remove the bails.

Harpenden were hoping for Will Jones to produce his usual big-hitting heroics but he found the boundary once, scoring eight in a 12-ball stay in the middle. Jake Pankhurst (7) and James Latham (15) partnered Lamb for short spell before both were removed by Zulfiqar Butt.

Lamb reached his 50 with the score on 199-7 but was gone six runs later. Simon White (22no) and Alex Spencer (17no) provided some late order resistance to push to the score to 243.

Slough’s reply started on a flattened pitch which helped Omar Jamshad and Waqas Hussain put 50 up for the first wicket, despite early appeals against both batsmen.

Twenty runs later Jamshad joined his fellow opener in the clubhouse, sparking a three-wicket collapse. Slough slumped from 70-2 to 76-5 as Jones and Frazer shared the three wickets.

Faisal Ali and Daniel Simpson steered Slough clear of the danger, putting on 59 runs before the latter was run out by Cooper for 30 while attempting a quick single.

It appeared to shift momentum with 100 needed, albeit with 20 overs to achieve it. However, Shah came out swinging hitting four sixes and eight fours to win the game for Slough with overs to spare.

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