Explosive Frazer innings seals Herts a date at Lord’s

Harpenden man hits quickfire hundred to secure Herts a spot in the final

MCCA KO Trophy Semi-Final

Cambridgeshire 267-7

Hertfordshire 268-3

Hertfordshire won by seven wickets

A HARD-HITTING hundred from Harpenden’s Ben Frazer secured Hertfordshire’s place in the MCCA KO Trophy Final in stunning style at Harpenden Common.

Coming in with Herts struggling at 55-3, Frazer produced an innings of real substance to guide his team across the finish line with nearly 10 overs to spare.

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The all-rounder’s explosive approach saw him finish unbeaten on 127 from just 88 balls, including 10 4s and five 6s, which coupled with opener Jamie Hewitt’s 88* secured Herts a berth at Lord’s.

Having won the toss, Cambridgeshire decided to make first use of the wicket with openers Alan Burton (34) and David Clarke (23) providing a solid platform.

Welwyn’s Nick Walker eventually struck to remove Clarke and No.3 Gary Freear (1) in quick succession.

This bought Nick Ferraby to the crease, fresh from hitting 122 for Tring Park on Saturday, and he picked up where he left off for his club side.

Harpenden duo Nick Lamb and Simon White offered Herts control in the middle overs with Lamb also collecting the wickets of Burton and Shaun Park (16).

Despite partners regularly coming and going at the other end Ferraby continued to plough on and provide the backbone of the Cambs’ innings.

Pace man Hewitt returned to the action to dismiss 19-year-old Andrew Laws (16) before dismissing Paul McMahon (9) and Lewis Bruce (0) in successive balls, both courtesy of some smart keeping from Simon Greenall.

Ferraby deservedly reached three figures before releasing the shackles and smashing some late boundaries that pushed Cambridgeshire past the 250 mark.

The Cambridgeshire batsman eventually ended on 142* from 116 balls with No.9 Chris Budd (11*) helping Cambs to 267-7 from their 50 overs.

The visitors opened with spinner Laws at one end and with pace off the ball Herts found the going tough early on. Stortford opener Eddie Ballard (7) skied one to Tom Mees and Lamb (1) then became Mees’ first victim, the bowler sneaking one past the Harpenden man to dislodge the bails.

Dan Blacktopp reversed Herts’ fortunes with an aggressive, but all too short cameo of 21. The Stortford man took the game to the visitors with a couple of sweetly struck boundaries but was strangled down the leg side by veteran spinner Tim Smith to leave Herts with plenty of work to do at 55-3.

Enter Frazer. With Hewitt playing a solid and patient innings at the other end, Frazer displayed his customary big hitting style to wrestle the initiative back. Cambridgeshire’s lack of options in the pace department proved costly as Frazer gorged on the plentiful supply of slow bowling with a beautiful array of blows to the boundary.

Such was the contrast in the batsmen’s approach that Frazer raced past Hewitt, celebrating his fifty with another boundary.

The visitors made it all too easy for Herts to score quick singles, although some smart running allowed the batsmen to make those ones into twos. The pair gradually wore down both the bowling attack and the total and Frazer’s hundred was met by rapturous applause around the Common.

From then on it was just a case of the batsmen seeing the job through and they did it with plenty to spare.

It was Hewitt that hit the winning runs, turning one through the leg side for a quick single, to wrap up a seven-wicket victory and a date with Berkshire at Lord’s on Thursday, August 25.