Francis’ ton puts Harpenden 2nds in command

A century from opener Barney Francis set Harpenden 2nds (236-3dec) up for a 131-run win over Southgate Adelaide (105) on Saturday.

After his skipper Richard Darwin won the toss and elected to bat, Francis showed it was the right decision by putting on 124-run partnership with fellow opener Mark Winchester.

Francis scored 95 of the first-wicket stand, which was brought to an end when Winchester (29) was stumped, and added another 21 before he was dismissed by Pat Morden having made 116.

Mike Howard carried on the good work by crafting 45 before Oliver Tuck hit an unbeaten 25-ball 30. At 236-3, Darwin called in his batsmen in order to let his bowlers have a go at Southgate’s line-up.

Having seen the visiting bowlers toil in the sunshine, Harpenden had no such hardships as Guy Watts had Martyn Chandler out for a duck.

Andy Ferguson and Craig Lyte steered Southgate away from the danger but a flurry of wickets put them back in trouble as they slumped from 48-1 to 67-4.

However, their second, and last, collapse was even more drastic. Darwin trapped Tariq Mahmood (26) LBW to leave Southgate at 86-5. Two catches behind the stumps from Graeme Sprowson had the end of the innings in side at 92-7 before Matthew Harper (4-23) cleaned up the tail to dismiss Southgate for 105.