Frazer heroics land Harpenden derby victory

Former captain smashes whirlwind hundred to give Harps victory over Radlett

HCPL Division One

Radlett 295-3 Harpenden 297-5

Harpenden won by five wickets

UNLIKE a FIFA press release, there is only good news twittering out of Harpenden cricket club at the moment. After another thrilling win, this time over local rivals Radlett, Nick Lamb’s team could celebrate going second in the HCPL table only a point behind Oxford whom they travel to play this weekend.

The only disappointment on the day was a one point penalty deduction for a slow over-rate which prevented Harpenden from being joint top. Last week’s hero Ben Frazer (127 in 96 balls) went in to turbo-drive with the bat, after a below par day with the ball, as he sped to a high class century with 10 4s and seven 6s.

Chasing Radlett’s score of 295-3 dec. in 60 overs, Harpenden’s reply got away to an astonishing start as Aussie opener Ricky Damiano (10 in 5) pulled the first ball from Heath Paynter (7-0-47-2) over the midwicket ropes for 6 and then laced another boundary before being out caught, all in the first over of the reply.

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Gregg Cooper (68 in 69) showed his ability to step up from the IIs by stroking a half century and Lamb (38 in 52) helped to lay the foundations before Frazer launched himself at the Radlett bowling.

Frazer explained: “With two hundred needed when I went in my plan was to just bat and see what happened. Coops was going nicely and I wanted to support him. Chasing such a big score we needed someone to get a hundred and others to contribute. I didn’t really have any targets in mind apart from getting to 10 overs to go in a position where we should have full control of the game.”

When pressed on his recent superb batting form, ex-skipper Frazer would not be drawn on his relinquishing of the captaincy over the winter. “I don’t think there is any difference in my approach. I play the way I play and that’s to be positive and believe we can win any game. I would like to see us challenge the best teams in the county and to do that senior players have to stand up and perform. I owe the boys that and Lamby is doing a great job leading us”.

Harpenden’s batting stands were admirably consistent having lost Damiano early on. The second wicket put on 90, the third 40, the fourth 51 and the fifth 91 before up and coming batsman Ed Washington (25* in 49) and Simon White (13* in 8) saw their side home at the very healthy run-rate of six-an-over.

Lamb had a lot to be pleased about as he considered his team’s start to the season: “It’s a great win after we were made to toil in the field. I thought we actually bowled and fielded pretty well but Radlett’s best players got going and hardly looked like giving their wickets away.

“Shane Burger in particular showed how to time an innings perfectly and scored one of the best hundreds I’ve seen in a long time.”

Lamb praised both Burger (114* in 146) and Kabir Toor (85* in 102 & 19-1-89-3) who hardly deserved to end up on the losing side after excellent personal performances.

He also had good words to say about the promoted Gregg Cooper - “He showed why he’s been dominating in the IIs” - but left the superlatives for his star all-rounder, Frazer.

“Our top six shared the responsibility of scoring the runs but we needed someone to come in and play the match-winning innings by getting a big ton,” he said.

“Fraze was amazing with some of the stuff that he was pulling off. I’ve played alongside him for years but that was something special to watch. Also, people should note the tidy innings that Washo (Washington) played for us too.”

Oxford at any time of the season are tough opposition but Lamb pointed out: “Three of our regular top six have now scored a league hundred and we’re in a good place. Everyone is keen to keep this unbeaten run going so I think that this is the perfect time to take Oxford on.”

* Simon Wade was much happier as captain of a more recognisable Harpenden III team and a strengthened bowling attack. Harpenden made a solid 217-7 in their 53 overs with David Byrne (37 in 71) and Jack Doyle (30 in 38) helping all-rounder Duncan Gilson (59 in 77 & 14-1-52-3) to set a fair target.

Simon Murray (17-0-76-2) showed yet more signs of a return to his best form with the ball as Harpenden showed a vast improvement on recent weeks in all departments. Wade said: “Colney showed a lot of spirit in chasing the total right up to the end and they had some good players. It was nice to exert some pressure as our total would usually not be enough at St. George’s.

“If we had held our chances, we might even have sneaked the win but a draw was probably the fair outcome.”

* Emulating Gilson, all-rounder Dave Fraser (12-1-48-2 & 45 in 43 balls) was the match-winner for Harpenden IV as he saw off St Albans III by over-hauling their 198-9 to win by four wickets. Ickleford III beat Harpenden V by 20 runs whilst Harpenden VI were well beaten by Frogmore II after being bowled out for just 62.