Harpenden back on winning track
- Credit: Archant
GREGG COOPER led from the front as Harpenden got their season back on track with three games left in the season.
Nick Lamb’s side have seen a downturn in form recently, failing to pick up a win in their last seven games and therefore losing touch with the top teams. Saturday’s win, however, lifts them above their nearest competitors, Tring Park, and into fourth place.
Lamb won the toss and elected to bowl, but Tring Park’s top three batsmen gave them a good start, putting 58 runs on the board for the first two wickets.
Number three Will Jones looking to be the catalyst for a good score as he found the boundary seven times before he was caught behind by Jake Pankhurst off Jack Doyle for a well-made 52, Park’s highest score of the innings.
Jones’ dismissal was the first of a three-wicket collapse as Park slumped from 131-3 to 136-5. Pankhurst, donning the gloves, caught Keith Dutch (23) before Ben Frazer made a catch stick to remove Vinay Devisetty (4).
It was the first of two three-wicket collapses, the second coming after Thomas Helm and Sam Shearman pushed the score past 170. Helm was the first to go, clean bowled by Doyle, before Zashan Arshad (2) went three balls later and Shearman followed soon after.
At 177-8, Tring’s last three batsmen complied 25 runs past the 200 mark. The ninth wicket to fall was Doyle’s fifth – he also had a run out – before Frazer bowled Simon Stanway (2) to bring the innings to an end on 202.
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Harpenden’s run chase got off to an ominous start as Lamb and Pankhurst scored one and three respectively.
Frazer, batting at number three, joined opener Cooper and their contrasting styles kept the score board ticking over. Frazer routinely cleared the boundary, amassing nine fours and two sixes on his way to a 51-ball 69.
Cooper, on the other hand, played more cautiously, taking 116 balls to make 70, Harpenden’s top score.
When both were removed, Harpenden were placed at 163-5 but two quick wickets put the result in doubt. Simon White (12no) and Jack Killen (18no) steered the hosts away from the danger and passed the target to win the game.
The win moves Harpenden up into fourth place, 42 points behind Banbury in second place. With games against Banbury, Henley and Slough left – the league’s top three teams – Harpenden can jump a few places in the table with wins.