Harpenden draw despite Blacktopp’s fourth ton

Dan Blacktopp pulls one away

Dan Blacktopp pulls one away - Credit: Archant

Harpenden were unable to take advantage of a Dan Blacktopp century, his fourth of the season, in Saturday’s draw with Sawbridgeworth.

Blacktopp hit 17 fours in his knock of 110 from 145 balls as Harpenden set Sawbridgeworth a target of 234-8.

Andrew McGarry’s side started the reply quickly but it tailed off in the middle overs as they fell behind the run rate. Harpenden’s bowlers weren’t able to make the breakthroughs needed, though, and George Kenny carried his bat for 96 to see Sawbridgeworth to a draw as the innings closed on 217-7.

The draw saw Harpenden lose ground on leaders Radlett and second-placed North Mymms, who are 35 points ahead with four games to play.

Nick Lamb’s side looked set to close the gap after Blacktopp’s stunning innings.

McGarry won the toss and put Harpenden into bat, a decision that was vindicated by his bowlers as Lamb edged behind off George Kenny for three and Gregg Cooper walked for six.

Blacktopp was on 14 when Cooper holed out and had reached 31 when Ben Frazer was clean bowled by Sam Mofokeng. Will Jones came in, hit and boundary and then departed to his 10th ball faced, caught by George Clayden off McGarry for one.

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At 63-4 in the 20th over, Harpenden’s batsmen finally took the shackles off as Scott Galloway powered a run-a-ball 23 before he was trapped in front. Blacktopp followed in the 51st over as Kenny finally ended his resistance by finding the edge of his bat.

Jake Pankhurst took over the mantle from Blacktopp, hitting a watchful 33 off 78 balls, which allowed Simon White to score an unbeaten 23 off 25 balls. Dan Wightman added 16 following Pankhurst’s wicket to set Sawbridgeworth a target of 235 runs to win.

Sawbridgeworth’s reply got off to a disastrous start when Charlie Rudkin, the team’s third leading run scorer, was out for five in the fourth over.

Joe Regan (33) and Dharmarajsinh Jhala fell within six overs after leading Sawbridgeworth away from danger. They put 47 runs on the board to take visitors from 5-1 to 60-3.

Forty-five run stands between first Alex Anon and Kenny and then Kenny and Mofokeng saw Sawbridgeworth to 150-5, 85 runs away from victory with 15 overs remaining.

The next 14 overs saw McGarry and Kenny fall well behind the run rate, but Kenny managed to keep his wicket until the end and seal a draw.