Harpenden in seventh heaven

HCPL Division Two (East) Harpenden 152-2 beat Letchworth 149 by eight wickets CHAIRMAN Steve Hewlett summed it all up very nicely: What a magnificent occasion. A clean sweep with victories for all six Harpenden teams plus our good friends at The Dolphins

HCPL Division Two (East)

Harpenden 152-2 beat Letchworth 149 by eight wickets

CHAIRMAN Steve Hewlett summed it all up very nicely: "What a magnificent occasion. A clean sweep with victories for all six Harpenden teams plus our good friends at The Dolphins making it seven really does show a club at the top of its game. It was quite a party in the evening!"

Harpenden has never before been able to put a sixth XI on to the field of play but they did so on Saturday and what was more Chairman Hewlett (56) fittingly saw them home to an inaugural victory as captain against The Carpenters Arms whilst Jon Desborough (50) notched a maiden half-century of his own. Andy Neal (4-16) and junior Imi Hussain (2-17) did the damage with the ball as a team rich in experience but also stocked with youngsters was able to put on a performance to be proud of.

It was business as usual for Ben Frazer's first XI as second-placed Letchworth were well beaten in their top of the table clash. Letchworth were dismissed for just 149 with Chris Arnold (12-1-43-3) taking consecutive wickets in an over and threatening an early hat-trick. Frazer (14-4-24-2) and Brad Moses (6.4-3-12-3) also took some of the honours with the ball with Frazer satisfied with his team's efforts but feeling that they could have done even better. Speaking after the game Frazer commented: "It was our biggest test this year and we passed with flying colours. The boys are really flying at the moment and momentum is building nicely. Chris Arnold bowled some beautiful deliveries and Brad wrapped things up nicely at the end. To bowl Letchworth out for under 150 when they were 110-4 was fantastic but we have bowled better than that this season."

As for the run chase, Nick Lamb (66* off 129 balls) continued to display why there may be no better batsman in the league and Gregg Cooper (38* off 82) chipped in with useful runs at a new spot in the batting order. Frazer continued: "Lamby's in amazing form for us and it was really good to see Coops come in and finish not out as it's a change of role for him coming in at 4 or 5."

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The Letchworth target was duly overhauled in 42 overs for the loss of just two wickets and Harpenden next face bottom club Hertford as they look to reach the halfway point in firm control of the Herts. County Premier League Division Two East. Director of Cricket David Doyle is keeping matters in perspective and his team fully focused as he noted "We have Hertford next week but we are taking absolutely nothing for granted."

Ben Mahoney (13-2-52-4) bowled his way back to some fitness for Harpenden II as he helped force Reed CC to collapse from 116-2 to 156 all out in 47 overs on Harpenden Common.

Supported well by Peter Makower (18-5-30-2) and the unlucky Justin Savio (11-3-38-1) there were also three run outs as Harpenden put huge pressure on the opposition. Ollie Tuck was electric in the field as the home side put on a much improved performance on their own turf. With several close decisions not going for them in the early stages Harpenden could have become hugely frustrated but a change of ball and the re-introduction of Mahoney in to the attack did the trick as Tom Greaves (56 off 62) was bounced out with the first delivery he received after swapping his bat. Captain David Whiteley (48* off 68) continued his good league form and Barney Francis (44 off 66) also weighed in as storm clouds gathered menacingly overhead. Whiteley was pleased with a win after a couple of disappointing weeks and remarked in the boisterous Harpenden pavilion: "This week as a batting unit we took our time and made sure that we won the game."

Left arm spinner Alex Randall was the toast of the III as he wheeled his way to 13-2-32-6 to help his team restrict Dunstable II to 176-9. There is every reason to hope that the young spinning all-rounder will play a major part in the second half of the season with some hot weather and dry, turning wickets to be exploited.

Harpenden knocked off the runs for five wickets to record a comfortable win with captain Simon Wade (50), Ollie Chinneck (40) and Jake Pankhurst (38) all making runs but sacrificing their wickets selflessly to ensure the win before the rains came.

Harpenden IV were indebted to Mark Fordham (89) and Steve Glasgow (44) as they chased down Dunstable III's 191-8 to record yet another Harpenden victory by five wickets but Simon Murray was player of the day with 137* for Harpenden V as Waltham X Rosedale IV were crushed by 193 runs. Ex-first XI all-rounder Murray is coming back from injury by playing purely as a batsman and he was hugely relieved to be given a life in the 90's before he powered on to record a brilliant ton on an impressive weekend for his club.

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