Harpenden batsmen rally late on but champions WGC still start with a solid win
- Credit: Archant
Harpenden were powerless to stop Welwyn Garden City’s hunt for a fourth successive Herts Cricket League title begin with a solid 65-run win.
Harps won the toss and asked WGC to bat first and the champions dependable opening pair of Alex Chalker and Louis Champion gave them the perfect platform to build on.
They put on 40 before Chalker edged a Tom Beasley delivery behind to keeper Alex Axon and William Downes soon accounted for Champion (36) and Daniel Blacktopp.
That just brought Owais Shah and James Southgate together and the pair put together 61 for the fourth wicket.
Shah was eventually stumped off the bowling of Scott Galloway for 43 but Southgate went on to make a well-crafted 78.
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By the time he was caught by Beasley off the bowling of Jack Doyle, WGC had taken the score on to 236-7.
They would only add a further 12 runs as Nick Lamb rattled through the remaining batsmen, finishing as Harpenden's best bowler with figures of 4-35.
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But the score of 248 gave Welwyn plenty of confidence in a game played under intermittent drizzle and with the ball not coming easily on to the bat.
And they soon had Harpenden under pressure.
Chalker's spin bowling saw off Beasley in the first over and he also took the wickets of Jake Pankhurst and Axon.
The pace of Connor Emerton at the other end was also causing problems for the hosts' batting and he took a caught and bowled to dismiss Aaron Burrage, a just reward for a spell of bowling that saw the ball regularly beat the bat.
Matthew Grant's run out of James Latham completed a superb opening spell for WGC and left Harpenden on 67-5 with the contest effectively.
Harpenden's lower order of Galloway (38), Joe Regan (31), Lamb (27) and Harry Josephs (21) did give the score a creditable look though as they got to 183.
But all six of WGC's bowlers took wickets, with Chalker's 3-29 the pick of the bunch.
Harpenden's second team enjoyed better fortunes though in Division One as they won away at near neighbours Old Albanian.
They hit 202-9 before bowling their hosts out 64 runs short of that target.
The sixth team were also victorious as they won by eight wickets against Berkhamsted.