Harpenden ready to go

Captain Lamb in positive mood ahead of season opener

HARPENDEN’S preparations for their season opener against Falkland this Saturday were wrapped up in style as Nick Lamb’s side recorded victories over Hampstead and West Herts over the Bank Holiday weekend.

Big runs from captain Lamb (77) and overseas star Ricky Damiano (52) helped Harpenden to a six-wicket victory over Hampstead on Saturday with spinner Ben Frazer doing the damage with the ball taking 4-50 and that was followed up on Monday with a nine-wicket win over West Herts in round one of the Red Insure Twenty20 Cup.

Match winning figures of 4-10 from 3.4 overs from Simon White laid the foundations as West Herts were dismissed for 104 before Chris Bennett-Baggs (52*) and Chris Warn (46*) guided the home side over the finish line in just 12.4 overs leaving captain Lamb in positive spirits.

“I couldn’t be happier with our preparations leading up to the season,” the Harpenden skipper told the Herts Advertiser.

“We’ve comfortably won all three warm up games and it’s been really great that every single member of the team has performed at some point to bring about the early success.

“There are of course a few things we need to work on going forward but it’s important we keep the momentum going and retain the positive vibes that exist in the dressing room.”

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Australian batsman Damiano has found his feet instantly at the club scoring two hundreds (one unbeaten) and a 50 in his three knocks for the club and Lamb is pleased the integration of the new players has been seamless.

“It’s remarkable to think that Ricky, Chris (Warn) and Simon (White) have only just joined the squad as they have settled in fantastically well – it’s almost as if they have been here for three years let alone three weeks,” explained Lamb.

“The team spirit right now is immense, and I think this will be a key factor in the way we play this year. The younger members of the team will also thrive off the experience the new chaps bring to the side.”

This Saturday Harpenden begin their HCPL Division One campaign when they welcome newly promoted Falkland to the Common and pre-season results have left the club raring to get underway although they won’t be underestimating the threat posed by the league’s new boys.

“Falkland have historically always been a decent side, and the pure fact that they won the feeder league last year will mean that they will be no pushover,” said Lamb.

“I think the main thing for us is to focus on our strengths in order to make sure we are fully ready to hit the ground running on Saturday. Everyone is excited and raring to go.”

Monday’s comfortable T20 victory over West Herts has given Harpenden a tie with Potters Bar – the team they pipped to HCPL Division One survival last season – and Lamb believes the shorter form of the game is an area this current squad can excel at.

He said: “As a team it’s been one of our main goals this year to progress as far as possible in this competition.

“I think the make-up of our side is ideally suited to the T20 format, and we showed on Monday that we are taking this tournament very seriously indeed. The performances from Simon White and Jon Ryan with the ball, and Chris Bennett-Baggs and Chris Warn with the bat were pretty special to watch, and I hope that we can perform just as well in the second round against Potters Bar at home on May 30.”