Harpenden record vital victory

Lamb and Farenheim see Frazer’s troops over the line

HCPL Division One

Aston Rowant 179

Harpenden 180-7

Harpenden won by three wickets

HARPENDEN completed a hugely important “double” over division rivals Aston Rowant CC on Harpenden Common with a vital three wicket win.

With a need to keep in close contact with the other sides at the wrong end of the HCPL Division One table, captain Ben Frazer and his team were under immense pressure to put together a performance on home turf against the side that they beat earlier in the season by a resounding 154 run margin.

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Aston batted first on a used pitch taking spin as Frazer (20.4-6-44-5) turned the screw along with Pat Foster (11-3-22-3) who was making a timely return from injury.

The visitors had injury problems of their own with captain and star player Wesley Morrick unavailable and how Aston could have used his quality in the batting order. Chris Watling (79 in 143 balls) and Rory Lyon (63* in 137 balls) were responsible for the bulk of their team’s runs in a fifth wicket stand of 114 but six wickets then fell for just 19 runs to end the innings on 179 all out in 64.4 overs.

Harpenden were well aware that runs, overs and conditions were all in their favour but as always, a successful run chase is built on sensible batting, shot selection, partnerships and keeping any nerves well under control. Frazer, opening the innings, blazed the third ball of the reply out of the ground for 6 but Harpenden then stuttered to 61-4.

Aussie batting star Ben Clements recorded a duck against the same team that he had taken for 150 in the corresponding away fixture.

So it was left to the experience of Nick Lamb (54 in 85 balls) and the class of relative newcomer Rob Farenheim (42* in 64 balls) to ensure that the match would not be another in the season’s portfolio of disappointing losses from promising positions.

Lamb admitted afterwards; “It may not have been very pretty but the crucial thing was for someone to get us over the line and thankfully Rob and I were able to do that. Rob showed a lot of guts to be there at the end and see it through”.

Harpenden II have been in some reasonable form over the past month but a poorly executed game plan against Watford Town CC resulted in a draw and the loss of ground to other teams towards the top of the Division Two league table. Having won the toss and viewed the playing surface with some suspicion, Harpenden asked Town to bat first and pegged the home team back after a boundary ridden first few overs. Chris Arnold (14-2-54-4) had a useful day with the ball but Watford’s total of 176-8 from 53 overs was probably 20 or so runs more than a par score on a wearing pitch.

Against the new ball Harpenden started just as fast with Aussie Sam Wiese blasting plenty of boundaries including one off drive that still went for 4 despite a full blooded ricochet off opening partner Tony Hooper. However, the match turned again in a few balls as Wiese (29) edged to slip, Hooper and Barney Francis were both bowled and Gregg Cooper was LBW to turn 40-0 in to 41-4. At this stage Watford introduced the off spin of Khalid Manzoor (16-9-20-2) who proved awkward to work away from one crumbling end and Harpenden’s run rate started an uncomfortable climb like a “Tour de France” mountain ascent. Mike Howard (52 in 67 balls) played by far the best innings of the day but his dismissal LBW to a relatively innocuous delivery was crucial and Harpenden struggled in to the final overs which were blocked away for a draw with one wicket left standing at 157-9.

Simon Wade’s IIIs put in the performance of the day as they skittled Abbots Langley CC for 113 all out in 43.3 overs to win by 9 wickets and put themselves back in amongst the runners and riders at the top end of the Herts. League division 3. A stout bowling effort after Langley had surprisingly decided to bat first resulted in Rohan Pancharatnam (14-3-49-4) and Matt Cooper (15.3-7-21-4) wrecking any hopes that Langley had of posting a competitve total. Inspired by his bowling colleagues opener Ollie Tuck (80*) then thundered the majority of the winning runs.

Wade said of his team: “It is great that we are on a roll and back to winning ways. It is the younger players who are now playing such an important role and I’m very proud of our opening teenage attack of Rohan Pancharatnam and Jack Doyle. Rohan was outstanding yet again and is destined for top level cricket in the not too distant future. It was also fantastic to see Tuck back in the runs again”.

In the IV a score of 217-7 in 53 overs was thanks to Mike Hughes (57) and Nathan Choudhury (87 and forced to bat with a runner) but despite a keen bowling line up the final wicket remained elusive as Southgate Adelaide II resisted at 194-9 in 47 overs. Harpenden took the maximum 19 points available for a draw but still fell down the league table as other results in Division Seven went against them.

Holtwhites Trinibis III racked up an imposing 232-9 as they drew with Harpenden V who closed at 189-8 with Iqbal Hussain (73) scoring a valuable half century. Ware III were surprise winners over Harpenden 6th XI as they managed to defend a total of 117 all out by bowling out Harpenden for 103 to win by 14 runs.