Harpenden’s winless run continues

Excellent bowling display not matched with the bat

HCPL Division One

Potters Bar 205

Harpenden 169

Potters Bar won by 36 runs

HARPENDEN’S search for their second win of the season continues after a 36-run defeat by Herts rivals Potters Bar on Saturday.

This season is reinforcing what Ben Frazer’s young side already believed ahead of the campaign – that life in Home Counties Premier League Division One is tough.

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Harpenden’s big win over Aston Rowant back on May 15, remains their only league win this season though not for the want of trying.

On Saturday, they turned in a spirited bowling performance reducing the visitors to 103-7, despite losing Ben Mahoney to a hamstring injury in just the fifth over, eventually skittling them out for 205.

In Mahoney’s absence, Pat Foster and Nick Lamb took on the baulk of the bowling and were rewarded for their endeavours toppling the visitor’s top order.

Foster had already accounted for Matt Milton (11) prior to Mahoney’s departure and accounted for Steve Gale (20) soon after courtesy of a catch from David Keenleyside.

Potters Bar’s dangerous all-rounder Tanweer Sikandar had signalled his intent early on by thumping Lamb for six but the batsman was soon heading back to the pavilion for just 11 thanks to a peach of a delivery from Lamb.

Running in from the pavilion end, Lamb delivered a ball that came onto Sikandar at pace, cramped him up, nicked off the neck of the bat and was well taken by wicket-keeper Chris Bennett-Baggs.

Lamb soon accounted for Shaftab Khalid (8) trapped lbw but Will van der Maat and Chris Swainland steadied the ship putting on 29 for the fifth wicket.

Swainland faced 30 balls for just 5 and eventually his patience wore out chipping Frazer to Lamb at mid-off.

It was the start of a purple patch for the hosts as Potters Bar tumbled from 92-5 to 103-7.

Foster bowled van der Maat (28) in the third over after lunch and accounted for Nesan Jeyaratnam (2) lbw.

With the visitors seven down Harpenden could have been forgiven for turning their attentions to their batting but Potters Bar skipper Len Cooper and number nine Marc Milligan had other ideas.

In a frustrating spell for the hosts the pair blasted a match-winning 94 for the eighth wicket.

Frazer broke the partnership having Milligan caught by Rob Farenheim for 48 but Milligan’s eight 4s and a six were to prove vital in the final outcome.

Cooper fell soon after one short of a half century, Lamb picking up another lbw decision and Frazer wrapped up the innings with the wicket of Hodge thanks to another Farenheim catch with just 52.5 overs used.

Foster ended with 4-75 with Lamb taking 3-66 and Frazer 3-21.

With plenty of overs to use there was no need for Harpenden to rush the scoreboard along.

Despite the early loss of Lamb (6), lbw to Sikandar, the home side started steadily with youngster David Keenleyside looking at home opening the batting.

Poor decision making cost Harpenden though as Ben Clements tried to take a suicidal quick single that left Keenleyside (16) well short of his ground and very annoyed.

There was still no need to panic for Frazer’s men though with plenty of overs left and Farenheim, fresh from his debut 55 two weeks earlier, joining Clements at the crease.

However Potters Bar tied the new batsmen down and made scoring difficult, Farenheim facing 28 balls for his 5 before Milligan got one to nip back in and dislodge the bails.

Skipper Frazer was the next man in but found himself on the wrong end of an lbw decision just two balls later without troubling the scorers. The Harpenden captain looked a frustrated man as he trudged off and his mood most likely worsened when his side lost their fifth wicket, Ed Washington edging Milligan to Charlie Hodge for 1.

With wickets tumbling at the other end Clements had been marooned in the forties for what seemed an eternity.

Harpenden’s overseas star was joined by Foster and the two set about rebuilding the innings.

Foster is a powerful batsmen and it was no surprise to see him fire two huge sixes straight over the bowlers head and down the ground. Clements eventually bought up his half-century but the duo’s resistance was broken when Foster, on 36, mis-timed a shot and was caught down at deep fine leg by Khalid.

Foster’s dismissal was the start of the Sikandar show as he cleaned up the tail to give the visitors victory.

Gregg Cooper (5) and Bennett-Baggs (6) both nicked behind to wicket-keeper Swainland and Jake Pankhurst (1) succumbed to a yorker.

With Mahoney the last man in and using a runner, Clements was forced to try and hit out eventually falling to Sikandar caught by Salman Choudhry for a gutsy 74.

Sikandar’s efforts with the ball saw him rewarded with 6-56 while Milligan’s destruction of the middle order saw him finish with 3-29.

Harpenden’s search for their elusive second league win sees them travel to mid-table Banbury this Saturday ahead of a vital showdown with relegation rivals Aston Rowant the following week.