Harpenden still waiting for first win of season after loss to Welwyn Garden City
PUBLISHED: 09:30 25 May 2018 | UPDATED: 10:53 25 May 2018
After two non-results Harpenden Cricket Club finally got to a finish - although it didn't produce the result they had hoped for.
Their opening match of the Saracens Herts Cricket League Premier Division season at Potters Bar had been cancelled because of a wet outfield while last week’s home game with West Herts fell victim to heavy rain.
There was no chance of water stopping them this week, only champions Welwyn Garden City at a hot and sunny Digswell Park.
On paper it had all the hallmarks of being a close game but ended up with the hosts picking up a five-wicket win with 15 overs to spare.
Choosing to bat first on a good deck, Harpenden found the going tough with the seam of Connor Emerton and spin of Owais Shah tying them down.
Joe Regan fell early and both Gregg Cooper and Jake Pankhurst couldn’t get set at the crease, departing for 11 and 16 respectively.
It meant that after 20 overs they were 68-3 but they did battle back.
Ben Clements managed 34 before being run out and Ben Frazer 20 as they pushed on slightly.
But it was 66 for the eighth wicket between Nick Lamb and Alex Axon that got Harps to a defendable total of 202.
Axon ended up on 41 from the 36 deliveries faced, hitting three fours and a six.
Matt Grant was the top wicket-taker, finishing with 3-50.
And despite losing Louis Champion early, Alex Chalker (28) and Shah (97) saw City through, leaving a patient 35 from skipper Andrew Nolan to guide them to a first win of the season.
Scott Galloway and Billy May picked up two wickets each with Nick Lamb getting the other.
They are back at The Common on Saturday when Totteridge Millhillians are the visitors.
There wasn’t any better luck elsewhere in the club either.
Mike Howard’s 70 and 3-59 from Joel Stewart couldn’t stop the seconds losing by 47 runs to Ickleford in Division One and both the thirds and fourths suffered defeats to Wheathampstead sides.
Old Albanian kept pace with Ickleford though thanks to a 90-run triumph at home to Stevenage.
Star of the show was Usman Farooq Malik who bashed 113 from just 98 balls before claiming 4-23 with the ball.