Harps edge closer to title
Harpenden 209 all out beat Stevenage 205 all out by four runs HARPENDEN won a thrilling contest against Stevenage at the weekend as they edged ever closer to the Herts County Premier Division Two East title. Skipper Ben Frazer used all his years of experi
Harpenden 209 all out beat Stevenage 205 all out by four runs
HARPENDEN won a thrilling contest against Stevenage at the weekend as they edged ever closer to the Herts County Premier Division Two East title.
Skipper Ben Frazer used all his years of experience to hold his nerve as he struck one last time in the penultimate over of the day to have the Stevenage last man lbw with just four runs left to play with.
It was a heart-stopping finale as Stevenage played their full part in chasing Harpenden's total of 209 after being reduced to 76-6. Gary Brown (113 off 155 balls) hardly deserved to be on the losing side as he engineered a partnership of 85 for the seventh wicket with David Carr (32 off 77) but skipper Frazer (57 off 58 and 17.5-3-56-2) was not to be denied.
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Frazer said: "What a game and a huge win for us. We knew with Stortford playing Hertford we had to win to keep the 30 point gap and, after the disappointment of last week, this was a great test of character. We could perhaps have killed the game off earlier but fair play to Stevenage as they kept going for it."
Chris Arnold (11-2-38-3) had another good day with the ball and Richard Darwin (9-0-36-2) took full advantage of an opportunity for a good spell of left arm spin.
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As for the batting, Nick Lamb (37 off 73) returned to his recognised spot at the top of the order and a measure of consistency from the rest of the team saw a steady climb to 209 despite the best efforts of Syed Ali Kamzi (18-4-59-6).
Harpenden have three remaining matches in which to clinch the title including away games against West Herts and Hertford as two of the bottom three in the current table.
On Sunday Harpenden were able to test themselves against a team from the division that they hope to be in next season as they squared up to Potters Bar in the semi final of the Herts Cup.
Harpenden had never reached this stage of the competition before but unfortunately a tremendous opening spell of pace bowling from Tanweer Sikandar (7-1-15-4) derailed the Harpenden run chase almost before it had begun.
The Bar set the bar at 210 but Sikandar dismissed the cream of the home side batting at 45-5 and only Chris Bennett-Baggs (33 off 54) and David Keenleyside (28 off 39) were able to add some respectability to the Harpenden final total of 112 all out in 33 overs.
There were positives to be taken from the match as Potters Bar were looking distinctly uneasy at 111-7 as Mike Howard (10-0-42-3) and Brad Moses (10-1-33-3) put early pressure on the opposition.
Bar wicket-keeper Chris Swainland (65 off 86) and Tom Coughlan (31 off 61) added 72 for the eighth wicket but Harpenden's hopes of a trip to Shenley went the way of the evening sun as it slipped towards the horizon.
HARPENDEN II beat the Division Two league leaders Cockfosters with ease on an untrustworthy pitch that saw a doubtful Fosters captain choose to bat first. Replacement wicket-keeper David Keenleyside excelled with the gloves taking four superb catches as the home side were bundled out for just 148.
Peter Makower (19-6-45-3) was again a monument to consistency as was the Harpenden batting that lost only three wickets in the reply as the game was won in good time.
Harpenden III captain Simon Wade remains on the crest of a wave as his team beat Holtwhites Trinibis to protect their lead at the top of Division Four.
Mark Fordham (55) and Laurie Jones (61) put on 112 for the first wicket as Harpenden amassed 244-9 but it was Wade's leader of the attack, James Absalom (14-3-49-6), who cleaned out the middle order to bowl Holtwhites out for 114.
Wade's men now enter a crucial period of the season as they take on their closest rivals for the title over the next two weeks.
HARPENDEN IV had teenage batting sensation Navin Pancharatnam (118) to thank as they blitzed Boxmoor's 190-9 to win easily by seven wickets.
Two weeks ago Navin's brother Rohan took five wickets including a hat-trick but this time it was Navin's chance to grab the headlines with a quite brilliant knock. Harpenden are third and in a promotion place in Division Seven.
HARPENDEN V also had a good win against Hatfield Crusaders III to remain top of Division 13.
David Fraser (63 & 7-0-36-2) continues to have a fine all-round season and he was supported this time by Ben Dearman (10-3-32-5) as Harpenden won by 79 runs having bowled Crusaders out for 148.