Harps stay on top

HCPL Division Two (East) Harpenden 198-6 beat Stevenage 112 by 86 runs THEY say that patience is a virtue and Nick Lamb (94no in 179 balls) demonstrated it in abundance on Saturday in Harpenden s Home Counties Premier League Division Two East win over Ste

HCPL Division Two (East)

Harpenden 198-6 beat Stevenage 112 by 86 runs

THEY say that patience is a virtue and Nick Lamb (94no in 179 balls) demonstrated it in abundance on Saturday in Harpenden's Home Counties Premier League Division Two East win over Stevenage.

Lamb has been in fine form so far this season scoring plenty of elegant runs but, on a difficult, turning pitch even this very gifted player was required to knuckle down and grind out a match winning score.

A delighted skipper Ben Frazer said afterwards: "We expected the pitch to turn and suit their three spinners even though we have plenty of spin bowling options ourselves. Nick's was a high class innings and a tribute to his ability, discipline and determination as his knock was probably worth something like 150 on another day."

Harpenden started well with Brad Moses (38 in 72) building a solid platform with Lamb before the South African overseas star was dismissed by a cruel shooter. However, his involvement in the day's play was far from over at this stage.

Most Read

A promising total of 103-2 then became 178-6 as the pitch started to show its true colours but Frazer thumped 18 off 16 balls despite injuring himself in the process and the general feeling in the Harpenden camp was that 198-6 off 60 overs was a much better than par score in the conditions.

Lamb's painstaking efforts can be placed in some sort of context in that he struck only five fours in his entire innings despite carrying his bat through the afternoon.

At the change of innings there were various sets of spinning fingers in the Harpenden line-up eagerly twitching at the prospect of a bowl and it was Moses (17.2-7-27-6) who took the honours and led the attack.

Frazer (9-0-28-1) even opened the bowling himself with his off spin whilst left-armer Richard Darwin (1-33) and seamer Chris Roe (1-19) also contributed well. Only Laurie Brown (42 in 118 balls) managed to hold Harpenden in check for long but Stevenage struggled as 39-3 became 52-5 and then 99-8 as an intricate web was spun from which there could be no escape. Stevenage were finally all out for 112 in 39.2 overs as Harpenden returned to winning ways and remain clear at the top of the table.

HARPENDEN II were involved in a good old fashioned nail-biter as they were required to score four off the very last over with two wickets still in hand to beat Northwood having been set a target of 212 to win from 48 overs.

A keenly contested match had swung back and forth all day as Harpenden were reduced to 76-5 before captain David Whiteley (65 in 83 balls) and Graeme Sprowson (60no in 92) put on a stand of 118 for the sixth wicket. At this stage a Harpenden win looked likely but Northwood skipper Simon Noach (8-1-37-3) juggled his bowlers well despite being down to 10 men in the field and late wickets brought pressure on the Harpenden lower order.

All four results were still possible in the final over but a single to win from the last ball proved too much and Harpenden were left with only a draw and thoughts of the extra league points that might have been theirs even if the match had ended in a perfect tie.

Earlier in the day Dan Rodgers (71 in 102) was in good form before being smartly stumped down the leg-side but Harpenden were indebted to their Aussie paceman Justin Savio (13.4-1-51-4) who produced his best league spell for the club. With Peter Makower (17-0-57-3) also bowling steadily and a short boundary on one side there was every reason for Harpenden to approach the second innings run chase positively but Tony Hooper (25) was bowled by a spiteful leg stump yorker and Barney Francis (29) was also out just as he was starting to time the ball sweetly.

Harpenden will hope to improve quickly as they look to move upwards from their current mid-table position.

SIMON Wade was a much happier skipper as his Harpenden III side overhauled the Langleybury II total of 209-6 off 53 overs to win by two wickets with little time left on the clock.

Mark Fettes (64 off 67) continued to make runs for fun as he glided to another half-century in a purple patch that gives him an aggregate of 264 runs at an average of 131.50 over the past three weeks.

Fettes was supported by talented youngsters Jake Pankhurst (49) and Ed Washington (31no) before James Absolom (9no) clinched victory with a huge six.

THE Harpenden IV and V teams vied with each other for the individual performance of the day as both won easily. In the IV's Ian Moxon-Booth (15-7-18-8) took almost Laker-like career best figures including a mid-spell golden sequence of 4 for 5 in two overs as Old Finchleians II were routed for 49 all out. To combat this feat with the ball, Sam Jones (134no) replied in the V's with the bat in a total of 262-5 from 42 overs that proved far too much for Abbots Langley IV as they were crushed by 147 runs.