Pankhurst hauls Harpenden over the winning line
- Credit: Archant
Harpenden needed a composed 31 from Jake Pankhurst to see them past Welwyn Garden City in a low scoring game at Harpenden Common.
Coming in at number seven, Pankhurst steered Harpenden away from and England-esque collapse and lifted them to victory. He only scored three boundaries, but, vitally, he kept the scoreboard ticking over and pushed Harpenden towards their target.
He was bowled by Alex Chalker, the seventh wicket to fall, but he’d done enough, as Simon White and Richard Darwin knocked off the required runs.
Chasing a meagre 135 after Will Jones and Darwin tore through the line-up, Harpenden struggled mightily against former England all-rounder Owais Shah. He had Nick Lamb stumped in the eighth over and compounded Harpenden’s misery by having Ben Frazer caught for 19 before taking the key wicket of Gregg Cooper.
Cooper had anchored the top of the innings, scoring five fours in his 27 off 68 balls. His dismissal, in the 22nd over, started a mini collapse as Shah found the edge of Jones’ bat and caught and bowled Scott Galloway for five.
At 71-6 in the 24th over, Pankhurst was joined by White and the pair up 43 runs on the board, putting Harpenden on top of the game for the first time in their innings.
Chalker cleaned up Pankhurst’s stumps, forcing him to walk for 31, his second highest score in the league this season, but he had done what was required as White and Darwin saw Harpenden comfortably to an two-wicket win.
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It was a vital victory as it kept them within touching distance of Radlett, and one they would have been kicking themselves had they not completed following Jones and Darwin’s excellent bowling displays.
Jamie Hewitt and Matthew Hill had given Welwyn a good start, opening the innings with a 46-run stand. That was where the good work for Welwyn ended as wickets fell regularly.
Jones did the damage at the top of the order, having Hewitt and Louis Champion pick out Pankhurst in the field and rearranging Shah’s stumps. Frazer then spun out Hill as Welwyn slumped to 76-4.
The visiting batsmen were never allowed to get comfortable and build partnerships as Jones completed his four-wicket haul by removing Simon Greenall LBW.
Frazer and Darwin took two wickets in three overs to expose the tail and Darwin took full advantage, dismissing Daniel Onions and Andrew Nolan in quick succession, before Galloway had Simon Bridgewater out for one to give Harpenden a seemingly easy chase.
Shah made it more difficult than the hosts had hoped but Pankhurst saw them over the line. Just.