Pankhurst’s 93 sees Harpenden past Bessborough

Jake Pankhurst clips one off his pads

Jake Pankhurst clips one off his pads - Credit: Archant

Harpenden safely navigated their first round ECB National Cup tie against Bessborough thanks to an outstanding performance from Jake Pankhurst.

With four players out on Hertfordshire County duty, Pankhurst, captaining the team, smacked a 94-ball 93 from the number four spot in the batting line-up.

His heroics were backed up by Harry Josephs and Guy Watts, both of whom scored 40, as Harpenden set Bessborough a target on 235.

Kushal Patel got the visitors tantalisingly close to winning the match with a century but his team-mates struggled to find the same success and Bessborough fell 13 runs short.

Harpenden have placed a lot of importance on this championship and nerves seemed to get the better of the hosts’ depleted line-up as Nick Reeve (17), Oliver Tuck (4) and Scott Galloway struggled at the top of the order.

Pankhurst had no such reservations and quickly found a rhythm at the crease. He and Josephs put on 96 runs before the latter was caught as Harpenden recovered from 45-3 to reach 141-4.

After Jack Killen (2) was caught, Watts and Pankhurst bludgeoned another 87 runs to put Harpenden in a commanding position.

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When Pankhurst was finally caught, the innings quickly ended as Harpenden registered two golden ducks and one more run to end on 235-9 from 45 overs.

Much like Harpenden, Bessborough struggled out of the gate on the Common pitcha and they lost two wickets for 51 runs.

Patel, like Pankhurst, played the anchor role in the line-up and his 128 from 132 balls saw Bessborough reach 206-7. His dismissal, caught by Oliver Tuck off Watts, all by ended the contest as the batsmen had wilted under the pressure of Harpenden’s bowlers.

Killen took the final wicket, his second of the match, to end the game in fitting fashion, with Pankhurst’s superb, match-winning performance being the difference.