Pipe century in vain as Harpenden edge victory

Maxford Pipe edges a Simon White ball on his way to a century. Picture: Danny Loo

Maxford Pipe edges a Simon White ball on his way to a century. Picture: Danny Loo - Credit: Archant

Match report: Letchworth GC CC 235-6 (50 overs) Harpenden CC 236-8 (49.2 overs)

A record fifth-wicket partnership of 193 between Maxford Pipe and Will Aitkenhead was ultimately not quite enough to give the Garden City victory at high-flying Harpenden in Premier League on Saturday.

After winning the toss and electing to bat, Letchworth’s top order was ripped apart by Herts paceman Will Jones who dismissed Navin Seneveratne, Will Bates and Adam Winchester in quick succession.

With Matt Bridge being unluckily run out backing up for 9, the visitors found themselves in trouble at 19-4.

Pipe and Aitkenhead then began the fightback and gradually wrested the initiative back from Harpenden’s attack before completely dominating it in a wonderful batting display.

The score had reached 212 when Pipe, having just completed his century, was caught behind for 104.

Jones returned to bowl Aitkenhead for 87 and finish with 4-29, but a late flurry helped Garden City finish on 235-6.

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This was still going to be difficult to defend against Harpenden’s strong top order and Letchworth did themselves no favours with a poor fielding display in the first 20 overs, which allowed home skipper Nick Lamb to chance his arm and get them ahead of the clock.

Several chances went begging before Gregg Cooper was finally caught behind by Sam Booth off Pipe for 30 with the score on 86.

From this point the game turned and Letchworth’s fielding suddenly improved dramatically and wickets began to fall regularly.

Harry Aitkenhead had Dan Blacktopp caught behind for 27 and then Will Bates trapped Ben Fraser lbw for 16.

Bates grabbed two more wickets to leave Harpenden on 186-5 and they put pressure on the home side with three outstanding pieces of fielding, two run outs by Will Aitkenhead and Winchester and a brilliant boundary catch by Seneviratne as Harpenden slumped to 225-8.

However Lamb had stood firm at the other end and he steered his side to victory with four balls to spare, finishing on 114no.

Bates finished with 3-41 as the Garden City were left to wonder what might have been.

On Sunday, Letchworth completed their County 20/20 qualifying round with victory over North Mymms and now have to wait for the result of the game between Hemel Hempstead and Langleybury to see if they will progress to the quarter final.

Letchworth 2nds lost their 100 per cent record at Whitethorn Lane to Luton Town and Indians 2nds.

Luton scored 182 all out with Dave Albon taking 4-33 and George Denman 2-24 and then bowled the home side out for 152 with Albon making 28 and Jo Randall 22.

The 3rds won at Old Cholmelians 2nds who made 210-5 with Shaun Denman taking 2-26 before Pranav Tari (53no), Matt Gilbert (46) and Tom Gillham (45) took the Garden City to a five wicket win.

The 4ths and 5ths both had comfortable wins with the 4ths bowling out Hemel Hempstead for 85 at Fairfield Park with Macauley Denman taking 3-12, Om Kaarupathi 3-27 and Steve Lubbe 2-22.

Skipper Mike Hughes (57no) then steered his side to a nine wicket win.

The 5ths bowled out Northampton Exiles 3rds for 127 with Ira Johal taking 4-16 and Ravi Odedra 3-22. They then reached 131-6 with James Cruttenden making 45, Connor Pond 39 and Dan Roberts 25.

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