Rain a pain for Harpenden II

Superb kncok from Bates not enough

SHCL Division Two

Northwood 217-8

Harpenden II 216-9

Match drawn

“I CAN’T stand the rain” Ann Peebles sang in 1973 and Harpenden II may feel the same way. Already robbed by the weather of probable points against the three lowest sides in the table, this was another match where Harpenden might well curse anyone in the field of meteorology. On the field of play, Harpenden allowed Northwood to score too many in a total 217-8 but a strong batting line-up felt that 43 overs in reply would be a fair chase. Further rain then caused another eight overs to be dropped so that only 35 were to be bowled in reply. League rules allow for no reduction in a total posted in the first innings of a match then shortened by rain. Will Bates (93 in 57 balls) was in superb command with the bat but both he and Gregg Cooper (55 in 60) were out before the game was safe and Harpenden were unable to scramble the final runs in the last over bowled by the commendable Stuart Noach (53 in 84 and 5-0-26-2). A disappointing draw but Harpenden move up two places to fifth in Division II.

Captain David Whiteley is aware that matches are starting to run out: “The playing conditions and poor application of our cricket basics were very frustrating. We got behind in our overs bowling first but we conceded too many late runs. Will Bates was tremendous but the rest of us could not finish off the job. We were short by one run but such a fine margin may have a huge impact on our season.”

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Harpenden III remain in the Division Three promotion hunt but their performance against Northwood Town was not what stand-in skipper Paul Goodwin had in mind and neither was the all out attack of the Northwood batsmen. With key bowlers on holiday the game plan was to chase the runs but Northwood struck out impressively for a team low in the table and they ended their innings on a thumping 246-6 in 53 overs. The St. George’s pitch regularly produces 500 runs in a day so Harpenden felt the game was still in the balance but a loss of early wickets and only 16 runs scored in the first 14 overs left them out of the game. The match was drawn with Harpenden well shy at 166-8 with Nathan Choudhury (57) notching a half century.

Stand-in captain Paul Goodwin said: “It was pretty much a day to forget for us. On the bright side, rain elsewhere helped and that means that the fourth promotion place is still a target if we can finish the season strongly.”

Harpenden IV were all out for 159 in 37 overs as they lost by six wickets to Bentley Heath in Division Seven. A fifty from David Byrne (54) was the only Harpy highlight.