Rain brings premature end to intriguing derby clash
SHL Division Two
SHL Division Three
Harpenden II 188-4
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LOCAL rivals Redbourn and Harpenden II were forced to settle for a draw as heavy rain brought a premature end to an intriguing match on Saturday.
A depleted Redbourn missing three key players won the toss and opted to field in conditions which appeared to favour bowling.
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However Harpenden got off to a solid start as opening bowlers Fleming and Jones both struggled hit a good line and length with openers Wiese and Hooper taking the score to 35 before Alistair Jones removed Wiese with an unplayable delivery for 18.
When Fleming bowled Hooper for 19 Harpenden’s second string where struggling at 45-2. Jones (2-35) was rewarded for an excellent spell with the wicket of Cooper for 16 before a fourth wicket partnership of 75 between Francis and Howard took the score to 148. The partnership was eventually broken by Dan Darvell who bowled another excellent spell and deserved more than 1-35 from his 11 overs.
Sixteen-year-old Robin Mauder also bowled a good spell at the pavilion end on his first outing in Division Two. Some late hitting from Francis (65*) and captain Whiteley took the score to 188 before Whiteley made the bold decision to declare with three overs still to be bowled, obviously keen to force the victory with promotion to Division One still an outside possibility.
Redbourn struggled in the early stages of their reply, with openers Osman, Tookey and Naismith all dismissed as Redbourn fell to 27-3 with Harpenden bowling tightly and making runs hard to come by. Jones then joined captain Dan Roe at the crease and the pair looked in control as they took the score to 62-3 with Roe in particularly good form as he reached 31 not out.
Spinner Darwin was then brought back into the attack and with boundary riders a plenty and rain clouds gathering a stalemate ensued. It was at this point when a heavy rain shower interrupted proceedings and although it only lasted for 10 minutes, the ground quickly became unplayable and with no time to allow the pitch to dry, the umpires were forced to call the game off. With Redbourn needing 117 and Harpenden seven wickets from the remaining 22 overs, both sides will have been confident about forcing the victory but unfortunately they were robbed of what could have been an exciting conclusion.