Randall has Cockfosters in a spin

Young Harpenden spinner decimates Cockfosters

SHL Division Two

Cockfosters 187

Harpenden II 193-4

Harpenden won by six wickets

WITH the retirement of the vintage Harpenden 2nd XI spinner Peter Makower this is a big season for the fizzing left arm spin of the promising Alex Randall. It can be a tough learning curve for young slow bowlers with captains often loathe to trust a spinner when the game gets tight and batsman wielding heavy pieces of willow. Harpenden has played against several talented young off spinners this season already and Randall (18-7-47-7) announced himself against Cockfosters last weekend with a match winning performance. Mixing parsimony with subtle variation Randall was the key figure after a switch of ends as Cockfosters tumbled from 139-3 to 187 all out in 49.5 overs. Only captain Matthew Fisher (63 in 53 balls) was able to take Randall on with some precious timing of the ball to the leg side but Harpenden caught everything that came their way despite some other mis-fields in the deep and at tea the game was there for the taking. Evergreen seamer John Kerley (17.5-7-47-3) picked up the rest of the wickets with a persistent opening spell from the pavilion end.

After the break a number of the Harpenden top order got starts with Sam Wiese, Mike Howard and Tom Stewart all making good thirties before finding a variety of methods of getting themselves dismissed. The biggest threat looked to have come from a rain shower that resulted in the loss of six overs but once play restarted it became clear that conditions were actually less in the bowling side’s favour than ever. From then on it was the most fluent and attacking period of batting in the game as Ed Washington (39* in 72 balls) and Ollie Tuck (36* in 38 balls) put on an unbroken 61 as Harpenden ran out comfortable winners by six wickets. Harpenden II move to eighth in the Division Two table and are starting to look upwards with an important game against Broxbourne this week.

Most Read

A satisfied David Whiteley said afterwards: “It was gracious of the Cockfosters captain to admit after the game that we had out-played them on the day. It was a very professional performance despite some clean striking in the middle overs that had us worried for a while. The contribution from Alex Randall shows the level of his potential as I don’t think he was even at his absolute best. The experience of John Kerley underpinned our bowling and our batting order looked strong on an unreliable surface.”

Simon Wade as IIIs skipper is as wise as anyone to the effect that availability can have on team selection but last Saturday his depleted side came away with a memorable victory against Eversholt in Division Three.

Eversholt set a stiff target of 255-5 in 53 overs with former Bedfordshire batsman Simon Davis (101*) scoring a worthy century despite sustaining a leg injury and requiring a runner. Wade turned to Guy Watts (16-2-61-3) in a restructured bowling attack missing many regulars but at the interval Harpenden knew that chasing over 250 in the second innings would be a real test for any batting order. James Latham (49) set the platform and then Ollie Chinneck (86*) and Wade himself (74) took the game away from the opposition with a stand of 129 for the 3rd wicket. Chinneck was in imperious form as Eversholt looked short of support bowling once the early overs had been negotiated. After Wade was out Mark Lowden (24) scythed some quick runs as the clouds started to gather with Harpenden only 14 short of victory. Rain then stopped play but frustration turned quickly to elation as Eversholt took the field for the final three overs with the winning runs scored with just 4 balls to spare.

Wade announced himself delighted as his team move up to third in the table: “Ollie Chinneck fittingly hitting the winning runs as he was brilliant after coming back from a hand injury and he’ll be pushing for a place back in the 2nd XI if he carries on like that. We really had to fight it out today to find out what we were capable of and I think that we got the result that we deserved.”

Rain saved the IVs as they struggled to a draw at 102-8 in reply to Wheathampstead’s 247 all out with only Ceri Luffman (32*) providing much resistance. However Stevenage V were bowled out quickly for 53 with Neil Mackey (17-5-21-6) doing the damage but Harpenden only squeaked home by 4 wickets at 56-6. The VI side drew against Boxmoor with Adam Driscoll (55*) scoring a half century at number seven in a total of 203-8 in 47 overs with Boxmoor III closing at 128-4 in 36 overs.