Harpenden blaze into play-off race with stunning victory

James Latham was in majestic form with the bat for Harpenden against Bishops Stortford. Picture: MEL

James Latham was in majestic form with the bat for Harpenden against Bishops Stortford. Picture: MELISSA PAGE - Credit: Archant

Harpenden roared into the Herts Cricket League Premier Division play-off picture after a thumping nine-wicket win at home to Bishop’s Stortford.

The Harpenden Common-based club have been in superb form in recent weeks, winning three of their last four matches with the only blip a narrow loss to league leaders and champions Welwyn Garden City last week.

But they got back to winning ways in style with bowlers and batsmen in top form.

Two men in particular stood out in each discipline, Jack Doyle with the ball and James Latham with the bat.

Doyle was the first to shine after Harpenden skipper Nick Lamb won the toss and elected to field.

A run-out of Stortford skipper Dominic Chatfield provided a strong start and when dangerman Eddie Ballard was caught by Lamb off the bowling of Aaron Burrage for eight, the visitors were on 23-2.

Reece Hussain and Adam Bassingthwaite provided a bit of a recovery with a third-wicket stand of 70 but that's when Doyle struck for the first time, bowling the latter with Harry Josephs taking the catch.

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Arthur Garrett took a smart caught and bowled to dismiss Joe Burslem and leave Stortford on 100-4.

Hussain was proving to be the thorn in the side but when Doyle finally had him caught by Latham on 85, it spelt the beginning of the end.

Only Joe Hawkins and Travis Hussain were able to get into double figures in the lower order as Stortford were all out for 178 in 42 overs.

Doyle's day just got better and by the close he had snaffled 5-52 in his 14 overs.

Garrett chipped in with 2-47 while Burrage took 1-30.

The target was chased down fairly quickly, the winning runs coming in the 30th over and featured just three batsmen.

Lamb and Latham got Harpenden off to a flyer, putting on 128 for the first wicket before the skipper was caught on 52, crafted from 83 balls and featuring eight fours.

Latham meanwhile was not hanging about and he would finish unbeaten on 88, the runs coming off 79 balls and containing 16 fours and one six.

Jake Pankhurst also joined in the fun with a rapid 29 in 17 deliveries, bashing the ball to boundary on six occasions.

Harps are now fourth and face a trip to West Herts on Saturday.