Wheato II take the bragging rights

Tree takes out Harpenden batting line up

SHL Division Seven

Harpenden IV 77

Wheathampstead II 81-2

Wheathampstead II won by eight wickets

IN only the third ever game to take place on the club’s newly laid wicket, Wheathampstead’s second string took on fellow strugglers Harpenden IV, in a contest always imbued with that little bit of spice which peppers meetings between these keenest of local rivals.

Despite a dubious forecast, Nomansland Common was bathed in sun at the toss and home skipper James McEwan called correctly as the coin landed Wheato side up. Buoyed by a far stronger team than he has been able to field in recent weeks, McEwan stuck Harpy into bat and what a decision it proved to be.

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Despite the benevolent conditions, the rain earlier in the week combined with the relatively embryonic pitch, meant that something of the devil lurked beneath and the low bounce certainly accounted for Harpenden’s unfortunate opener, Bryn Luffman, who was dismissed by a Nick Martin pee roller. This dismissal sparked a huge collapse and astonishingly, eight of the wickets to fall came via the timbers being disrupted, with only Ahmed run out and Malik caught. Top scorer for Harpenden was Hewitt with a flashy 13, before he backed away once too often and Dave Tree uprooted his middle stump. Harpenden were all out for a paltry 77, with Tree (11-1-32-6) and Martin (9-1-31-3) delivering fantastic performances with the ball.

Despite this low target, the home changing room wasn’t exactly an ocean of calm as time after time this season, Wheato has chronically under-performed with willow in hand.

Thankfully, on this occasion, they were able to call upon the no-nonsense, uncomplicated batting of Adam Potter, who despite his short stature can aim a meaty blow. He went about his work with all the glee of a tree-starved lumberjack as the 77 evaporated into nothing. By the time he was out for 39, the game was up, and it was left to the club’s resident Aussie, Todd Hoolahan to hit the winning runs as victory was secured for the loss of just two wickets.

After the game a gleeful McEwan was full of beans. He said: “I am actually on the verge of buying a house with my girlfriend however, this victory is far more important in the grand scheme of things. If availability remains good, we have a great chance of going on a run and really doing some damage in the league.”