No separating Potters Bar and WGC after derby cracker
PUBLISHED: 09:03 06 August 2019 | UPDATED: 09:03 06 August 2019
Potters Bar and Welwyn Garden City served up a superb advert for the Herts Cricket League Premier Division with a pulsating and at times feisty derby clash that finally ended in a draw.
There was plenty to delight the watching supporters at The Walk with exciting batting, accurate bowling and even a
couple of moments of controversy.
Welwyn won the toss and skipper Andy Nolan adopted the tried and tested method of fielding first, forcing Potters Bar to make all the running against a side who had lost just twice in the last 22 league games.
The hosts lost Charlie Scott early as he snicked a Connor Emerton delivery behind but Steve Gale and Rehan Hassan bedded in and batted nicely as the visitors, although bowling some tidy stuff, struggled for wickets.
The stand of 126 was the first century partnership scored against WGC this season and at 142-1 the momentum was with the Bar.
Gale was finally removed by Simon Bridgewater for a solid 63 off 101 balls and WGC's spin bowlers started to regain control of the game.
Hassan continued to bat impressively and was supported by Rishi Patel, James Scott and Thilan Walallawita, who hit 26 off 10 balls before being well caught by a diving Matthew Grant on the boundary off the bowling of Owais Shah, who was the best of the visiting bowlers on 2-52.
The number three batsmen continued on his merry way though to a maiden club century and was unbeaten on 109 from a patient 186 balls as the home side finished on 259-6 from their 60 overs.
Potters Bar got an early breakthrough when Louis Champion was caught off a Walallawita delivery but Shah (75) and Dan Blacktopp (43) repaired the damage with a stylish 105 partnership of their own.
Their departure, Shah's via a wonderful direct hit from the boundary by Walallawita, left them on 131-3 but still in touch with the run rate and James Southgate (35) and Nolan (37) hit a run-a-ball partnership of 61 to leave WGC needing 58 to win off 45 balls.
A tense finish looked on the cards but the loss of the WGC pair took the momentum out of the innings and they settled for a winning draw, secured by Emerton in the final over, Welwyn ending on 238-9.
Walallawita took 3-81 and there was 3-68 for Luke Chapman.
The result keeps Welwyn top although their lead over Radlett is now down to just seven points.
Bar meanwhile remain third, a further 27 points behind but 46 clear of fifth-placed Harpenden and still looking good for a play-off berth.