WGC silently moving into contention at the top of the SHCL Premier Division

PUBLISHED: 15:00 24 July 2018

Welwyn Garden City's Louis Champion and Dan Blacktopp in the match between Harpenden and WGC. Picture: DANNY LOO

Welwyn Garden City's Louis Champion and Dan Blacktopp in the match between Harpenden and WGC. Picture: DANNY LOO

©2018 Danny Loo Photography - all rights reserved

Welwyn Garden City have moved into second place in the Saracens Hertfordshire Cricket League Premier Division after their draw away to Harpenden.

Welwyn Garden City's Alex Chalker batting in the match between Harpenden and WGC. Picture: DANNY LOOWelwyn Garden City's Alex Chalker batting in the match between Harpenden and WGC. Picture: DANNY LOO

They are level with points with Totteridge Millhillians and just 19 behind North Mymms with only six games to go.

Welwyn Garden City's Dan Blacktopp batting in the match between Harpenden and WGC. Picture: DANNY LOOWelwyn Garden City's Dan Blacktopp batting in the match between Harpenden and WGC. Picture: DANNY LOO

And for a side who have appeared for the most part of this year to have been frustratingly inconsistent, their surge up the table seems perfectly timed.

Welwyn Garden City's Louis Champion in the match between Harpenden and WGC. Picture: DANNY LOOWelwyn Garden City's Louis Champion in the match between Harpenden and WGC. Picture: DANNY LOO

Batting first they reached 315-8 with most batsmen contributing, although a third of them belonged to the in-form Jamie Southgate who top scored with 109.

Welwyn Garden City's Alex Chalker chips a ball up and is caught by Harpenden'sArthur Garrett in the match between Harpenden and WGC. Picture: DANNY LOOWelwyn Garden City's Alex Chalker chips a ball up and is caught by Harpenden'sArthur Garrett in the match between Harpenden and WGC. Picture: DANNY LOO

Debutant Hemang Ramlaul, promoted to the first team after a string of fine performances for the seconds, scored a pleasant 24 before being run out by a direct hit from former Garden City player Ben Frazer.

Harpenden's Andrew Neal bowls in the match between Harpenden and WGC. Picture: DANNY LOOHarpenden's Andrew Neal bowls in the match between Harpenden and WGC. Picture: DANNY LOO

The target always seemed likely to be too much for the home side and the second innings was about whether WGC could force the win.

Harpenden's Arthur Garrett bowls in the match between Harpenden and WGC. Picture: DANNY LOOHarpenden's Arthur Garrett bowls in the match between Harpenden and WGC. Picture: DANNY LOO

That said Harpenden did give it a good crack. The opening partnership between Jake Pankhurst and Gregg Cooper made 59 and the partnership for the third wicket between Ben Clements (76*) and Alex Axon (25) got to 63.

Welwyn Garden City's Alex Chalker walks off in the match between Harpenden and WGC. Picture: DANNY LOOWelwyn Garden City's Alex Chalker walks off in the match between Harpenden and WGC. Picture: DANNY LOO

But by this point WGC had turned to spin and Southgate (3-56) and Matthew Grant (4-84) had got wickets to fall regularly.

Welwyn Garden City's Dan Blacktopp batting in the match between Harpenden and WGC. Picture: DANNY LOOWelwyn Garden City's Dan Blacktopp batting in the match between Harpenden and WGC. Picture: DANNY LOO

But even though they got to bowl 58 overs, Harpenden batted out for the draw, finishing on 202-7.

The second team’s battle at the top of Division Three A continued with a comfortable 90-run win over North Enfield.

Vice captain Andrew Lovell led the charge with 125 as WGC made 308-6 and in reply Enfield only managed 218-9 from their 50 overs.

Second-placed City face league leaders Redbourn on Saturday.

The thirds also won but it was a far closer run thing against Old Finchleains 2nds as they still needed 20 runs with only two wickets in hand.

Fortunately Will Haggar and James Fitt did their job to see them over the line.

The fourths also won, beating Hitchin 3rds, while the fifths made a decent fist of it against league leaders Little Berkhamsted before losing by five wickets, Paul Howes the pick of the bowlers with three wickets.

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