Welwyn go clear at the top but are made to work every inch of the way by Harpenden
PUBLISHED: 17:44 16 July 2019
Welwyn Garden City made it four wins in a row to strengthen their hold on top spot in Herts Cricket League Premier Division - but the success against Harpenden was not as straight forward as some of those victories.
The hard-fought encounter at Digswell Park saw Welwyn get home with three wickets and one over to spare.
And with Radlett losing to North Mymms, Welwyn are now 43 points clear at the summit.
The game began with a similar pattern, Welwyn winning the toss and electing to field in an attempt to strangle the life out of any batting attack.
But the pace attack of Connor Emerton and David O'Sullivan found life difficult from the off as Harpenden's openers, Tom
Beasley and skipper Nick Lamb, became the first opening pair this season to put on a partnership of 50 for the first wicket.
The visitors got two more runs before Owais Shah's hands held on to a Beasley shot.
Spinners Matthew Grant and Simon Bridgewater stemmed the flow of runs and picked up three wickets between them, including Lamb for 42, as Harpenden were reduced to 96-4.
Aaron Burrage batted well in partnerships of 39 with Andrew Neal and 35 with Caleb Stewart on his way to 43 but his wicket spelled the beginning of the end and although they got through 60 overs, they finished on 198-9.
Simon Bridgewater finished with the best figures of 3-54, ably supported by Grant, Shah and Emerton who all claimed two wickets each.
Openers Louis Champion and Owais Shah gave WGC a brisk start to their innings, scoring 32 in the first three overs, before Champion fell to a catch on the boundary.
But things still seemed to be going well as Dan Blacktopp (51) and Alex Chalker (30) took Welwyn onto 129-2 with a no-risk approach.
Arthur Garrett had a different idea and his 4-72 dragged Harpenden back into the game, with WGC on 153-6.
The hosts' strong batting line-up managed to see them through though, even despite losing another wicket and Grant and O'Sullivan finished the game off just in time.
Aside from Garrett Jack Doyle bagged 2-22.
WGC are on the road on Saturday when they travel to Luton Town & Indians.