Welwyn Garden City use squad strength to scamper to thrilling win over Harpenden

Louis Champion steered Welwyn Garden City to a hard-fought win at Harpenden. Picture: KARYN HADDON

Louis Champion steered Welwyn Garden City to a hard-fought win at Harpenden. Picture: KARYN HADDON - Credit: Archant

Starring performances from Mohammed Rizvi, Louis Champion and Connor Emerton made sure Welwyn Garden City remained unbeaten in the Herts Cricket League Premier Division after a four-wicket success at Harpenden.

City have won three of their opening four games in the reduced campaign, the other match a thrilling tie with Potters Bar with whom their share top spot in the division.

This was another thrilling game and one that needed rescuing late on.

Rizvi had ripped through the Harpenden middle order before finishing off the tail, leaving the hosts 172 all out.

His final figures were a wonderful 6-38 although there was 2-30 from Emerton and a wicket too for Simon Bridgewater.

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Scott Galloway top scored with 41 for Harpenden who only managed one 50-plus partnership in the innings.

In reply though Welwyn, who had taken to the field wearing black arm bands in respect of Tom Piggott, son of Keith, life member, ex-player and stalwart of the club, struggled to get going.

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A leading edge saw Owais Shah depart for six and two balls later Adil Zareef was trapped leg before without troubling the scorers.

Alex Evans had taken both in an eventful over which saw him bowl six wides and it left WGC on 24-2.

Jack Doyle, bowling a good spell of spin, then kept the pressure on and ensured that away wickets continued to tumble.

Andrew Nolan was bowled for 15, Rizvi and Dan Blacktopp were caught by Andrew Neal and James Latham, for seven and six respectively, and when Dylan Van Der Westhuizen was caught behind by Tom Beasley for three, Welwyn were in peril at 91-6.

But while one end was seeing wickets tumble and stumps shattered, the other saw Champion quietly biding his time.

And when the opener found Emerton able to stick around with him, the game’s momentum changed.

The pair batted beautifully and only one run-out scare almost ended the unbeaten 82-run partnership that saw Welwyn to a four-wicket success with a little more than five overs remaining.

Champion ended on 67 not out while Emerton was on 37. Doyle meanwhile took 4-24 and Evans 2-40 for Harpenden who will wonder about what might have been.

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