Welwyn Garden City off to a flyer in search of a fourth successive championship

PUBLISHED: 06:31 14 May 2019

Harpenden V WGC - Alex Chalker batting for WGC.


Picture: Karyn Haddon

Harpenden V WGC - Alex Chalker batting for WGC. Picture: Karyn Haddon

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Welwyn Garden City began their hunt for a fourth successive Herts Cricket League title with a solid 65-run win away to Harpenden.

Harpenden V WGC - Louis Champion batting for WGC.


Picture: Karyn HaddonHarpenden V WGC - Louis Champion batting for WGC. Picture: Karyn Haddon

They were asked to bat first after losing the toss but the dependable opening pair of Alex Chalker and Louis Champion gave them the perfect platform to build on.

They put on 40 before Chalker edged a Tom Beasley delivery behind to keeper Alex Axon and William Downes soon accounted for Champion (36) and Daniel Blacktopp.

Harpenden V WGC - Louis Champion batting for WGC.


Picture: Karyn HaddonHarpenden V WGC - Louis Champion batting for WGC. Picture: Karyn Haddon

That just brought Owais Shah and James Southgate together and the pair put together 61 for the fourth wicket.

Shah was eventually stumped off the bowling of Scott Galloway for 43 but Southgate went on to make a well-crafted 78.

Harpenden V WGC - Louis Champion batting for WGC.


Picture: Karyn HaddonHarpenden V WGC - Louis Champion batting for WGC. Picture: Karyn Haddon

By the time he was caught by Beasley off the bowling of Jack Doyle, WGC had taken the score on to 236-7.

They would only add a further 12 runs as Nick Lamb rattled through the remaining batsmen, finishing as Harpenden's best bowler with figures of 4-35.

Harpenden V WGC - Alex Chalker batting for WGC.


Picture: Karyn HaddonHarpenden V WGC - Alex Chalker batting for WGC. Picture: Karyn Haddon

But the score of 248 gave Welwyn plenty of confidence in a game played under intermittent drizzle and with the ball not coming easily on to the bat.

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And they soon had Harpenden under pressure.

Chalker's spin bowling saw off Beasley in the first over and he also took the wickets of Jake Pankhurst and Axon.

Harpenden V WGC - Alex Chalker batting for WGC.


Picture: Karyn HaddonHarpenden V WGC - Alex Chalker batting for WGC. Picture: Karyn Haddon

The pace of Connor Emerton at the other end was also causing problems for the hosts' batting and he took a caught and bowled to dismiss Aaron Burrage, a just reward for a spell of bowling that saw the ball regularly beat the bat.

Matthew Grant's run out of James Latham completed a superb opening spell for WGC and left Harpenden on 67-5 with the contest effectively.

Harpenden V WGC - Louis Champion batting for WGC.


Picture: Karyn HaddonHarpenden V WGC - Louis Champion batting for WGC. Picture: Karyn Haddon

Harpenden's lower order of Galloway (38), Joe Regan (31), Lamb (27) and Harry Josephs (21) did give the score a creditable look though as they got to 183.

But all six of WGC's bowlers took wickets, with Chalker's 3-29 the pick of the bunch.

Welwyn's second team also enjoyed a good win as they beat Cockfosters by 20 runs.

Liam Mitchell top scored with 53 as they reached 198-9 in their 50 overs and thanks to 4-30 from debutant Tom Whitton, Cockfosters fell short.

The fourths beat Hatfield Hyde by 35 runs, Sandeep Sharma hitting 51 not out and Richard Dolan claiming 5-30.

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