Match Report: 27th July, 2:00PM, Harpenden Vets, Harpenden Common

Result: Lost by 4 wickets

It was a rarity this summer - a lovely summer's afternoon and the sun beating down with the added bonus of playing on the Common against Harpenden Vets. It must be like policemen, because the older I get, the younger the vets seem to be! In this case the Harpenden Vets side was crammed with 20 year olds from the midweek side (admittedly we had a couple of youngsters as well!). But well done to Phil for managing to get two sides out bolstered by the appearance of 4 Waters on the pitch spread equally between the two sides. The fact the Vets won can perhaps be attributed to Phil's inside knowledge of our techniques and weak spots rather than the power of youth?

Ian B won the toss and elected to bat. A bright start and to the immortal words of "I'll play myself in a bit more and see off these bowlers" Tim Jenkins swished at the next ball and was duly bowled ending a promising opening partnership. Simon J followed in the next over for 15 and from then on we lost wickets at a too regular rate - and quite a few to full tosses. 80 - 5 at the half way stage thanks to 26 from Ben Newton, but such a score puts extra pressure on the bottom half of the order to bat out the 40 overs and post a defensible total. Graham Bassett and Ian B hung around against their accurate spinners, Rob hit a hearty 18, Billy Hewlett 10 and the star performance came from Paul A with some lovely clean hitting off a former tutee of his to make 38* and top score. We ended up on 157 all out in the 39th over. Not a bad effort against 4 young and accurate bowlers, but probably a good 40 short on that pitch. We just played too many 20 over shots.

Their opening batsman was not going to hang around and anything loose from Billy, Chris or Ian tended to end up over the ropes for 4. He was doing the bulk of the scoring and the Vets were well ahead of the rate. We'd had one success - a cameo wicket ct A Waters b C Waters - not quite the Lillee, Willey, Dilley combo but still noteworthy - when skipper Ian tossed to ball to Rob Cole. In his next 4 overs Rob tore the heart out of the Vets batting - two lovely flighted deliveries deceiving the batsmen and Graham Reid obliged with quick hands to complete the two stumpings, including that of their opening bat for 75. Two caught and bowled and an LBW gave Rob a fivefer (5-42), and suddenly we were in with a sniff with them at 120 odd for 6, but to win we had to take wickets as they were down to needing just two an over. And what better batsman to see them home than Phil himself - denied the winning runs, but there at the end as the Vets won by 4 wickets with 10 overs to spare.

A very pleasant few drinks at the club bar before heading off to see the Olympic opening ceremony. All in all a pleasant afternoon/evening of cricket.

Match Reporter: Simon Jarvis

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