Sat 03
1st X1
Welwyn Garden City CC


By Mark Shepherd
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POTTERS BAR 259 for 9 off 60 overs had a losing draw with Welwyn Garden City 238 for 9 off 55 overs

A stunning, at times fiesty game, between two local rivals brought out a fine contest, where all 22 players gave their all in a great advert for the Saracens Herts Premier League.

Visiting skipper Andy Nolan won the toss and elected to bowl first and for Bar to win they would have to make the all the running to beat a side who had been defeated just twice in 22 league matches.

Bar lost Charlie Scott early as he snicked behind but Steve Gale and Rehan Hassan bedded in and batted nicely as the visitors, although bowling some tidy stuff struggled for wickets and it appeared that they were hoping pressure alone would gift them wickets. Rehan Hassan completed his second league fifty of the campaign and Steve Gale his third of the season as Bar were looking capable of setting a sizeable target. The pair were shaking hands on a 100-partnership in 171 balls and when lunch arrived, Bar were 129 for 1 off 34 overs and looking in good shape.

After the break Welwyn upped their game a tad and the spinners came into their own and squeezed Bar. Steve Gale was bowled around his legs by Simon Bridgewater for 63 and a breezy 21 from Rishi Patel was ended by a fine catch at midwicket by Jamie Southgate. Pat Scott then whacked a long hop straight to deep backward square for 7 and the chase for runs had seen wickets fall and the scoreboard showing 181 for 3.

James Scott joined Rehan Hassan and the tempo was upped a tad but the latter was struggling to beat the field as the rush for runs began.

James Scott perished for 16 as he was leg before but then a whirlwind innings of 26 in 10 balls from Thilan Walallawita saw Bar pass 250. Rehan Hassan completed his maiden Bar hundred off 182 balls, hitting 11 fours and a six. He ended 109* as Bar posted 259 for 6 from their 60 overs.

Welwyn got off to a poor start as Thilan Walallawita found the edge of Louis Champion's bat and was gobbled up by Rishi Patel (his twelfth catch of the season) at slip for just 1.

That however brought Dan Blacktopp to the wicket and he batted sensibly with gun batter Owais Shah and the pair batted easily through to the tea break and at the time, Bar looked short on ideas as the signs were looking a tad ominous at 64 for 1, needing 196 to win in 37 overs at 5.29 an over.

The pair put on 100 in 158 balls as the visitors only looked to step up a gear and the game was theirs for the taking. However soon after this Bar got the breakthrough as Dan Blacktopp was adjudged leg before for 43 off the bowling of Thilan Walallawita and the big wicket of the day was one of sheer brilliance.

Thilan Walallawita was poked out into the vacant midwicket area for what seemed an easy two. Thilan legged after it, turned blind and threw to the end Owais Shah was heading. The ball struck the stumps on the full and the ex-England man was run out by about a foot for an excellent 75 and Bar were in amongst the visitors. Alex Chalker was fourth to go at 141 as he skied to long off and James Scott took the catch off of Luke Chapman.

However the League Champions are made of stern stuff and a 61-run partnership, at better than a run a ball between Jamie Southgate and Andy Nolan got them right back in the hunt. Time however was starting to run out and was leading to a tense and fractious finish.

Skipper Nolan was stumped for a quick fire 37 and when Shay Emerton was bowled by Jigar Mehta, it was anyones game at 211 for 6. Thilan Walallawita then took an amazing catch at long on where he dived head first and held a fine catch in fading light to remove Jamie Southgate for 35 and at 217 for 7 all four results were still possible.

The win/draw target of 237 was now the visitors main target and the loss of David O'Sullivan, bowled by the excellent Thilan Walallawita gave Bar hope of an unlikely win but the game petered out a tad after Connor Emerton struck the ball to the boundary, which secured the win/draw for the visitors. The run out and a 9th wicket for Bar was largely insignificant as Welwyn Garden City ended 238 for 9 from 55 overs.

Thilan Walallawita took 3 for 81 and Luke Chapman 3 for 68 as both sides finished on 12 points, which may have been harsh on Bar, however Welwyn Garden City have rarely been tested this season and they will know thats the hardest contest they've had for some considerable time and its hoped both will meet again in the playoffs in September.

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Match details

Match date

Sat 03, Aug 2019