WATFORD TOWN's inconsistent form continues to halt their Division One progress as they went down to Harpenden in a match that was well within their grasp on Saturday, June 15.

Harpenden, asked to bat first by Town skipper Khalid Manzoor, looked set to post a sizeable total until Sohail Bashir broke an opening stand of 66 with two wickets in as many balls.

The turning point of the innings came when the umpire failed to give a sharp caught and bowled chance by Khalid Manzoor offered by Jon Sheard, the Harpenden main run-scorer, who went on to make 86.

Town stuck to their task well but allowed the visitors off the leash in the closing overs to post a score of over 200.

The instant loss of Manzoor, to the second ball of the innings, and then Safraz Iqbal, for an entertaining 17 off just eight balls, saw Town rocking at 17-2.

A superb third-wicket stand of 89 the highest of the match between Gulfraz Riaz and Tom Kelly restored order to the Town innings and gave them a platform on which to build for victory.

However, Kelly, Riaz and Si Sampat the backbone of the Town order then crucially departed for the addition of just 25 runs after Town, who had looked poised for a successful run-chase, spiralled to defeat.

The tail subsequently succumbed to the spin of Mark Doherty and the pace of Chris Arnold as they were bowled out with 16 balls left of the match.

June 21, 2002 11:30