Stevenage s batsmen got back on the right track to move up to second in the HCPL Division Two East. They completed a seven-wicket victory in fine style by chasing down Harpenden s 224 with seven overs to spare. With Harpenden batting first on a prime batt

Stevenage's batsmen got back on the right track to move up to second in the HCPL Division Two East.

They completed a seven-wicket victory in fine style by chasing down Harpenden's 224 with seven overs to spare.

With Harpenden batting first on a prime batting deck, Stevenage's bowlers and fielders were prepared for the long haul, but needed only 15 minutes to make the first breakthrough.

Amit Dattani provided it, as has so often been the case this season, this time getting an outside edge that was gratefully accepted by wicketkeeper David Carr.

An 84-run partnership followed but while Winchester looked at ease in reaching his 51, Bennett-Baggs (33) found the going tough.

Tanweer Sikandar (0-29 in seven) and Dattani (1-48 in 14) kept a lid on the run rate.

Azhar Ali eventually ended the partnership by bowling Bennett-Baggs and followed it a run later with Winchester trapped leg before.

At 94-3, Harpenden's innings was at a crossroads, with their overseas batting star Sulaman Qadir (son of Pakistani leg-spin legend Abdul Qadir) at the crease and an inexperienced looking middle and lower order to bat with him.

This contrast in ability proved a decisive factor in the next wicket as a frustrated Qadir caused the run-out of a struggling Kennyside.

Qadir found a more reassuring partner in Tuck and with confidence in him, he demonstrated exceptional shot selection and execution.

The pair shared a stand of 64 which was ended by quick work from Carr, stumping Tuck for 18 off the bowling of Syed Ali Kazmi.

Qadir continued to dominate the scoring but the lower order support fell by the wayside as Ali (5-82 in 22) worked his magic.

He finally took the key wicket of Qadir for 90 as he top edged a cut into Carr's gloves.

Ali Kazmi (3-61 in 14.2) wasted little time in wrapping up the innings, clean bowling the last two and leaving himself on a hat-trick this Saturday.

From 212-5 and a total of 275 beckoning, Harpenden were dismissed for 224 within the space of 10 overs to leave Stevenage with a gettable total.

Stevenage's reply got off to a poor start losing Sikandar without a run on the board to Mason who was the only man to extract any seam and swing movement all day.

A 30-run stand between Gary Brown (15) and Ashley Bayes (17) settled some nerves but Mason hit the stumps twice more to leave Stevenage on 59-3.

Unfortunately for Harpenden, Mason was effectively a one-man bowling attack, getting through 18 overs for 3-64.

At the opposite end, four other bowlers were tried but all went the same way, which was regularly to the boundary.

Roe disappeared at four an over, Qadir and Kerley at sixes and Tuck at eight.

The batters that wreaked the havoc were Nas Ahmed and Kazmi.

Ahmed (93no) glided, guided and caressed the ball all around The Common and in Kazmi he found the ideal foil, whose swashbuckling style left Harpenden's captain chasing shadows.

The pair put on 168 runs setting a new Stevenage fourth wicket league partnership and seeing their side to victory.

* The seconds recorded a first win in the Herts League. Chasing St Albans second team's 228-5, they got home by three wickets thanks to Laurie Brown, returning after injury, making a fine 92.

A good all-round team performance by the thirds saw off Luton Town and Indians thirds who were bowled out for 112 in reply to Stevenage's 169 all out.

Vijay Marri (4-29) and Phil Ashby (3-11) totally foxed Tewin for 110 as the fourths won by four wickets.

Big-hitting skipper Richard Sullivan's 58 was the difference as the fifths totalled 159 before bowling Wormley out for just 69.

Only three batsmen reached double figures as the sixth team made 105 before their Sawbridgeworth counterparts won by seven wickets inside 23 overs.

* On Sunday, Stevenage won by 28 runs against Luton Cricketers in the Millman League.

Ashley Bayes, with a solid 53, set the foundation for Stevenage's 202-7 in 45 overs.

The home side threw everything at the ball, including hitting 10 sixes, before they succumbed to Stevenage's spinners and 174 all out.

The Academy XI beat Potters Bar by 30 runs.

Despite losing two early wickets, Chris Whitworth (86) and Jack Mitchell (53no) with a stand of 80 set up a useful total of 198-7.

Fourteen-year-old Ryan Pincott's spell of 4-28 turned the game as Potters Bar were kept to 168-8.

The Sunday thirds lost to Aspenden by three wickets despite Phil Maguire's 38 and three wickets for Danny Hanslow.