Played at Harpenden Common, Sunday 30 August 2020
Following the onset of Covid 19 and sad cancellation of the 2020 Tour, the annual fixture at Harpenden CC proved to be the Dragons only fixture for 2020 and which was itself in some doubt after a tropical downpour on Saturday evening. However, some fine work from the Harpenden ground staff and some welcome sunshine on Sunday morning meant the ground was in good shape as the 2pm start time rolled around.
After dining from a Sainsbury’s sandwich platter, Dragons skipper Jamie Churchman proceeded to lose the toss and Harpenden elected to bat. Things got off to an inauspicious start for the Dragons as pace man Joe Peck broke down with a pulled fetlock in just his second over. Fortunately, Charlie Farrant (who had earlier confessed to sporting a top knot during lockdown) stepped into the breach and delivered what proved to be a miserly spell of 6.2 overs for just 30 runs.
The rest of the Dragons bowlers struggled a little in the face of Harpenden’s 1st XI openers Scott Galloway and Nick Lamb who got Harpenden off to a fast start on a typically flat Harpenden deck, putting on 66 for the first wicket. When Lamb was dismissed by his 1st XI colleague Will Downes, Tom Beasley carried on where Lamb had left off adding another 100 runs with Galloway in quick time. Both Galloway (82*) and Beasley (51*) eventually retired but with 195 on the board, the damage was done.
With normality restored, the Dragons bowlers pulled things back somewhat towards the end with Will Downes (2 for 36) being the pick of the bowlers. But Harpenden’s total of 235 from their 35 overs was a daunting one.
In reply, the Dragons got off to an excellent start with openers Jamie Churchman (24) and Matt Tavare putting on 49 for the 1st wicket at almost a run a ball. Charlie Farrant continued his excellent day striking 49 off 51 balls and with both Charlie and Tav at the crease the Dragons were well in touch with the run rate at the 20 over mark. Tav was eventually dismissed for a superb 50 of just 43 balls and when Charlie and Will Downes followed shortly afterwards, the Dragons run chase faltered somewhat.
A late surge from stand in Peter Gill (25) and returning Dragon Paul Streeton (14) gave us a glimmer of hope but ultimately the Harpenden total proved too much and the Dragons were finally dismissed for 210 in the 34th over.
Whilst disappointing to lose, this really was one of those occasions where the result was secondary to the day itself and it was fantastic to see so many Dragons together and catch up in what has been such a strange and challenging year. Many thanks to all the players and supporters for making the journey and braving the arctic temperatures to ensure the day was a great success.
Further thanks to John Mihill for organising the surprisingly tasty and socially distanced pizzas after the game which were much needed.
Fingers crossed that 2021 allows us to return normality and, most importantly, to Kent in August to do what Dragons do. No doubt it will be “a big one”.