Cricket round-up: MK bowled over as title race hots up

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MILTON Keynes suffered a 135 run drubbing to an Eaton Bray side who have catapulted themselves into the Division One title race with North Crawley and MK City.

After winning the toss, home side MK surprisingly decided to bowl first, and were made to regret it as Bray openers Paul Harris (90) and Wes Hosking (47) started to hit them all over the place.

It was just as well they did though as the visitors’ middle and lower order offered little, thanks mainly to Nimesh Chavda who stormed to figures of 6-36.

But despite his efforts, Bray totalled 222-9 and MK would have to go some to better it. And they didn’t get off to the best of starts as after his heroics with the ball, opening batsman Chavda was out for a duck, quickly followed by fellow opener Dharmesh Mistry for 1.

In the end only Kaushik Sunkara (22) made a notable contribution as MK were put to the sword for 87, giving Bray the points that sees them remain third in the table, but now hot on the heels of the top two.

Leaders North Crawley will take some catching though after they made it eight wins in 12 outings against bottom side Studham.

The outcome was never in doubt once the visitors has been bowled out for just 127, with Richard Braybrook (6-34) the best of the bowlers.

And so it proved as North Crawley got over the winning line on 128-3 – James Armstrong top scoring on 43 – to keep them on course for the league title.

Second placed Milton Keynes City also won again, beating Olney Town by three wickets to keep the pace.

Paul Gallyot (41) top scored for Olney as they set a target of 169-8. He fell to Pete Heady (3-24) who together with Mohammed Shahid (4-48) saw Olney struggling.

City made life difficult for themselves as only opener Jin Lall (75) found some form with the bat, but they got home in the end thanks to a couple of decent knocks, including that of 26 from Heady that saw his side win on 173-7.

Newport Pagnell’s superb rise up the table continued when they thrashed Elstow by 98 runs. James Fletcher fired off 87, and after a slight wobble, Brian Schmidt’s 70 helped the home team set a formidable target of 242.

Elstow put up a decent fight but fell for 144, with Fletcher also the star with the ball as he returned 3-24.

In Division Two, New City MK (70-3) continued their title push with a seven wicket win over lowly Shenley Church End (69) while Old Bradwell (171-5) saw off Aspley Guise (170-8) by five wickets.

New Bradwell 2nds (72-2) thrashed Stoke Hammond (71) by eight wickets while Willen (67-1) humiliated struggling Totternhoe (68) by nine wickets, with a couple of exceptional bowling displays by Stuart Atkins (4-15) and Edd Rhodes (3-7). Open University (169-8) were 33 run winners against Wilden (136) and North Crawley 2nds (128) lost out to Thurleigh (129-7) by three wickets.

Division Four bottom side Newport Pagnell 2nds (83) were no match for table toppers Bromham (84-7) who won their meeting by three wickets, while Milton Keynes 2nds (91) fell to Ivinghoe & Pitstone (93-6) by four wickets.

New City MK 2nds (148) were 90 run winners over Elstow 2nds (58) while Wolverton Town (60) were thrashed by Milton Bryan (207-6) by 147 runs, and Olney Town 2nds (135-3) were seven wicket winners against Winslow (134).

Northants League

A depleted Stony Stratford side crashed to a 151 run defeat away at title chasing Peterborough Town on Saturday, seeing them slip to eighth place in the Premier Division.

Stony had several key players missing and fielded possibly their youngest side since entering the NCL top flight. Home captain Ajaz Akhtar won the toss against the deputising Jarrod Pretorius – in for injured captain Steve Bellew – and had little hesitation in batting first.

George Humphries put some early pressure on the hosts as the young Stony bowler took the wicket of Craig Williams LBW for 2. In fact he took three wickets in his opening spell while opening partner Andrew Ellemore swung the ball nicely, but with little success.

Spinner Sharn Gomes was then introduced but was inconsistent as Peterborough capitalised through the middle overs. Chris Guy looked to make inroads with the wickets of McMahon and Akhtar, but he went slightly expensive going for 69 runs from his 10 overs, with opener David Clarke top scoring for Peterborough on a fine 75 until he was removed by a Humphries full toss.

Clarke was mainly supported by Lewis Bruce (61 not out) and a late knock of 27 from Rob Sayer allowed Peterborough to declare on 263-7 off 53 overs. Stony’s attack clearly struggled as Humphries (4-34) led the way, but Stony clearly missed influential skipper Bellew.

And Stony’s reply got off to the worst start possible as Gomes was run out for 3 – both openers ended up at the same end and Gomes was stranded.

Debutant Sai Ravikumar came in at number three and looked pretty impressive until he was removed by a good LBW decision off the bowling of Bashrat Hussain (3-16) for 16.

At the other end opener Mihir Choksi batted fluently for a decent 44 – despite being dropped three times, before he was also removed LBW by Hussain. The middle order of Moore, Bell, Pretorius and Miller battled well but all fell to the home side’s impressive spin attack.

Stony were looking to hold out for a draw and Guy batting at number eight faced a huge number of balls for his 4, but was eventually caught close in off Hussain.

Stony looked as comfortable as they could have been given their precarious circumstances, despite the opposition’s excited and often ambitious appealing.

That was until Humprhies was removed LBW by McMahon (4-14) but the draw still looked the most likely outcome. With Humphries gone the final three overs were left to Andy Humphries and Andrew Ellemore to survive, but with three balls remaining McMahon took the wicket of Ellemore LBW to secure Peterborough the victory.

In the NCL Division Two Stony’s 2nds (187) were on the end of a 44 run defeat to Long Buckby (231) as Stony’s 3rds (47) lost to Rothwell (108) by 61 runs in Division Six.

Cherwell League

Bletchley Town’s battle to avoid relegation from Division One looks set to run until the final day of the season after they suffered a 57 run defeat to Oxford & Bletchingdon on the final ball of the game.

Bletchley won the toss for the first time in more than a month and elected to field first. Their opening attack of Mark Roberts and Saxon Wright were quickly into their stride as Roberts trapped Green LBW for 3.

In the same over, Shabaz Alam gave Roberts a sharp return catch which he spilled, and it proved to be extremely costly for Town.

With partners falling all around him, Alam looked comfortable and his ability was for all to see, playing the ball late and pouncing on any bad ball bowled. In partnership with Holton they built a fine partnership of 45 for the fifth wicket until Wright picked up his second wicket when Holton was caught by Clark for 17.

Alam was eventually run out by Wright for 80 and the tail wagged only briefly with keeper Guthrie hitting 17 before Roberts wrapped up the innings to finish on figures of 5-37, with Nondies out for 171.

Bletchley knew it would be tough and didn’t help themselves when opener Raj Lall hit the opening ball of the innings to mid-on for a duck. And with the score on just 21, Matt Shepherd was caught and bowled.

That became 32-3 when Graham Simpson was out LBW to Khan for 6. Kenny Hollis was the next in, and although he started slowly, he soon dropped anchor to build the total.

Bletchley’s problem was finding someone to stay with him though, with captain Clark brilliantly caught by Alam at short leg off a full blade and the home side were 57-4.

Hollis was well set and reached 40 before he attempted one shot too many and was caught out. And as Bletchley went in search of the draw, wickets continued to fall and in the end they fell just short, with Roberts bowled on the final ball to see the hosts dismissed for 114.

Great Brickhill went into their trip to Abingdon Vale top of Division Two, but by the end of the day they had fallen to fourth place. Brickhill (162) lost to Abingdon (163-9) by just one wicket while their title rivals all won.

Elsewhere, Wolverton Town (135) lost to Sandford St Martin (146) by 11 runs and slip to seventh place.