Cricket round-up: North Crawley make it a double with cup win

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THE players of North Crawley have been celebrating hard this week after securing a league and cup double.

The village side claimed the Four Counties League Division One title this season and on Monday added the Wolverton Routeco Knockout Cup crown.

Skipper Richard Bryce declared himself a very proud man after his side’s seven wicket victory against Stoke Bruerne at The Recreation Ground and reserved special praise for Alex Walker for his man of the match performance on the day and for his fantastic season.

Opening batsman Walker helped North Crawley make a flying start as he top scored on 55 in the first innings of the 15 over game.

His side made 118-4 before Stoke Bruerne replied with 99-7 – Steve Sharpe the best of the bowlers on 3-18.

Crawley captain Bryce then put Stoke in to bat again, restricting them to 116-6 and giving Crawley a target of 98 to win. And they made no mistake, cruising home on 100-3 to secure a seven wicket victory, and with it a league and cup double.

Bryce said his side’s success this summer was down to his players’ hard work and commitment, but said the club wouldn’t be making the step up to Cherwell League cricket next year.

He said: “The players have been magnificent all season, in particular Alex Walker who made 50 plus in both innings.

“The Four Counties League has been very competitive this season and we’ve had some great games, but I don’t think the club wants to move into the Cherwell League like Great Brickhill did a few season ago and Cublington did this year.

“The players don’t want to travel the sort of distances you have to and we’re enjoying life in the Four Counties at the moment.

“We finish the season at home to New Bradwell on Saturday and will hope to end on a high and with another win.

“If we don’t lose then we’ll be the first team to go the whole Division One season unbeaten, so that’s an extra motivation to make sure we end the season well.”

Four Counties League

Division One

North Crawley have long wrapped up the title and finish the season at home to New Bradwell on Saturday after their penultimate game against MK City was cut short.

City will finish the summer with a highly respectable second place finish and were on course to lose at home to the champions after being reduced to 85-9 when the heavens opened, with Steve Sharpe (3-21) the pick of the Crawley bowlers.

The only fixture not to be rained off saw Newport Pagnell (87-2) beat Studham (86) by eight wickets.

Division Two

The fight for the Division Two title will go down to the final fixtures, but New City are big outsiders to catch top of the table Eggington Foresters.

The top two met on Saturday but the gods realistically put an end to New City’s hopes as the rain came down with Eggington on 147-4. City will now need to win at Milton Bryan and hope lowly Caddington can do them a favour.

Division Three

Open University entertain North Crawley in their last game hoping to make sure of second place following Thurleigh’s win over New Bradwell which sealed them the title.

New Bradwell set just 118-9 and the champions made light work of getting home on 120-3. Crawley had declared on 238-9 by the time their game with Stewkley was rained off.

Division Four

Newport Pagnell will try again in Division Five next year after ending the season bottom of the pile, while Milton Keynes (213-9) are enjoying a strong finish to the season and beat Tring Park (83) by 130 runs.

Division Five

Olney Town (205-5) picked up an excellent 130 run win against Stony Stratford (75) while New City (157-9) went down to Wing (158-6) by four wickets.

Division Six

Great Brickhill (84-8) beat Stoke Hammond (83) by two wickets and North Crawley (174-5) were 88 run winners over Thurleigh (86-8).

Northants League

Stony Stratford Town have three games left to save themselves and it’s going to be a nail-biting end to the season as they aim to preserve their 10-year stint in the Northants League Premier Division.

The weather did Stony a favour on Saturday as their match away at relegation rivals Horton House was abandoned with the visitors looking set for an eighth straight defeat.

However, a draw between the two teams below Stony in the table saw the gap close slightly, and with a trip to basement boys Burton Latimer to come on the penultimate weekend of the season, the fight to avoid the drop will surely go to the wire.

Stony will have been pleased to pick up the handful of points they did at Horton House after falling to 64-3 in reply to the hosts’ target of 237-9 before the rain finally brought an early end to proceedings.

Stephen Richardson, Chris Guy and Habib Ullah took three wickets apiece for Stony, but they came at a cost as Horton House set a decent target, with Jack Johnson their top scorer on a patient 62, with Andrew Miller taking a catch off Richardson.

And Stony’s reply never really got going as opener Steve Wharton fell for just 8, soon followed by Mihir Choksi (15) who was run out.

Stand-in skipper Jarrod Pretorius dug in deep for 25 not out, but when Tom Moore (8) was out to Andrew Oram (2-21), the visitors were in big trouble. Chris Swain (2 no) joined Pretorius in the middle, but the rain came down and brought an end to the match.

Stony take on Rushton at Ostlers Lane this Saturday before that must win game at Burton Latimer. They then end their season at home to Brixworth on September 17, hoping to avoid bottom spot and relegation to Division One.

Cherwell League

Division One

Bletchley go into their final game of the season at home to Bourton Vale knowing that a win might not be enough to keep them up.

That’s because the outcome of the Home Counties League season could mean three clubs go down in the Cherwell League, However, if Bletchley win and pick up more points than Leighton – who go to Shipton – then they won’t need to worry about results elsewhere.

Last time out Bletchley’s game at Oxford was abandoned, meaning they will join Bourton in Division Two next summer.

Division Two

Great Brickhill’s promotion is not yet secured, but a win over Sandford St Martin on Saturday will mean the champagne is flowing at the club for a fourth year in succession.

While Tiddington got the better of Banbury II, Brickhill took advantage by leaping back to the top of the pile with a comfortable five-wicket win over Long Marston.

Julian Blackwell (5-24) and Nick Tweed (5-42) were at it again for the villagers as Marston were skittled for just 107. Brickhill were in a hurry to win and it cost them five wickets, but Aran Aris led the hosts home on 32 not out, meaning promotion is now back in their own hands.