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BLETCHLEY Town lost a crucial toss at Manor Fields on Saturday and were made to pay dearly against a rampant Great & Little Tew side in going down by eight wickets.
The heavy rain leading up to the fixture made this one vital, and Tew skipper Andy Harris called correctly and the hosts batted first on a difficult surface.
With regular Town opener Paul Strong unavailable, Raj Lall was promoted up the order, but he was soon back in the pavilion after attempting an expansive drive against Manley which careered into his stumps.
Two balls later, the recalled Kenny Hollis nicked a Manley delivery to leave Town on 5-2. Matt Shepherd and Graham Simpson cautiously tried to rebuild the innings, but with Gloucestershire left-arm seamer Taylor causing mayhem, Bletchley found scoring tough.
Shepherd had got to 10, and was battling well before he was unluckily to be given out, caught at gully when the Tew fielders had gone up for an LBW shout off the bowling of Taylor. Shortly afterwards, Simpson snicked Manley to Hubbett for 7 and Bletchley were up against it.
The experienced pair of James Sprittles and James Clark tried to get things going, but it wasn’t easy as the visiting seamers extracted considerable movement on a tricky pitch.
Sprittles’ concentration was broken when he chased a loose delivery from Manley only to edge it to keeper Hubbett for 5. James Ward was then cleaned up with the very next delivery for a golden duck to leave Bletchley in serious trouble at 33-6.
Both Michael Houpe and Mark Grass were out trying to attack the bowling of Woods, but perished whilst Clark remained watchful at the other end.
Clark was the ninth out for just 10 as he was deceived by a Woods in-swinger to leave Bletchley on 60-9. The wicket was beginning to ease slightly when Jude Ramanadanpulle began to exhibit his shots, including a huge 6 off Shurmer before he was the last out for a valiant 25.
The fact Ramanadanpulle had top-scored batting at number 10 told a sorry tale for Bletchley’s top order which had been blown away by the Tew seamers. Woods took 5-16 and Manley 4-38 as Bletchley crashed to a paltry 79 all out in just 34.1 overs.
They had to get quick wickets to stand any chance of a reprieve, and despite being without the services of opening bowler Mark Roberts, Sprittles and Clark gave Bletchley some hope.
First of all, White was bowled by Clark for 4 before Simpson snaffled a sharp chance at second slip off the bowling of Sprittles to remove Edmund Gross for a duck.
But after that early scare, the pitch had become docile and Bletchley changed the bowlers in order to chase wickets. However, they didn’t come. Harry Smith (41 not out) looked assured whereas Curtly Slatter, who survived a couple of scares, hit 32 not out as Tew chased down their target in just 14 overs, to send Town to a crushing defeat.
Although the toss was crucial, it was a poor show from Bletchley who will need to bounce back hard against in-form Leighton Buzzard away on Saturday, going into the trip sat sixth in the table.
Great Brickhill were indebted to a superb piece of bowling from Doug Arris to earn them a share of spoils in their home game against near neighbours Leighton Buzzard.
After his side set a target of 247 to win, the visitors fought back and needed just a single off the final ball to win, but instead Arris bowled Leighton batsman Roberts to end the game in a dramatic draw.
Brickhill got off to a good start with Garth Davson immediately putting the Leighton bowlers under pressure, while Andy Ward battled doggedly for early runs at the other end.
After 13 overs Brickhill were 49 without loss, with Davson doing the majority of the work, leading the scoring with 45.
In fact so dominant was Davson that when Ward fell for 8, bowled by Light, the home side had moved on to 73.
Leighton continued to pick up wickets, with Graeme Carter (10) and Anton De Beer (10) following in quick succession, before Davson finally made a mistake when he found a fielder on the boundary off Riaan Krynauw to depart for a superb 132.
Cameo performances from Nick Cadman (30) and Greg MacDonald (20) eventually saw Brickhill to a total of 246-8 from their 53 overs.
In reply Leighton would have 47 overs to reach the same total, but got off to a steady start with Light and Thompson until the first wicket fell at the hands of Nick Tweed in the 11th over.
Tight bowling restricted Leighton to 94-3 with 24 over gone, but Light was looking in good form, despite losing regular partners at the other end. And the tide began to turn in the visitors’ favour as Whatmore came to the crease, with Leighton eating into the Brickhill total.
Light was eventually out for 78, while Whatmore made a valuable 71 as the pair set up a grandstand finish heading into the final two overs with everything to play for.
Leighton looked set to take the victory, but Tweed bowled a perfect penultimate over with a double wicket maiden to leave the visitors eight down but still in a good position to win the game – needing six off the final over to snatch an unlikely win.
Doug Arris had the honour of bowling the last over, and a single and a well crafted boundary 4 had the scores level, setting up the final ball showdown, with the Brickhill man emerging the hero as Leighton totalled 246-9, giving them 13 points and the home side a well deserved 17.
Wolverton Town’s impressive start to the season continued with an emphatic six wicket win at home to struggling Sandford St Martin.
Akhlaq (4-13) and Khan (3-30) were the main protagonists of Sandford’s demise as they were bowled out for 160, with Reynolds top scoring on 57.
Wolverton made life slightly difficult for themselves but thanks to Hussain (62 not out) and Potter (54) they eventually cruised to victory on 161-4, seeing them climb to third place in the table with three wins to their name already.
Wolverton Town 2nds continue to top the table, despite being on the wrong end of a surprise eight wicket thrashing in their game against Sandford St Martin 2nds.
Chamberlain (5-26) put Wolverton to the sword as the visitors were dispatched for a poor 134 in 52 overs, and Sandford didn’t waste any time as they fired off the winning runs inside 33 to take the points on 135-2.
Great Brickhill 2nds enjoyed a routine win against Oxford & Bletchingdon Nondescripts by 83 runs to climb to fifth in the table.
Jones (82 not out) and Robson (46) dug deep to give the visitors a total of 190-3 and victory was assured thanks to the brilliant bowling of Blackwell whose 6-30 helped to skittle Nondies out for 107 in reply.
Bletchley Town 2nds were also winners as they saw off Didcot 2nds by 23 runs to give them a second success of the season.
Smith (35) and Talbot (32) led the scoring for Bletchley who were all out for 163. But it was the visiting bowlers who impressed the most as Weissang (3-45) and Galvin (3-24) reduced Didcot to 140 in 40 overs.
STONY Stratford were soundly beaten by Old Northamptonians in their mid-table clash at Ostlers Lane.
Stony welcomed the Northampton side in high spirits after their draw away at Finedon the previous week, and were lifted further when ON’s skipper David Wigley failed to predict the outcome of the coin toss and Stony elected to field first on a very damp, gloomy afternoon.
With regular partners Alex Strong and Habib Ullah unavailable, Andrew Ellemore shared the new ball with David Avery, but the pair could not curtail the natural attacking instinct of Kaufman as he raced to 36 from 34 balls.
The rapid start from the visitors forced Ian Sandbrook to change his bowlers and the effect was almost instant when Kevin Wijesinghe (2-19) quickly removed both the dangerous Kaufman and fellow opener Hudson (20) with his seam movement.
Number three Hafil then forged a partnership with keeper Arblaster, the pair batting watchfully as Sandbrook rotated his bowlers before Arblaster pulled a long hop from Avery (1-66) straight to Andrew Miller at mid-wicket, who had put a similar chance down just a couple of overs earlier.
Thirty runs later Hafil departed caught in the gully for a patient 53 from 81 balls and bowler Ellemore (3-54) then found himself on a hat-trick as he breached the defences of Martyn Cory with the very next ball.
A quiet period followed and it culminated in the frustrated Khawaja chipping the ball tamely to mid-off to gift Ellemore his third wicket. Wigley joined Khawaja at the crease and initially played himself in before launching an assault on the Stony bowlers that resulted in a quick-fire 50 from 39 balls that included five 4s and three 6s.
The ONs innings petered out with Steve Bellew (3-65) taking the last three wickets to fall, including the set Khawaja for 30. It was an innings that ebbed and flowed from ONs, but their final total of 234 was highly competitive in tough batting conditions.
Stony began positively in their run chase with both Choksi (14) and Gomes cracking pull shots for 6 before a full one from Afaq Babar trapped the former LBW with a full straight one.
Gomes (11) departed soon after pulling a ball to Hafil and when Sandbrook was removed by Babar, Stony never looked able to chase the target. Wigley claimed two in quick succession to leave Stony 55-5 and when the battling Richard Scott departed for a season’s best of 36 with the score on 96-8, all hopes of a draw looked lost.
The tail of Bellew and Ellemore had other ideas and it was not until the 53rd over when skipper Wigley returned to take the final, decisive wicket. Bellew faced 76 balls and showed the majority of the Stony top order what can be achieved with some application as the hosts reached 140.
Their 94-run defeat means Stony fall behind ONs in the table and face the NCC Academy next week in what should be a closely fought encounter.
four counties league
Milton Keynes City were the big winners of Saturday’s action as they cemented their place at the top of the table with a three wicket victory at Middleton.
Helped by 45 extras, hosts Milton Keynes reached 166 as only Kaushik Sunkara (53), Neil Gordon (28) and Nimesh Chavda (23 not out) put on scores of note while the rest failed to make double figures against some devastating bowling from Iqbal John (4-39) and Pete Heady (3-16) in difficult conditions.
City found scoring easier though with Jamil Raja (33) and David Loveland (29) leading the way, but after a middle order collapse inspired by Kaushik Sunkara (3-23) and (2-39), it was left to Asif Iqbal (19 not out) to fire off the decisive runs as the visitors were victorious on 169-7.
New City claimed the scalp of Eaton Bray by 29 runs in their best performance of the season so far. Put in to bat they were all out for just 120 – the majority of those down to Asad Mahmood who made 64 while those around him perished at regular intervals, with the exception of number eight Vishal Naik (13) and Arshad Mahmood (10 not out).
And it was the latter who would star with the ball as he claimed figures of 3-17 as no less than six New City players took wickets, bowling Eaton Bray out for 91 in reply.
New Bradwell fell to the bottom of the table after their 83-run thrashing away at second placed North Crawley.
The hosts set a winning target of 180 but New Bradwell couldn’t make it – restricted to just 96 in reply.
Elsewhere local bragging rights belong to Newport Pagnell who beat Olney Town by 46 runs, thanks largely to good knocks from Paul Braddy (55) and Brian Schmidt (55).
They helped the visitors to 177-8, despite the best efforts of Mike Brown (4-31). Then good spells from Daniel Broad (4-23) and Gary Hefferon (3-24) had Olney bowled out for 131, with Stuart Keeping the best of the scorers on 43.
Old Bradwell will have wished their away game at Aylesbury Town was washed out like most others in the second tier as they were soundly beaten by 147 runs.
Putting the hosts in to bat after winning the toss seemed like a good idea, but it didn’t work out like that for Old Bradwell with Aylesbury going on to make 211-8.
And the away side’s sorry afternoon was soon behind them as they were dismissed for a mere 64, with Graham Downard top scoring on 20 while Mehrban Annis (5-16) did most of the damage.
The only games to survive in the third tier brought a 179-run thrashing for New Bradwell 2nds (96) by Bromham (275-5), and 101-run loss for Stoke Hammond (91) against Caddington (192-6).
Olney Town 2nds (130-9) scrapped a one wicket win over Milton Bryan 2nds (129-8), as Adam Barrick top scored on 37 after John Pearson (4-37) was the best of the bowlers.
Bletchley Town 3rds (156-4) went down by eight wickets to Winslow Town (159-2) despite a fantastic knock by Kieran Turner who made 76 not out, with support from Stuart Talbot (35 not out) following a top order shambles.
Elsewhere MK City 2nds (82-9) were one wicket winners against Buckland & Aston Clinton 2nds (81), while Stoke Hammond 2nds (55-4) saw off Caddington 2nds (52) by six wickets.