GREAT Brickhill remain on course to secure a remarkable fourth successive promotion and comfortably thrashed local rivals Wolverton Town by 182 runs to maintain their place at the top of the Cherwell League Division Two table.
Winning the toss, Wolves put Brickhill in to bat first. An outstanding start from in-form opener Anton De Beer, who was largely untroubled by Wolves’ opening bowlers, set a solid platform for Brickhill.
The visitors continued to pile on the pressure though and were eventually rewarded with the wickets of Nick Cadman (7) and Graeme Carter (0).
De Beer was then joined by Colin Davson who looked to be at ease with a mixture of shots that kept the Brickhill total ticking over. By the time De Beer was caught at deep square leg for an outstanding 70, Brickhill had cruised past the 150 mark and were looking to post a mammoth score.
Greg Macdonald joined Davson and the pair continued to stroke the ball around with confidence. Shortly after reaching his 50, Wolverton managed to take the wicket of Davson (55).
Aris brothers Doug and Arran kept things moving for a while, but as the Brickhill innings was coming to a close, Macdonald opted for the belligerent approach, dispatching the Wolves bowlers with thunderous boundaries, finishing on 63 not out, and Brickhill declaring after 50 overs on 248-7.
Brickhill took to the field with the momentum clearly behind them and confidence high. Nick Tweed and Pete Hastings were given the new ball and straight from the off Hastings was in no mood to show any mercy as he bowled with pace and purpose. At the other end the Tweed swing caused havoc for the Wolverton batsmen.
Immediately the wickets started to fall as the accurate bowling continued, Wolverton being victims of pitched up, late swinging, good, full bowling.
Brickhill’s field placings, combined with really determined ground fielding, was significant. Their very accurate and full bowling was accentuated with great catches by Doug Aris and wicket keeper Paul Little as Wolves collapsed to 66 all out. Pete Hasting claimed the enviable figures of 6-30 and Nick Tweed picked up his usual swag of wickets returning 4-35.
Only Banbury can realistically catch Brickhill and prevent their promotion and they visit Wolverton this Saturday while Brickhill travel to Tiddington.
>> Bletchley Town’s battle to survive the drop from Division One goes on but they picked up a highly impressive and crucial win over high-flying Cumnor by 50 runs.
James Sprittles led the scoring for visitors Bletchley with his 58 not out as they set a target of 182-9. Again it was below the all important 200 mark, but Jude Ramanadanpulle (4-64) and Mark Roberts (3-35) produced great bowling performances to see Cumnor out for 132.
There were defeats all around in Division Six as Bletchley 2nds (201-8) went down to Horspath (203-4) by six wickets, Wolverton Town 2nds (204-5) lost out to Long Marston (206-4) by six wickets, and Great Brickhill 2nds (274-6 dec) lost to Sandford (276-3) by seven wickets.
Stony Stratford continue to drop like a stone and a sixth defeat in as many games has left them fighting to survive the drop.
Their latest poor showing came at title chasing Finedon Dolben who bowled their visitors out for a below par 153 before going on to win by seven wickets.
Stony’s plummet has coincided with the loss of influential captain Steve Bellew. The bowler is unlikely to play again after suffering a fall and damaging his knee recently.
But it’s in the batting department that Stony are suffering most at the moment, despite a return to form by Sharn Gomes. He top scored on 65 but Nick Allen (21) was the best of the rest as Finedon’s Daniel Bendon had an afternoon to remember with bowling figures of 6-46.
The hosts were then indebted to opener Andy Daniels who smashed 87 off 45 deliveries before falling to Adam Goldberg (2-14) who did his best to slow the run rate.
Chris Guy took the catch to see him off, and took another to bring Andrew Ellemore’s knock to an end on 2 off Andrew Ellemore. Goldberg took his second wicket to dismiss Greg Evans caught by Ellemore, but Bradley Kruger (21 not out) guided Finedon to victory on 155-3.
Stony have five games left to try and save themselves from the drop, starting on Saturday with the visit of Old Northamptonians. Relegation rivals Rushton and Rushden Town both won last time out to close the gap, meaning Stony are desperate for a return to form.
Four Counties League
It doesn’t look like there are going to be too many changes to the table in the final few weeks of the season with North Crawley almost over the winning line and MK City looking on course to finish as runners-up.
Crawley’s latest win came at the expense of Elstow – but only just. It was a low-scoring but entertaining affair as hosts Elstow decided to put Crawley in to bat first and were quick to bowl them out for 152 as Marcus Goss top scored on 60.
Elstow began poorly in reply, but despite the efforts of Colin Bonnett (4-31), they recovered well to run Crawley close. But as they closed in on victory Stewart Phillipson was the hero for the visitors as he came on to bowl Phillips for a duck to see off Elstow five runs short on 147.
MK City (226-8) had to settle for a winning draw against a stubborn Newport Pagnell (193-9). Put in to bat, City limped to 63-4 before an excellent knock from number seven Andrew John (94) got them back on track after Gary Hefferon (3-12) had run riot through the top order.
It was always going to be a huge ask for Newport to win, but a draw was achievable and Brian Schmidt (75 not out) led them to it, holding on while the rest fell around him, to Iqbal John (4-32) in particular.
Elsewhere Milton Keynes (222) also had to settle for a winning draw against Olney Town (183-9). Kaushik Sunkara (47) the best of the scorers.
New Bradwell (261-5) produced a fine batting display to beat Studham (193) by 68 runs. Bradwell declared after big hitting innings from Alan Quelch (84), Javid (62) and Allen Bridgeman (64 not out). They then took victory thanks in no small part to outstanding figures from Shaz Mohammed (7-58).
The long wait finally came to an end for Shenley Church End who won their first game of the season after thrashing Aylesbury Town by 98 runs. Opener Andy Peacock hit an excellent 69 for Shenley to help them to a modest total of 157. That wouldn’t be good enough for a win most weeks but Jay Fletcher (4-17) and Richard Fletcher (5-41) ripped Aylesbury apart for just 59.
There was drama at the top of the table as Eggington lost out to Cranfield University, but New City (194-9) couldn’t take advantage as they lost to Aspley Guise (195-6) by four wickets.
Open University (196-9) remain locked in a title battle but failed to secure maximum points against Stoke Hammond (151-9). Sardar Ahmad hit a marvellous 107 for OU.
Willen (163-6) were four wicket winners over Eaton Bray (162) and North Crawley 2nds (257-3) eased past New Bradwell 2nds (156) by 101 runs and Totternhoe (164-6) saw off Stewkley Vicarage (163-7) by four wickets.
Newport Pagnell 2nds (46) were on the end of a 174 run thrashing by Harlington (220-6) and stay bottom while Milton Keynes 2nds (209-8) earned a draw against Eggington 2nds (212).
New City 2nds (184-6) continue to battle it out for the title and beat Olney Town 2nds (183-9) by four wickets to stay in touch at the top.
Wolverton Town 3rds (88) lost to Wing (180-8) by 92 runs and Stony Stratford (168-8) fell by five wickets to Milton Bryan 2nds (169-5).
Great Brickhill (120-9) remain hot favourites to clinch the title and saw off North Crawley 3rds (117) by one wicket last time out while Bletchley Town (153-7) went down to Aspley Guise 2nds (155-9) also by a single wicket.