North Crawley set their sights on points record

Alex Walker
Alex Walker

No-one needed to break out the calculators on Saturday as North Crawley cruised to a comfortable victory over Cranfield to win their third Division One title in a row.

A spectacular partnership between Alex Walker and Pete Barnes left meant the visitors were in for a long afternoon in the field, forced to chase after the 40 boundaries the pair remorselessly dispatched.

Walker’s 175 came off just 122 balls, while Barnes’ unbeaten 113 came in just 92 as North Crawley, knowing they just needed to avoid defeat with three games to go to win the title again, ended on 334-3.

With the ball, and the title in sight, Carl Bryce (3-8) and Steve Sharpe (4-11) made light work of the Cranfield order, skittling them for 79, to begin the celebrations.

Captain Richard Bryce said: “We’ve been pretty dominant this time. Last year, we had to work really hard and we thought we were out of the running until the final day.

“But this year we’ve had consistency, both in terms of form and in terms of the players available, and we’ve won it in style.

“There have been some great individual performances this season, both with the bat and ball, but it’s great for the whole club to be here again.”

Walker, scoring his fifth ton of the season, is the league’s leading run scorer, and Dean Bryce is still in with a shout at being the leading wicket taker with two games still to go.

But with the title in the bag, the skipper isn’t ready to take his foot off the gas.

He said: “We want to beat the points record which we set a couple of years ago.

“We play cricket for fun, but naturally you go out there to win, and we hope we can carry it on until the end of the season.”

And after every success the club enjoys, Bryce fields the same question - whether North Crawley are to make the step up to the Cherwell League or the Northants League.

“It would break the team spirit apart I think,” he said. “We are a close bunch throughout the teams and we enjoy socialising together.

“But if we were to go up to a higher level, we’d be travelling nearly 60 miles to some teams and I know the boys just aren’t up for that.

“Our challenge every years is to go out there and win the league.

“We’ve done it again, the 2nds too have been promoted and won the title, so we’ve always got something to aim for.”