After an indifferent start to their Northants League Premier Division campaign, Stony Stratford turned the form book on its head on Saturday with an emphatic seven wicket victory at fourth placed Old Northamptonians.
Stony went into the game bolstered by the arrival of former South African U19 all rounder Tyler Lorton, but his leg spin wasn’t required as the Stony seamers did the job for visiting side on a fast, green Billing Road wicket.
Indeed it looked like it might be Stony’s day from the very first over as opener Steve Bellew slipped while bowling the second ball of the game, delivering a gentle half tracker to Oxfordshire’s Richard Kaufmann who nine times out of 10 would have hit the ball over the pavilion.
However, he proceeded to chip the ball straight to Mo Fuquan at square leg, who took the simplest of catches.
Skipper Alex Strong, who bowled with excellent pace all afternoon, then clean bowled Mobushur Khawaja for 1 and Stony were right on top.
And they never took their foot off the gas, with Bellew ripping right through the ONs middle order with an opening spell of 4-8 from eight overs. And Habib Ullah (1-21) and Andrew Ellemore (2-14) ensured there was no let up as the hosts slipped to 57-7.
Only skipper Tom Webb (30) showed real resilience and a few lusty blows from Afaq Babar (17) helped the pair put on 20 for the eighth wicket.
But once Ellemore bowled Barbar, it was left to Bellew to return and claim the last two wickets, ending with figures of 6-11 from 10 overs as a stunned ONs were shot out for just 81.
Stony’s batting has been their Achilles heel so far this campaign. So when Graeme Simpson mistimed a pull shot off Babar to midwicket to depart for 3 early on, and then Andy Miller (3) followed soon afterwards to the same bowler, there were one or two jitters in the away side’s dressing room. And 22-2 turned to 30-3 as Lorton was adjudged lbw to Babar, who was bowling with real pace by now.
Watching all this unfold down at the other end was 18-year-old Tom Moore, who earlier in the day had taken three excellent catches in an immaculate display behind the stumps for Stony. He was weathering a real storm from both ends as the hosts tried desperately to claw their way back into the game.
Moore was soon joined by Jarrod Pretorius, who curbed his usual aggressive instincts to play himself in, and together with Moore, see of the threat of Babar.
They scratched around and ran well between the wickets to move the score past 50, and it was at this point that Pretorius really opened up. The last 30 runs came off five overs, including a huge 6 over cover from Pretorius off the tiring Babar (3-49).
Moore (29) and Pretorius (31) remained unbeaten to clinch a much needed win for Stony on 82-3 thanks to what was easily their best performance of the season.
They will need to at least match it this Saturday as they entertain leaders Finedon at Campbell Park.
Meanwhile in Division Two, Stony 2nds (105) had a six wicket defeat at home to Long Buckby (106-4) and in Division Five, the 3rds (111-3) enjoyed a seven wicket win at Wicken (107) with Hemish Patel hitting an unbeaten 72.