Stony Stratford produced their best performance of the Premier Division season to shock title chasers Wollaston by inflicting a 21 run defeat on their old rivals on Saturday.
Matches between these two sides are usually tense, close affairs and this proved to be no different – in the end Stony gaining revenge for a tight four wicket defeat at Campbell Park on the first day of the season.
Much to the delight of his team-mates, Stony skipper Alex Strong won the toss and asked the home side to field on a blistering hot day and bone dry wicket.
However, eight balls into the innings, Stony were not so happy to see in-form Tyler Lorton trudging back to the pavilion for a second ball duck, caught by Kieron Furniss.
Stony’s response was built around the emerging talent of Tom Moore, who is really beginning to blossom into a Premier Division batsman of note this season. Stony were also delighted to welcome England under 19 all rounder Vikram Sohal into the side for the first time, and batting at 3, him and Moore put on 79 for the second wicket.
Sohal was looking assured with 24 under his belt when he was controversially adjudged lbw – not the first contentious decision of the day – and this after Wollaston had earlier been convinced they had their man caught behind earlier in his innings.
Wollaston captain Chris Perry’s fine left arm spin has wreaked havoc in the league this year, and his introduction into the home side’s attack saw the momentum change.
Having already claimed 34 victims in 2013, Perry quickly reached the 40 mark after a magnificent spell of 6-44 that almost completely derailed the Stony innings. Indeed, 84-2 turned into 122-6 when Moore fell for a solid 69 and Stony’s batting woes reared their ugly head again.
But some gutsy resistance from the lower order made sure that the visitors posted a defendable total, as James Pickles showed plenty of guts on his way to 30 and Strong’s 24 was to prove vital.
In the end, Stony’s 189 was about par for the conditions and would ensure the home side had their work cut out to reach their target.
Refreshed after tea, Stony took to the field with a real buzz and energy, and were lifted by two quick wickets courtesy of Steve Bellew (2-27).
He found a yard of pace and bounce in the wicket and had openers Marcus Shelton (6) and Matt Jones (8) hopping around and offering catches to grateful Stony hands inside the first five overs.
However, runs also came quickly for Wollaston through the very dangerous Jimmy Hart and England under 19 skipper Olly Stone. Hart had really begun to find his feet by the time he was surprisingly adjudged lbw in near identical fashion to Sohal earlier in the day to depart for 20 off 16 balls.
Strong was bowling with real pace and aggression and he followed the wicket of Hart by cleaning up Mark Ralph for 5, and then Bellew claimed a diving catch at mid off to get David Shelford off the spin of Sohal.
Mark Carter was brilliantly taken by keeper Tom Moore, again off the bowling of Sohal, and Wollaston were in dire straights on 68-6.
Stone remained defiant, and the key man for his side, skipper Perry, then showed his skills with the bat to smash a quick 33 off 37 to put on 55 for the seventh wicket before a mix up saw him well run out by Lorton.
And when Stone fell for 32, Stony sensed a comfortable victory, but the Wollaston tail had other ideas as 14-year-old Harry Broome, on his debut, batted with real calmness and maturity on his way to 14 not out.
But Furniss fell to another fine catch by Bellew, again at mid-off, and that left 49 for the last pair to get.
Mark Gibbs crashed a few lusty blows on his way to 13 and a few extras were lost by Stony under a bit of pressure at the end. However, it came down to one last fine catch, this time by Sean Rebbetts at mid on to remove Gibbs, giving new recruit Sohal the final say and a maximum 30 points to an impressive Stony, ninth in the table as a result.
Stony will be favourites to secure a third win on the bounce when they take on Wellingborough at Campbell Park this Saturday.
Stony Stratford 2nds were easy winners at home to lowly Earls Barton in Division Two.
The visitors batted first and made 183 – Stony’s Aaron Ashton and Ed Tate claiming three wickets each.
The Stony reply was then built around a magnificent 100 from Chris Swain as the hosts made 187-2 for an eight wicket. Opener Karan Patra had earlier made 40 to give his side a steady start.
Stony remain in fifth place but edge closer to the top two.