Stony Stratford’s Jekyll and Hyde batting cost them dearly once again at Brixworth on Saturday as they crumbled to a fourth NCL Premier Division defeat of the season
Stony are unbeaten against three of the NCL’s top four this season, but disappointingly slumped to defeat against a Brixworth side they felt offered little threat.
And it’s that sort of inconsistency that has seen Stony dragged into the bottom four, cut adrift from the rest of the division after nine games.
Stony’s poor performance with the bat came after they had been flayed all around the Dallas Burston Cricket Ground earlier in the day by a whirlwind innings from Brixworth opener Tom Worthington.
On a day when the next top score on either side was 40, Worthington was a couple of classes apart, pumping 142 from 151 balls to set his side up for a mammoth 251-9 declared in 54 overs.
He lost fellow opener and captain James Lucas for just 2 to a fine catch at slip by Nick Allen off the bowling of Steve Bellew before going on to post partnerships of 68 with Alex Lacey (16) and 92 with Paul Blakemore (40).
Graham Simpson bowled tightly for the visitors, going through his 17 overs straight through and picking up 2 for 58. And when Tyler Lorton had the dangerous Callum Berrill caught and bowled for 4, Brixworth had a little wobble at 85-3.
But Worthington proved impossible to remove until the bitter end, taking twenty off a single Ed Tate over as he raced towards 150.
In fact this was his third hundred in as many games against Stony, who will be hoping they can come up with some sort of plan against him when the two sides meet later this year.
In the end, running out of partners and trying to smash everything out of the ground, he was yorked by the returning Bellew (3-30) who grabbed a wicket with his very next ball as Brixworth ended on 251-9.
Simpson started positively, hitting 14 from 17 deliveries before chipping a leading edge to mid-off.
But 58-1 soon turned into 63-3 as first Tom Moore (19) and then Nick Allen (4) both fell in quick succession.
In what has become a familiar story unfortunately this season, wickets continued to fall too frequently for Stony to form any sort of meaningful response from here.
The home side, with plenty of runs to play with, smelt blood and attacked, with slips aplenty and catchers poised around the bat to the spinners. Lorton had looked impressive for his 38 which had partially steadied the Stony ship, but when he fell along with fellow South African Jarrod Pretorius (5) and with twenty five overs to go and well over 150 needed, realistically Stony could only hang on for another gruelling draw.
In the end, they fell well short of that, despite a positive 30 late on from Andrew Miller. Ross McLean (3-40) ran in hard all day for the hosts and Colin Sibley (3-25) produced an excellent spell of left arm spin to leave Stony well short on 138 all out from 46 overs. A poor effort against a side who on paper at least, they were very evenly matched against.
Stony will be disappointed to see themselves down in ninth place given the talent at their disposal.
Of course, there is plenty of cricket to be played and with one or two players hopefully returning from school duty, the ranks should be strengthened over the coming weeks.
The bowling remains strong, amongst the strongest in league, but the batting really must improve if they are to pull away from the bottom places as the season moves into it’s second half.