A quick glance at the pre-match team sheets suggested that Stony Stratford would have a struggle on their hands at Old Northamptonians on Saturday, and so it proved to be the case as Stony lost by seven wickets.
The ONs side contained no fewer than five players with first class experience, including outstanding young Northants all rounder David Willey and the prolific former county opener Rob White.
White in particular showed his class with a fine all round display, his more than useful leg spin and then lusty hitting setting up a seven wicket win for his side.
Stony battled hard and can count themselves as unfortunate to have been on the wrong end of two decisions which played a part in their downfall.
After losing Tom Moore to the opening ball of the match, Stony looked well set as Akheam Fox and last week’s centurion Hayden Mullins saw off the threat of another former Northants man, David Wigley.
The pair had taken the score to 55 when Fox (16) was adjudged caught behind after his bat hit his pad but missed the ball from the bowling of White.
Another man in good form Jarrod Pretorius was given out in almost identical fashion later in the afternoon when he was looking to stabilise the Stony innings which was under pressure from White’s leg spin.
Whilst Stony didn’t have any luck with those decisions, that’s not to take anything away from the bowling of White, who’s variations proved to be unfathomable for most of the Stony order. Mullins played him well on his way to 62, but when he skied a top edge of the bowling of Zed Barbar the writing was on the wall.
After a promising start, Stony limped to 117 all out which was never enough to trouble the home side.
Stony needed early wickets and they thought they had one almost immediately when they were convinced White had nicked a Steve Bellew delivery behind to Praveen Chandran second ball.
But it was given not out and after seeing off the early threat of Bellew and Alex Strong,
White began to open his shoulders. Notorious on the county circuit as a big hitter, White showed no mercy here and crashed his way to 47 and with Zak Khawaja solid at the other end, they built the necessary platform to take their side to victory.
One bright spot for Stony was the bowling of Kevin Wijesinghe.
He took three wickets, including that of White (47), Khawaja (26) and the prized scalp of Willey for 7 in a very impressive spell.
But it was too little too late for Stony, as ONs (118-3) cruised in with plenty of overs in hand.
Stony will be looking to bounce back immediately against early season surprise package Horton House at Campbell Park next Saturday.
In Division 2, Stony 2nds settled for a draw in a tight finish at home against St Crispins.
The visitors batted first at Campbell Park and were restricted to 158 for 9 from their 50 overs. Steve Richardson was again in the wickets for Stony with 4-53 and he was well supported by Jilesh Pattni (3-28).
But like their opponents, Stony found runs hard to come by. James Pickles (46) and Nick Allen gave Stony hope, but after they both fell, wickets tumbled and runs dried up as the home side were forced hang on nine wickets down and nine runs short on 147.
Stony 3rds were left little chance against Wicken after they were rushed out for 78 in their Division 5 local derby.
Only Oswin Peter’s 21 gave the Stony scorecard any hint of respectability and with Wicken getting home by four wickets, they will have been left ruing their poor display with the bat.
Steve Ratcliffe’s 36 was enough to take his side to victory, with Stony spinners Jamie Baxter and Ben Arnold both taking two wickets each.