Stony’s struggles continue

editorial image

With a third of the season now behind them, Stony Stratford still have only one win to show for their efforts so far after another poor batting performance handed Oundle a five wicket win at Campbell Park on Saturday.

With a third of the season now behind them, Stony Stratford still have only one win to show for their efforts so far after another poor batting performance handed Oundle a five wicket win at Campbell Park on Saturday.

This year, the NCL has seen a glut of professional cricketers strengthen clubs from top to bottom and there are not many better than Oundle’s South African Petrus Jefta. A regular in the Lions franchise side in his homeland, Jefta’s extreme pace has undone better sides than Stony over the past couple of seasons and he was at his best here, claiming 5 for 31 from 11 quick overs.

None of the Stony top seven scored double figures and at one stage, at 26-6, Stony were on the brink of their all time lowest NCL score. They were thankful in the end to the efforts of Kevin Wijesinghe (30) and Graham Simpson who stopped the rot for half an hour and scored quickly to take the score towards the hundred mark. However, both were dismissed in quick succession, still on the attack and the rest of Stony’s tail didn’t wag - their 86 all out proving to be a desperate struggle.

Even on a slightly more green and seamer friendly wicket than usual at Campbell Park, that was highly unlikely to be enough and despite a good fight from the Stony attack, Oundle made it home. Russell White’s 3-20 and two early wickets from skipper Alex Strong gave Stony five wickets and that meant five points which kept them above Wollaston in 11th place.

Stony’s young batting order does have some talented individuals in it’s ranks, and the 285 they scored against Burton Latimer earlier in the season shows that it can be done. But inexperience and a lack of confidence after a run of four successive defeats is making runs hard to come by.

They really need to find an answer, some self belief and quickly if they are going to start winning games again at this level.

Whilst the 1sts continue to struggle, the 2nd team are in good form.

A fourth win of the season coming away at Thrapston saw them rise to third in the table.

Their total of 205-8 saw several contributions, mostly notably from captain Chris Swain (50), Mike Avery (31) and Sai Ravikumar (25).

The score proved far too much for the home side to get near to as they struggled against Stony’s young pace attack. Aaron Ashton took four wickets for the second successive week, coming at a cost of just 21 runs and fellow opener Josh Whitehead (2-26) removed both openers to get his side off to a great start.

Andrew Ellemore then took over where the others left off, taking the final four wickets to fall for just 15 runs inside five overs to consign Thrapston to defeat on 86 all out.

Star man of the day for Stony however was 3rd XI all rounder Michael Brown.

He produced career best figures of 8-32, seven of which were bowled as Stony dismissed Rothwell 2nd for 107 at Ostlers Lane in Division 5.

Then, in a nervy chase in which Stony lost seven wickets before getting to their target, Brown came in at number nine to hit the winning runs for his side with a characteristic drive over cover, capping off a great day for the well liked club man. Jamie Walsh (24*) was the mainstay of the Stony innings after they lost four early wickets.