Struggling Newport miss their chance

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NORTH Crawley continue to set the pace at the top of the Four Counties League Division One after Newport Pagnell became their latest victims on Saturday.

Sam Howe (32) and Alex Walker (30) led the scoring as Crawley set a modest total of 157 – far short of what they have been used to in a start to the campaign that had seen them go unbeaten in four going into their trip to Willen Road.

Newport would have sense a second win of the season might have been there for the taking, but Richard Bryce (4-17) put an end to their hopes, despite the best efforts of Mick Page who hit 56 for the hosts who were dismissed for 124, giving North Crawley victory by 33 runs.

MK City are the only other team to remain unbeaten in the top tier and are hot on North Crawley’s heels thanks to their 138-run thrashing of struggling Eaton Bray.

City were put in to bat and reached a total of 251-9, with Jason Loveland again top scoring for them with 66, and there was a decent performance from Andrew John (56) as well. But it was Iqbal John who stole the show as he returned 3-18 to help bowl Bray out for a miserly 113 in reply, with support from Mohammed Shahid (3-44).

New Bradwell are third in the table and are just starting to find their best form following a 173-run demolition of poor Milton Keynes who slumped to a fourth defeat in five.

A magnificent 119 from Alan Quelch was the groundwork behind the win as Bradwell set a target of 258. And it was just as well he was in fine form with only Harry Singh (49) showing much in the way of support. It mattered not though as Milton Keynes were soon bowled out for just 85. Six men went for ducks as Bradwell’s Shaz Mohammed returned figures of 6-26 to see his side to a third win in four after an opening day defeat.

Olney Town might have thought that their 224-8 would have been enough to secure a third win of the season, but it wasn’t to be as they lost to Biddenham by six wickets. Olney were led by Stuart Keeping (52) and Andrew Griffin (50) after being put in to bat, but 90 from Adam Perkins saw Biddenham reach 225-4 in reply.

New City (257-9) enjoyed a winning draw in an entertaining game with Old Bradwell (209-8) in Division Two, Asad Mahmood’s 99 for New City being the highlight of the game at Great Linford. Cranfield University (188) were edged out by Aspley Guise (192-8) by eight wickets.

Open University are the team to beat in Division Three and enjoying another impressive win over Eaton Bray 2nds to retain their place at the top of the table.

Batting second seems to be behind OU’s success and they did it again by cruising to victory on 148-3 after Bray had been restricted to just 147-9. Nikhil Taneja (3-12) was the pick of the bowlers for OU before Basil Lall top scored on 70 in their reply.

Their seven-wicket win sees OU just ahead of North Crawley 2nds in the pile after they kept in touch with a winning draw against Wilden. After being put in to bat North Crawley had Marcus Goss to thank as he hit 76 of his side’s 254-7. But Wilden hung on and earned a share of the spoils on 153-9, despite the best efforts of Ian Gillam (3-7).

Willen stay third in the table but had an off day when they took on Thurleigh, sitting fourth. Willen put their hosts in to bat after winning the toss, but a score of 267-5 was an excellent return as Willen’s bowlers faltered. However, the visitors at least took something from the game as they closed on 131-5, with Param Singh the best of the bunch scoring 45.

New Bradwell 2nds (141) went down to Stewkley Vicarage (214-3) by 73 runs while Stoke Hammond (221-7) managed only a winning draw against bottom side Totternhoe (172-8).

In Division Four, Milton Keynes 2nds (176) lost to Harlington (178-1) by nine wickets and Newport Pagnell 2nds (75) were beaten by Printers (76-1) also by nine wickets. Unsurprisingly, both MK and Newport occupy the bottom two places in the fourth tier.

New City 2nds (252-8) lead the way in Division Five and recorded a fourth win in five with victory against Winslow Town (139) by 113 runs. Sharad Dave hit a marvellous 115 for New City who top the table ahead of Stony Stratford.

Stony (143-2) beat rivals Wolverton (142-9) by eight wickets. Darren Gillions top scoring with 33 for Wolves tells its own story as Stony’s Ben Arnold took 3-17. And he then helped his side home with the bat by hitting 55, although Rory Newman top scored on 62.

In Division Six, Bletchley (166-7) beat Thurleigh 2nds (165) by three wickets, while Stoke Hammond 2nds (208) lost to Aspley Guise 2nds (209-7) also by three wickets. Great Brickhill top the table but had the weekend off.