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GREAT Brickhill enjoyed much the better of a draw in their local derby against Bletchley Town on Saturday.
The result leaves Bletchley stranded at the foot of the table and in deep relegation trouble, facing a tough fight on their hands to preserve their Division One status, while Great Brickhill look good in fourth place in their debut top flight season.
Town won the toss and put Brickhill in to bat – a decision that was to backfire for the home side as Brickhill shot off like a bullet with openers Nick Cadman (13) and Garth Davson hitting 50 in the first seven overs, with Mark Roberts and James Sprittles launched out of the attack.
In the eighth over Bletchley’s leading wicket taker Wasim Fayyaz came on and immediately had Cadman LBW playing a sweep. That brought to the wicket Brickhill captain Graeme Carter who, like Davson, is enjoying fantastic form of late.
Both looked at ease playing some superb shots all around the wicket. Ricardo Brown settled into a good rhythm for Bletchley at the Rugby Ground End, but both batsmen looked untroubled as they passed 50.
Davson was looking imperious and on his way to a deserved century when he was unluckily run out when partner Carter hit a straight drive back to Brown, whose deft flick diverted the ball onto the stumps with Davson short of his ground and out for a sparkling 85.
Bletchley then got themselves right back into it, as Sprittles replaced Fayyaz in the attack and had Anton De Beer caught by Roberts at mid-on for a duck. He then removed Jasper Davies in the same over LBW to leave Brickhill on 138-4.
Carter remained calm and in partnership with Greg McDonald (27) put on 59 for the fifth Brickhill wicket as the visitors regained the upper hand.
Carter, who had survived a couple of chances, was eventually bowled by Brown when he dragged on for a very well-made 71, leaving Brickhill 198-5 with 13 overs to go.
Brown continued to plug away and soon had his reward when Andy Ward and Simon Chapman followed cheaply before some late order hitting from Julian Blackwell (15 not out) and Nick Tweed (14 not out) took the visitors to 250-8 in their allotted 53 overs.
For Bletchley it had been a long day in the field and their performance told. However, Brown emerged with some credit as he took 3-57 in his 19 overs – a superb effort by the talented young off-spinner while Fayyaz and Sprittles picked up two wickets apiece.
Town needed a good start, especially without the talismanic Paul Strong and Graham Simpson in their ranks, but the Brickhill bowlers began well as the hosts began tentatively in reply.
With the score on 21, Raj Lall was caught at cover for 11, and that soon became 33-4 as Matt Shepherd, Kenny Hollis and Mark Grass all followed in quick succession for just 13 runs between them.
Shepherd was tamely caught at gully, before a sharp piece of work by ‘keeper Davies had Hollis stumped and Grass was out LBW for a duck as left-armer Blackwell ripped through the top order on his way to 5-44.
Jude Ramanadanpulle and Sprittles had begun the rebuilding job before the former batsman was brilliantly caught on the deep mid-wicket boundary by Cadman for 15, just as he looked set.
At 60-5 with 22 overs gone, Bletchley’s chances of victory were almost up as the top order had failed and Brickhill were on the charge.
The experience of Sprittles and captain James Clark began to frustrate the visitors as Bletchley tried desperately to get back in the game. In the 32nd over though, Davson took a wicket in his first over of his second spell by bowling Sprittles off a bottom edge for 21 to leave the home side on 93-6.
Clark and Ward then used up valuable time and edged Town past a couple more bonus points before Clark was trapped LBW by Davson for a valuable 28 with five overs to go.
With a draw looking the most likely outcome, Brickhill sensed the chance of an unlikely victory as Ward (20) was dismissed by Blackwell to give him his fifth wicket.
However, Roberts and Brown saw Town to safety as they closed on 149-8. For Brickhill, Blackwell was the pick of the bowlers with his 5-44 coming in 15 overs, and there were two wickets for Davson, with the away side claiming 19 points to Bletchley’s five.
Next up for Town is a must-win fixture away at third from bottom Banbury 2nds, while Great Brickhill host unbeaten league leaders Horspath.
Wolverton Town’s impressive season in the second tier continued as they saw off title challengers Challow and Childrey by three wickets.
The visitors were restricted to 180 from 52 overs as Wolverton’s Zahoor UrRehman (3-39) and Masroor Raja (3-50) did most of the damage to set their side up for victory.
The hosts made slightly hard work of it though, until that man UrRehman worked his magic with the bat, firing off 95 – with good support from Aky Hussain (32) and Asim Hussain (28) – to see Wolves win on 181-7 from just over 40 overs.
The win puts Wolves fourth in the table ahead of a trip to third placed Oxford 2nds this Saturday.
Wolverton Town 2nds and Great Brickhill 2nds continue to battle it out for the league title, with the former maintaining a narrow lead at the top of the table.
Wolves (155-4) beat Didcot 2nds (154) by six wickets and Brickhill (164) thumped local rivals Bletchley Town 2nds (160-9) by 10 wickets, keeping the gap between first and second place at just 10 points.
STONY Stratford Town were left frustrated in their attempt to take maximum points off mid-table rivals Brixworth at Ostlers Lane as the visitors left with a losing draw.
After winning the toss and opting to bat first, Stony got off to a flying start on their way to a daunting total of 280-8, with Ian Sandbrook leading the way on 44.
But the efforts of the Stony middle order were particularly impressive as Mihir Choksi (79) led the scoring, with great support from Nick Allen (40) as the home side looked on course for another excellent win.
However, they found Brixworth openers James Lucas and Fred Newborough in fine form as they gave the visitors a chance of pulling off a surprise by hitting 74 between them.
There were further strong contributions down the order, but Richard Scott started to work his magic in ripping through the middle order in returning figures of 6-44.
But John Walter (33) was the hero for the visitors as he stuck around to give Brixworth a share of the spoils as Stony’s bowlers had a disappointing day at the office.
Stony Stratford 2nds also had to settle for a winning draw from their game against fellow mid-table side Thrapston.
Visitors Stony reached 218-2 after they won the toss and decided to bat, with an exceptional 107 not out from Chris Swain setting them on their way to a strong total.
But Thrapston proved to be stubborn opponents and dug deep to earn a share of the points by closing on 204-6, despite the efforts of Andrew Ellemore (2-27) and Neil Allen (2-52).
Stony Stratford 3rds (121-1) recorded an easy a nine-wicket victory against struggling Earls Barton (119) as Nabeel Ahmad topped the scoring on 52 not out.
four counties league
MILTON Keynes City remain top of the table thanks to a routine seven-wicket thrashing of lowly New Bradwell on Saturday.
Harry Singh can consider himself very unlucky to be on the losing side as his great knock of 81 looked likely to set Bradwell up for a decent total. But it wasn’t to be as only Will Smith (44) also made a telling score in the visitors’ total of 176-8.
City then made run-scoring look easy as openers Jin Lall (48) and Chris Timms (61) laid the foundations for a comfortable win, with the home side making 177-3 in reply.
North Crawley are the only side likely to challenge City for the league title, but their bid suffered a blow when they were held to a winning draw by Newport Pagnell. Visitors Crawley made 171-7 but Newport held on to earn a share of the spoils with 74-8.
Elsewhere Olney Town (187-8) picked up a winning draw against Eaton Bray (174-7) as Richard Beardshaw top scored on 46, while New City (191) beat Elstow (158) by 33 runs, and Milton Keynes (50) thrashed Eggington Foresters (47) by 10 wickets thanks to great bowling by Joe Fairbrother (6-29) and Daniel Ramsell (4-18).
Cranfield University (271-5) had to settle for a winning draw against Aylesbury Town (211-9) despite Aditya Walunjkar blasting a marvellous 106.
Old Bradwell (158) went down to Aspley Guise (178) by 20 runs and Open University (147-9) surprised league leaders Thurleigh (133) by 14 runs – Sardar Ahmad (3-16) the OU hero.
Willen (165) suffered a three-wicket loss to Bromham (167-6) as their title bid seems to be slipping away, while Stoke Hammond (185-6) suffered a losing draw against North Crawley 2nds (194-9).
Elsewhere New Bradwell 2nds (139) lost to Wilden (142-4) by six wickets as Shenley Church End (176-5) saw off lowly Eggington Foresters 2nds (175) by five wickets.
Milton Keynes 2nds were awarded a win as Crawley Green Nomads conceded, while Westcroft (233) had a winning draw against New City 2nds (192-8).
Newport Pagnell 2nds (156) lost out to Drayton Parslow (158) by two runs, despite the efforts of Tom Anderson (67).
Stony Stratford 4ths (114-9) suffered a losing draw to Elstow (229-9) while Great Brickhill 3rds (149-8) saw off Olney Town 2nds (148) by two wickets and Old Bradwell 2nds (204-4) had a winning draw against Wing (173-8).
Bletchley Town 3rds (142-8) beat Stoke Hammond 2nds (93) by 49 runs, Wolverton Town 3rds (193-8) had a losing draw against Winslow Town (199-9) and MK City 2nds (134) lost to Thurleigh (183-8) by 49 runs.
mk midweek league
WOLVERTON Town Hawks have won the Premier Division title, although their latest game against Stony Stratford was called off because of a waterlogged pitch.
Denbigh Hall Sports are champions of Division One, while Wolverton Town Hawks booked their place in the Midweek KO Cup final by beating MK Azad by four wickets.
They will meet MK United in the final at Wolverton Town CC on Wednesday, August 1 at 5.30pm.