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STONY Stratford Town tasted defeat for the second time this season when they lost at early season league leaders Peterborough Town by 85 runs on Saturday.
After one cancelled game and two wins on the spin, it’s now back-to-back defeats for Stony as they failed to chase down an extremely competitive total set by one of the Premier Division’s big boys, and were ultimately made to pay.
Stony won the toss and decided to bowl first, but the visitors’ attack was taking on a Peterborough side boasting a 100 per cent record to start the season, and opener Alan Burton got them off to a strong start with a knock of 59 before being taken out LBW to Sharn Gomes.
Gomes would go on to secure impressive figures of 5-81, but even he could do little to prevent the flow or runs from Asim Butt (74) and Lewis Bruce (79 not out) as they went on to set a daunting total of 271-7, with Alex Strong and Kevin Wijesinghe claiming the other two Peterborough wickets to fall.
The visitors got off to an encouraging start in reply though as Mihir Choksi hit 43 before falling to Paul McMahon who went on to claim no less than eight Stony wickets for the loss of just 47 runs.
One man he didn’t get the better off was Rob Keogh who held on for an unbeaten 85, including 14 boundary 4s. But the majority of his team-mates failed to replicate his sort of form, with only opener Sharn Gomes (17), Andrew Miller (11) and Jarrod Pretorius (12) reaching double figures as Stony began to fold under McMahon’s pressure.
With Keogh’s partners dropping like flies, Stony were eventually all out for 186, giving Peterborough victory by 85 runs. However, Stony will not face many tougher tests this season and can take some positives from a performance that might have earned them something against most other sides. And they will need to be on their game again this Saturday when they welcome second placed Northampton Saints to Ostlers Lane.
BLETCHLEY Town’s opening home fixture of the campaign ended in disappointment as they were easily brushed aside by Cumnor at the newly refurbished Manor Fields on Saturday.
It was Bletchley’s first loss in eight league matches, but a reminder of how cruel their league can be if you are not at your best.
Bletchley made two enforced changes to last week’s side as U16 Michael Houpe made his first bow of the season along with veteran Mark Grass replacing injured duo Paul Strong and James Ward.
Town won the toss and elected to bat despite the overnight rain. Although scoring was tough early on, Graham Simpson and Matt Shepherd started to build a platform on which to launch the innings. The opening pair put on 67 for the first wicket, before Simpson skied a catch to Lee on the boundary trying to up the tempo for 20.
Raj Lall (17) attacked from the off and looked in pretty good touch before he was outwitted and caught at deep mid-on just as he looked set. Matt Shepherd played watchfully and also looked in good touch as Bletchley had a platform set for an onslaught.
However, what was to follow was an almighty batting collapse that effectively cost Bletchley their opportunity of seizing the initiative.
Town went from 93-1 to 120-4 as James Sprittles carelessly ran himself out for a duck misjudging a single, before Shepherd agonisingly went for a well-made 42, as a direct hit from Lee accounted for another run out.
And worse was to follow for Bletchley as off-spinner Adam Cook turned the screw against some injudicious shot selection by the home side’s middle order as they folded to just 134 all out.
Only captain James Clark (14) offered any resistance as the lower order had no answer to Cook who enjoyed figures of 6-33. As well as Cumnor bowled and fielded, Bletchley were disappointed with their final score which was well below par on a slow track.
Bletchley knew they had to get early wickets to stand any chance of a win, and their cause was boosted by James Sprittles trapping Lee early on LBW for 6.
Although Sprittles was not fully fit, he and Roberts tried to get Town back into it, but came up against some strong batting in the guise of Cook (18) and Ali Mortaza who effectively mixed attack and defence to add 52 for the second wicket.
The introduction of Graham Simpson paid dividends when he bowled Cook for 18, but Sam Jones (25 not out) in partnership with Mortaza eased the game away from Bletchley.
Youngster Houpe was denied his first 1st XI wicket when he could not cling on to a sharp caught and bowled chance, as he impressed on his first outing.
Clark then turned to Roberts to revive Bletchley’s fortunes but this backfired as Mortaza opened his shoulders to bludgeon 20 in one over to effectively seal Town’s fate.
Wasim Fayyaz trapped Mortaza for a fine 69 LBW, but it was too little too late as the visitors romped home with plenty to spare to win by seven wickets.
It was an afternoon to forget for Town who put in a sub-standard performance, but with their next clash being the eagerly anticipated local derby away to Division One new boys Great Brickhill, it gives Bletchley the perfect opportunity to get their first win on the board.
Great Brickhill recorded their first win of the season as they thumped Buckingham Town by seven wickets.
Winning the toss, captain Graeme Carter invited the visitors to bat first as Nick Tweed and Lee Morgan opened the bowling.
First to strike was Morgan, pinning back Buckingham’s opening batsman’s middle stump before the next victim fell to sharp chance at second slip. At the other end Brickhill’s “King of Swing” Nick Tweed continued to frustrate and support.
Morgan, still using the seam of the new ball, got one to nip back with the batsman playing on to his leg stump, leaving the visitors on 18-3.
In the next over Tweed opened his account with an in-swinging delivery to send the bails flying and the away side now reeling on 18-4. Tweed then took the next wicket, finishing with figures of 2-20, and Morgan 3-33.
A partnership then ensued leading to a small recovery from Buckingham, lead by Wayne Platts on 33 not out.
A double bowling change led to some tight overs, culminating in a steady decline to the innings, with Garth Davson claiming his second four-wicket haul of the season as Buckingham finished on 118 all out with Davson returning 4-25 and Carter 1-21.
The Great Brickhill innings got of to an inauspicious start with Davson falling in the very first over. This lead to a partnership by opener Andy Ward and captain Carter, scoring at almost five an over for the first 15 overs.
The Buckingham bowlers were rapid but wayward and tired quickly. That allowed the home batsmen to capitalise on the bowling change and forge a partnership of 74 before Ward was bowled middle stump for 22.
With sneaky singles and booming 6s, Anton DeBeer and Carter edged Brickhill closer to the winning total until DeBeer was caught at mid-on. However, Nick Cadman and Carter then proceeded to see Brickhill home as the latter ended on 59 not out to see his side to a seven wicket victory.
In Division Two, Wolverton Town (90-7) beat Long Marston (87) by three wickets.
four counties league
MK CITY’S excellent start to the summer continued as they beat New City by eight wickets. The hosts were all out for a mere 64, and David Loveland (28 not out) led MK City to a comfortable win on 65-2.
Elsewhere Newport Pagnell (148-8) saw off New Bradwell (107-9) by 41 runs, Milton Keynes (48) lost out to early season leaders Eaton Bray (99) by 51 runs and Olney (99) lost to Elstow (238-9) by 139 runs.