Highly competitive start to Four Counties season

Olney and New City do battle in Division One on Saturday.
Olney and New City do battle in Division One on Saturday.

MK City have made a flying start to the new season and top the Division One table after making it two wins out of two.

After an opening day win over Olney Town a week earlier, City were 57-run winners at Newport Pagnell on Saturday, opening up a healthy lead at the top of the pile as the only team with a 100 per cent record from two games in the top tier.

After being put into bat, the visitors made a modest start with Imraz Siddiq leading the scoring on 36. But with seven others hitting double figures, City set a reasonable 159-8 from 36 overs. Alex Fletcher (2-22) was the pick of the Newport bowlers.

But apart from opener Paul Braddy (51) the home side were disappointing with the bat as they were dismissed for just 102 in 28 overs, with Imran Tahir (3-22) and Pete Heady (3-12) doing the most damage.

Reigning champions North Crawley tasted defeat for the first time in 2013 as they went down to Thurleigh by three wickets.

Ross McMullen (4-19) was the main reason for Crawley’s downfall as the visitors were seen off for 166, despite the best efforts of Alex Walker (43) and James Armstrong (41).

The visitors made a game of it with Dean Bryce, Richard Bryce and Colin Bonnett taking seven wickets between them, but that wasn’t enough as Thurleigh got home on 168-7.

New City were also beaten for the first time as they went down by five wickets to Olney Town.

Harsh Desai’s 43 for New City helped them put on a half decent total of 158, with contributions of 27 from both Vishal Naik and Kaival Patel, as Brad Swingler and Cameron Kok both claimed three wickets apiece for the hosts.

And Olney secured victory thanks to a couple of fine knocks from openers Marcus Bates (52) and Paul Gallyot (46). The rest struggled with runs, but they did enough to win on 159-5.

Milton Keynes enjoyed a five-wicket win over Elstow in their opening match of the season.

After winning the toss and deciding to bowl, the home side had Elstow skittled for a mere 66 in 31 overs, with Luke Anamourlis (4-9) the pick of the bowlers, while Daniel Ramsell, Nimesh Chavda and Andy Hyland took two wickets.

Division One new boys Cranfield University are finding life in the top tier tough as they sit bottom of the pile with two straight defeats.

Their latest reverse came at Eaton Bray by five wickets where James Flecknell (5-20) helped see of Cranfield for just 138 before the home team cruised to victory on 139-5, despite the efforts of Niranjan Narayan (3-39).

Division Two

New Bradwell thrashed Old Bradwell by eight wickets when the two sides met for their first games of the season.

Graham Downard hit a fantastic 82 not out as Old Bradwell reached 174. However, he found good partners hard to come by as Ross Poulter (27) was the home side’s next highest scorer.

But Downard’s impressive knock was bettered by New Bradwell batsman Chris Timms whose unbeaten 96 led the visitors to victory on 175-2, with support from Alan Quelch (53).

Stoke Hammond (100) suffered a 27-run defeat to early season pace setters Aspley Guise (127), John Watson (50) leading the scoring for Stoke after Nick Mead took 3-26.

Division Three

North Crawley 2nds made it two wins out of two when they thumped Bromham by seven wickets, thanks largely to an unbeaten knock of 55 from Sam Howe.

Hosts Crawley had Bromham all out for 112 as Rahkesh Mistry recorded figures of 5-22 and there were two wickets apiece for Ian Gillam and Richard Braybrook.

And they eventually made light work of winning the game once Howe had arrived at the crease, with Carl Bryce their next highest scorer on 21.

Open University’s first victory of the season came at the expense of Shenley Church End by five wickets – Alex Gray the difference between the sides with his 90.

Put into bat, Shenley made 193-8 after a couple of decent knocks from Simon Sidwell (69) and Stuart Hardwick (40), as Sardar Ahmad (3-29) was the pick of the bowlers.

But Gray was the man of the moment as the OU won on 194-5, with strong support from Param Gill (41) and Basil Lall (32), despite the efforts of Jay Fletcher (3-33).

Division Four

Printers’ good start to the year continued with a seven-wicket win against Drayton Parslow to make it two out of two.

Hosts Printers restricted Parslow to just 111-9 after 44 overs thanks to some fine spells from Razzan Mohamed (3-6) and Thiyagalingam Piratheepan (2-12). Printers then cruised to victory on 114-3.

Milton Keynes 2nds were 48-run winners over New Bradwell 2nds, with Craig Gentleman the hero after taking 5-31.

MK totalled 208, thanks largely to a fantastic 94 from Ben Warren before eventually falling to Alf Godfrey (4-33).

New Bradwell were looking good in reply until that man Gentleman started to work his magic, after Dave Hand (3-23) also played a significant part in the home side being bowled out for 160.

New City 2nds (225-7) lost to Milton Bryan by two wickets, despite a couple of good innings from Vinod Tailor (68) and Deepak Ratia (60).

New City reached 225-7, but Milton Bryan hit back to win on 226-8 and move top of the table with two wins from their opening two games.

Meanwhile Westcroft (233-2) had a winning draw against Wilden (177-9) as Zaheer Khan fired off a marvellous 121 not out, supported by Subhan Shafiq (79). John Iqbal took 3-23, but Wilden held on to take a share of the spoils.

Division Five

Great Brickhill 3rds sealed a seven-wicket win over Thurleigh 2nds after some strong batting performances at the top of their order.

Put into bat, Thurleigh looked good for victory after reaching 229, with Adam Harwood (4-34) the pick of the Brickhill bowlers.

But the hosts fought back thanks to John Cook (71), Andy Harwood (59) and Matthew Ward (51 not out) who helped them to 233-3.

MK City 2nds (185-6) saw off Newport Pagnell (101) by 84 runs, courtesy of Ish Siddiq (3-12) and Robin Petrie (3-19). Petrie was also the best of the batsmen with 40 not out.

North Crawley 3rds (113) lost to Whitchurch (115-5) by five wickets, despite the efforts of Matt Smart (43), while Olney Town 2nds (107) went down to Wing with Wingrave (192-7) by 85 runs.

Division Six

Old Bradwell 2nds (133) lost by 117 runs to St Andrews (250-5) and Stony Stratford 4ths were awarded a win as Wing with Wingrave 2nds conceded.

Division Seven

Wolverton Town 3rds (69) lost to Aspley Guise 2nds (70-7) by three wickets – Zane Mahmood making 39 for Wolves as everyone else failed to reach double figures.