After a summer filled with disappointing results, Stony Stratford’s latest defeat at the hands of fellow strugglers Wollaston has left them contemplating a three-way relegation battle for the rest of the season.
Bottom club Burton Latimer’s first win of the season against Brixworth means that they reduced the gap between them and Stony to just 38 points, a gap that was more than double that just a few weeks ago.
With six games of the season remaining, Burton are now right back in the survival race, and have dragged Brixworth into the equation as well - the villagers themselves just seven points ahead of Stony now.
Stony’s troubles this season have almost exclusively been down their inability to bat at this level - and even against a fairly ordinary Wollaston attack, they weren’t able to get close to their target of 184 in 55 overs.
Despite again fielding a batting order with plenty of talent and ability, they capitulated to 90 all out, with veteran off spinner Steve Musgrave doing the bulk of the damage for the home side with five cheap wickets.
Fellow spinner and home skipper Chris Perry grabbed 3 of his own as Stony lost wickets at regular intervals, finding themselves all out inside just 25 overs.
Only an obdurate 15 off 47 balls from opener Graham Simpson and 30 from Vicram Sohal saved Stony from more humiliation, the next top score being ten.
Earlier in the day, Stony’s bowlers had done a great job of putting their side into a decent position at the half way stage. A fine opening spell from young left armer Aaron Ashton (3 for 19) left the home side teetering on the ropes and he was well backed up Simpson and Sohal who took two wickets each.
But Wollaston’s tail showed a lot more fight than their Stony counterparts, taking their side from a perilous 93 for 6 to what turned out to be a comfortable 183 -9.
The win sees Wollaston all but guarantee their Premier Division survival but puts Stony back in the mire as Burton look to pull off another miraculous escape as they have done for the last three seasons.
Stony have six games to secure their status and they start with a very tough home fixture to title chasing Rushton this weekend at Campbell Park.
Stony ends kept their promotion dream alive in Division 2 with a four wicket win at mid table Overstone Park. Stony lost the toss and were asked to bowl first by the home side and it was a toss they didn’t mind losing after they bowled Overstone out for just 88.
Star of the show was Andrew Ellemore, who claimed brilliant figures of 6-44 - his best return for the club in some time - as Stony looked to make short work of things. Josh Whitehead continued his excellent season with the new ball, claiming 3- 12.
Stony didn’t have it all their own way in reply, losing six wickets along the way before getting home inside 36 overs. Arvind Ramest, another youngster showing great promise, made 24 and Henry Charter 38 to get their side over the line for a ninth win of the season.
Stony remain in 2nd place but level on points with Kettering in what looks like being a race for promotion that will go to the final game of the season.
Stony 3rds lost ground in their Division 5 promotion battle at Kettering 2nd. Stony struggled to post 136 all out batting first, (Neil Allen 53). Oswin Peter’s 3-23 capped a fine all round day for him, but wasn’t enough to stop Stony from falling to just their 4th defeat of the season by seven wickets.