Stony Stratford’s pre-season hopes of challenging towards the top of the Premier Division table took another blow following a comprehensive seven wicket defeat to Horton House on Saturday.
The win took surprise packages Horton to second in the table, while Stony now lie in tenth after a third defeat in four games.
Stony lost the toss but were happy enough to be asked to bat first on another immaculate Campbell Park surface.
Their total of 195 for 9 from 55 overs may have been competitive on some grounds, but it was never going to be enough against a side in such form and on a wicket which was perfect for batting.
The fact that Stony got to 195 was mainly down to another fine innings from Australian Hayden Mullins, who has made a fantastic start to his season in England.
His 65, plus late order cameos from Ed Tate (31) and Graham Simpson (25) gave the Stony card a healthier look after they had been reduced to 63-4 earlier in the day. Charlie McDonnell was particularly impressive for the visitors, claiming 3-32 from 14 overs. Spinner Andrew Neate also claimed three wickets for Horton, who disrupted Stony’s progress with regular breakthroughs and fine fielding throughout.
Stony were in the game early on when Steve Bellew trapped both Jack Johnson (6) and Elliott Ruff (0) lbw with successive balls.
Bellew, playing his last game for the club before retiring due to a long term injury, bowled with good pace and swung the ball back into the right handers to provide some early threat for the home side.
But all the Stony bowlers more than met their matches with arrival of Leo Carter at the crease. The New Zealand under 19 star took his time to get off the mark and then set about constructing a brilliant hundred which quickly took the game away from Stony.
Akash Shah (18) was unlucky to be run out to leave the visitors 50-3, but then Charlie McDonnell joined Carter and the pair put on a quite brilliant match winning 146 for the fourth wicket.
Carter finished on 105 while McDonnell’s excellent all round display was capped off with a fine 60 not out.
Stony played well in patches, but doing it for the full 110 overs has proved elusive so far this season and they will need to quickly turn around this early season form to meet their pre-season expectations.
There was better news for Stony 2nds who won at Wellingborough Town 2nd by three wickets in a tight game. ‘Boro 2’s posted 152-8 from their 50 overs mainly thanks to Daniel Austin’s 54.
Wickets were shared amongst the Stony bowlers with Henry Charter (3-23) and Andrew Ellemore (2-40) the most successful. Stony’s reply got off to a decent start thanks to Sai Ravkumar’s 52 and skipper Chris Swain’s 24, but a middle order wobble put the game in the balance. Tim Coleman’s outstanding spell of 6-24 caused real problems for Stony, but they got over the line in the end thanks to Andrew Ellemore (18) and Roger Rebbets (15) to record their second win of an unbeaten start to the season.
Stony 3rds struggled against a strong St Crispins 2nd XI at Ostlers Lane. The visitors racked up a daunting 251-9 from their 50 overs despite the best efforts of Neil Fewtrell, who was in the wickets again with 4-64.
Stony were well short in reply on 145 but just three overs from a draw when the last wicket fell.
Jamie Walsh (24) and Andy Miller (22) both got good starts but were unable to go on to a big score which may have saved the game for their side.