CRICKET SLIDESHOW: Willoughby A batting against Sibford on Saturday

Narrow defeat to early league leaders

PICTURES BY MIKE BAKER

Badj Rahman batting for Willoughby A on Saturday

Badj Rahman batting for Willoughby A on Saturday

South Northants Cricket League

Division 1: Dunchurch & Bilton v Willoughby

Match cancelled

Saturday’s local derby at Dunchurch was one of many games in the SNCL which did not get started, as the ground at Rugby Road was deemed unplayable.

Willoughby A batsman Ian Button against Sibford

Willoughby A batsman Ian Button against Sibford

Division 3

Willoughby A v Sibford

Willoughby A 97 all out, Sibford 99 for 8

Sibford win by 2 wickets

With the 1st XI again out of action, the spotlight fell once more on the club’s seconds and they were on the wrong end of a narrow defeat in a low-scoring game with early leaders Sibford.

With The Green looking in excellent playing condition thanks to the work by groundsman Fergus Deery, the hosts decided to bat first having won the toss and made slow progress early on, recovering from being 20 for 2 to crawl past 50.

However the departure of Keith Gibson for 26 and then Martin Nichols [for 19] saw wickets start to tumble as Willoughby went from 69 for 3 to 97 all out. Alex Beaumont taking 4 for 15 after Brian Morbey initially took 3 for 20 for the visitors.

In reply, Sibford found the going equally as challenging having been reduced to 11 for 1 and 21 for 2. Sean Thornton claimed both wickets and then a third before 14 year old Jake Quinney entered the fray, taking 2 for 17 in five overs to leave Sibford at 58 for 5 and the game in the balance.

The visitors’ opener Luker was still there but his dismissal for a top score of 33 set a few nerves going further as Willoughby sensed an unlikely victory may be in the offering.

However, a sixth partnership of 24 for Sibford may not sound much but it proved effective and although that was broken by Nichols – with Deery and Hassan Nawaz also claiming wickets to add to the tension, the visitors reached their target somewhat nervously to win by 2 wickets.

Fixtures

Saturday – 2pm starts: South Northants Cricket League: Division 1: Willoughby v Croughton. Division 3: Maids Moreton v Willoughby A