Five wickets and a stunning catch for Crane
PICTURES BY MIKE BAKER
South Northants Cricket League Division 1
Willoughby v Castlethorpe
Willoughby 154 for 9
Castlethorpe 131 all out
Willoughby won by 23 runs
Five wickets and a stunning catch from Nick Crane went some way to a dramatic turnaround at The Green as Willoughby grabbed victory from visitors Castlethorpe.
The visitors looked well set to cruise to victory before Crane’s interventions in the latter stages as the hosts kept in touch with the leading pack.
Earlier Willoughby batted first and after a calamitous start which saw two run outs reduce them to 10 for 2, they recovered to post 154 for 9 off their allotted 40 overs.
Richard Foxon with 38 and Stuart Hall with 28 top scoring in the face of Russell Jones taking 3 for 28.
In reply, the opening bowling attack of Crane and 14 year-old First XI debutant Jake Quinney were unable to find an early breakthrough, both bowling well without reward.
However it did arrive as, with the visitors’ openers set, James Barnwell removed Jones for 42.
That looked to be a minor blip as Nightingale and Naqui looked to be cruising Castlethrpe to a comfortable victory.
That was until the former was removed by John Gregson, who then took a second wicket thanks to a superb low diving catch by Crane close in from a shot which looked destined for the boundary.
With Castlethorpe still looking favourites to win by needing just 35 runs from the last 10 overs for victory with seven wickets in hand, that wicket was the catalyst for a dramatic turnaround in the game.
Crane returned to the attack and took out five of those final seven remaining batsmen as the visitors capitulated for just 8 runs in only 5.1 overs; Crane finishing with 5 for 22.
The win by 23 runs sets Willoughby up for an intriguing meeting with in-form Greens Norton this Saturday.
Helmdon v Willoughby A
Helmdon 154 all out
Willoughby A 48 all out
Helmdon won by 106 runs
No such joy for a desperately depleted Willoughby second string as they suffered a heavy loss away at Helmdon.
The visitors travelled with a very inexperienced side and saw the hosts set them a total of 154.
Tom Hirst’s 46 not out late down the order made a difference after Dan Gabbitas’ 32 had given the hosts early stability.
Vinay Krishna Murthy with 4-19 and Arun Panneerselvam (3-26) proving best with the ball for the visitors.
In reply, only Jack Downie made it into double figures as none of Willoughby’s senior players were up to the task and could offer any resistance with the bat. Geoff Bridger with 4-13 and Hirst with 3 for 9 the chief architects in Willoughby’s miserable 48 all out, which leaves them in some trouble at the bottom of the Division 3 table.
Fixtures – 2pm starts
South Northants Cricket League Division 1: Greens Norton v Willoughby
Division 3: Willoughby A v Gayton
Club Friendly: Bourton & Frankton v Willoughby